As some of you may know, I’ve spent the last glorious 12 months as a Nintendo Brand Ambassador. They couldn’t have found a better person because I’m a long-time Nintendo fan and I tend to gush about them anyway.
I will say that they have sent me plenty of cool games and systems over the past year and asked for nothing in return. But as with any company that I truly love, I’ll be more than happy to share my thoughts and opinions on what they have to offer.
With the holiday shopping season underway, I thought I’d share with you some of the awesome games I’ve had the chance to try this year and my honest opinion about them. And then you can go ahead and make your wishlist because I can guarantee there is something on here you will like.
I have a Nintendo Wii that I absolutely love. It’s my favorite gaming system (and yes, I’ve tried others). I will also say that a lot of my favorite games are made by Nintendo, although I’ve played other brands as well.
I have five controllers including the nunchuks. Four of them are old school with the Wii MotionPlus accessory and one is the newer Wii Remote Plus (that has the MotionPlus built it). If you don’t have any of the MotionPlus controllers, I highly recommend new controllers or the accessories to up your gaming experience.
I also have the Wii Balance Board to be used with Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus.
I have a Nintendo DS and a Nintendo 3DS (which I use almost exclusively now).
Me: I’m a gamer. Not a diehard gamer and not a hide-in-my-mother’s-basement-and-play-games-all-day kind of gamer. But I have been playing video games since the original Pong. We then moved on to the Atari 2600 and original Nintendo NES. I used to have a Sega Genesis and then a few years ago I bought the Nintendo Wii “for my husband.”
My gaming style is low key. I like to have fun, not get stressed out. I like puzzle challenges and more importantly, I love the physical games on the Wii.
Evan: My son is 4 years old and whether or not I want him to play my video games, he is always at least an observer. I admittedly have a hard time observing the age restrictions on the games (I know, I know). He is just as excited as I am when I get a new game and always has to try it. I hate having to share my games but even worse is when he is better at them that I am.
Here’s what we think about games you might want to buy for the holiday season. Some are new and some are oldies but goodies. I thought I would include them in case you’re new to Nintendo and need some recommendations.
Nintendo Wii Games
Mario Kart Wii: Rated E for Everyone
I think this was one of the first games we got for our Wii. It came out in 2008 and I still love playing it. I’ve always been a fan of racing games and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s fun and challenging for the whole family with not a single objectionable thing.
We still haven’t unlocked everything on this game (new characters and vehicles to explore) but I’d have to say I’m pretty darn good at this. I also recommend getting the steering wheel adapters. They’re pretty cheap and your controllers snap into the wheel making the game more fun.
Evan loves to play this in Battle mode with dad and in Verses mode with mom. It’s a fun, family-friendly game and if you play on teams, you can still be competitive and not feel bad if you beat your kid.
*Super Mario All Stars: Rated E for Everyone
Want to look all cool and video game pro in front of your kids? Get Super Mario All Stars and relive the glory days of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3 and more. Even if it’s been a decade or two, you’ll remember where all the secret coins and fireball flowers are hiding and your kids will be amazed. It’s nice to play old school once in a while.
Evan was shocked I knew how to play but picked it up pretty easily. Too bad he lost the disc somewhere in our house (how does that happen?)
*Mario Sports Mix: Rated E for Everyone
I was initially uninterested in this game and it showed when I played virtually against @BackpackingDad and shamefully lost at every sport (he didn’t play fair though). I think I anticipated it being an active game. Not a controller controlled game. Now that my son has become obsessed with Dodgeball, we play together often and I rock. In fact, I’d gladly challenge someone to a game of this now that I’m a pro.
Evan loves this game for some reason. His favorites are definitely volleyball and dodgeball.
**Just Dance 2: Rated E 10+ for Everyone 10+
I know I’m late in talking about this game because Just Dance 3 is available now (stay tuned for a review on that soon). I had that chance to try Just Dance 2 in late Spring. I tried it a few times and it was fun. But later in the summer, I decided to really bust a move. I play it often in the Just Sweat mode where I have to earn enough “sweat points” for the day. I still suck at dancing but I have so much fun burning calories.
Evan will usually dance along with me (without a controller) and I’m glad to get him more engaged in active play. We usually take turns picking the songs. Unfortunately, his favorite is always “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha. (yeah, totally age appropriate)
Epic Mickey: Rated E for Everyone
Whoa. I was surprised to see this was rated E. This is an absolutely unbelievable game and completely unexpected from the minds of Disney. I overheard a fellow ambassador talking about what an amazing game this was so I bought it for me. As usual, Evan has taken the lead with this game.
There’s a complex storyline behind the game that keeps it interesting and thought provoking. It’s dark and challenging and actually incorporates a lot of Disney cartoon history. A great adventure game for young and old.
*Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident: Rated E for Everyone
If I had to pick my very favorite game from this year, it would be this one. This was my stress reliever because there was no winning or losing. It was all about problem solving. You had to find objects and advance to other parts of the game. You had to piece together all of the puzzles to solve the mystery.
I was addicted to this game and lost sleep several nights because of it. It was so enjoyable and we often sat together as a family to figure it out.
*Wii Sports Resort: Rated E for Everyone
Want a good workout? Swordplay burns a ridiculous amount of calories (and works out your aggression).
Want relaxing fun? Bowling or archery.
Want to feel really competent at something that you suck at in real life? Try table tennis. It’s all fun.
*Kirby’s Return to Dreamland: Rated E for Everyone
Once again, a really awesome game that I wanted to try quickly gets overtaken by my 4 year old who goes on to master the game and I’m left in the background. He L-O-V-E-S this game and I have to admit, I love it too. I had no clue about the Kirby series but this is a Mario Bros.-adventure-type game. Except Kirby is cute and swallows people and take their powers. It’s a great group game because anyone can join in as a “helper” at any time.
Nintendo 3DS Games
Steel Diver: Rated E10+ for Everyone 10+
I bought this game when I had to good fortune to visit Nintendo’s North American headquarters earlier this year. I tried it and I had to have it. It’s a sub game that has you looking through the periscope to shoot the other ships in the water. The 3D and 360 degree action make it a lot of fun but you need room to play. I wasn’t the only one who bought it on this trip to HQ!
*Pilotwings Resort: Rated E for Everyone
I have to put it out there. I don’t really care for this game. I’m not a fan of flying games. I just don’t think I’m coordinated enough for them. My husband and my son, however, love this game. If you are a fan of the Air Sports on the Sports Resort game for the Wii, you’ll like this. And the 3D aspect makes it a lot more interesting (and challenging), if you ask me.
*Street Fighter IV: Rated T for Teen
Remember Street Fighter? Try it in 3D and then try it against your friends that have a Nintendo 3DS. You can virtually beat the pants off of your friends and family. It’s a feel good game if you know the kind of feel good I’m talking about. The only problem is that it looks really, really cool to a 4 year old. I don’t play the game if Evan is around which means I usually don’t get a chance to play.
*Asphalt 3D: Rated E10+ for Everyone 10+
It’s another racing game. I love racing games and this one does not disappoint. My only complaint is that I’m so used to playing motion sensitive driving games that I found myself moving the Nintendo 3DS around to drive the car when I needed to focus on the controls. Once you master that, the game is fun. If you don’t master that, your eyes will go a little bonkers as moving the Nintendo 3DS around makes the 3D effect go out of focus.
*Super Mario 3D Land: Rated E for Everyone
My latest acquisition is what is sure to be a hot item for Christmas. It’s reminiscent of the old school Mario Bros. with updated graphics. It’s definitely a game where the 3D effects come in handy. I loved this game from the start but got worn down by Evan’s request to please, please, please play. Since he is only 4, I turn off the 3D effects and it doesn’t affect his playing at all. In fact, I keep having to take the Nintendo 3DS away from him because he can’t stop playing it!
So what all of that on my list of what to buy (or maybe what not to buy), you might be wondering what’s on my wishlist?
Mario Kart 7 for the Nintendo 3DS – I’m not sure how I would like a driving game on my Nintendo 3DS but since I love it on the Wii, I’d certainly give it a shot.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Nintendo Wii – Zelda was honestly more of my mom’s game than mine but without knowing anything about it, I think I’d pick up on the adventure series right where it left off.
Kid Icarus: Uprising for the Nintendo 3DS – I got to try a bit of this game out when I visited Nintendo’s HQ and expected it to be released this year. Turns out they are looking for a release next year but I’m still holding out hoping that Santa might bring it.
Just Dance 3 for the Nintendo Wii – As I mentioned, I’m a dancing fool when it comes to privacy of my own home. I can’t wait to try Just Dance 3 (hopefully soon with a review to follow!)
And finally… what I really want is some time to play all by myself on my own gaming systems. Maybe some long weekend, I can hide in my mom’s basement and play video games the whole time.
Disclosure: All games marked with a (*) were provided to me by Nintendo. All games marked with a (**) were provided to me by Ubisoft. No reviews were required of me and all opinions expressed are my own. Affiliate links are included in this post.