Video games are better when they are played together. I don’t mean playing games across a network with people from all over the world. While that certainly does have its place, that is not what I am talking about. I mean that playing video games is better when you have the people that you are playing with right there in the room.

The very first video game, Pong, was designed for two players sitting right next to each other. That way you can see your opponent and interact with them, bond, and have fun.

We still want that experience of playing together with other people and being involved with people when we play video games. Is it any wonder why gameplay videos on Twitch and YouTube are so popular? There is a community aspect to playing video games. In arcades in the ’80s, people would line up their quarters to play next and try to beat the current champ.

In my own home, when I got the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1984, the whole family wanted to try their hand at Duck Hunt. It was something interesting and new. When the Wii came out we were bowling all the time with silly Mii characters that we would create of each other. Years later, my kids are beating me like crazy playing Splatoon on the WiiU.



Nintendo

Now we all play as a family with several games on the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS. For long car rides, the Nintendo 3DS is great because each of our kids can have their own unit.

I received a couple of copies of Mario Sports Superstars to review. The nice thing about this game is that there are several sports to play, including Horse Racing, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball and Golf. The graphics are funny and the kids know the characters from other Nintendo Games. The games are easy enough for a 5-year-old to pick up, but challenging enough for adults.

There are many family games for the Nintendo Switch—so many more than I will touch upon. However, I wanted to mention a few that we have been playing recently. Each game was provided to me to review. The first is Go Vacation. In this game you and your family are able to explore four different resorts, each with many activities. Each activity is a little mini-game in and of itself. Some are competitive, some are cooperative and each is fun. From skydiving to downhill skiing, there are so many activities to try. The game also allows you to customize your character to your liking. The more games you play the more outfit options you unlock.

Running all over several resorts is a fun time, but what about wild and wacky mini-games such as trying to ride a tiny tricycle as Donkey Kong? That is what you’ll see when you play Super Mario Party with your family. What is even funnier than watching the action on the screen is watching your friends and family try moving their Joy-Cons around in silly ways. In this game you can play a bunch of quick mini-games at random, or you can play as an organized “board” game fashion where each player takes a turn and then you compete in the mini-games. However, there are several ways in which players can gain points. So, even if you aren’t great at the mini-games, you still have chances to win overall.

For the action adventure family you can try out Starlink: Battle for Atlas. This game is cross-platform, but the Nintendo Switch has a special character—Fox McCLoud and his team StarFox—that you can play. There is even an extra storyline in the Nintendo Switch version. What is nice about this game as a family one is that you an play together as separate spaceships and pilots to help in exploration and battle. This game is also a Toys to Life game and younger players will really like helping select the physical ships and switching out their wings and weapons.

For the inventors in your family you can’t go wrong with Nintendo Labo. With Nintendo Labo, you build your own toys to use with different video games. My favorite kit is the Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit because you can build a real working steering wheel and gas pedal, then drive around several land based vehicles. You can also build a flight stick and submarine controls for air and sea vehicles. The game is not limited to just the pre-cut cardboard items that you build. With Nintendo Labo, you can use the coding language to build your own Joy-Cons.

Arcade Games

If you want to go really old school and pretend you are back in the times of stand-up arcade cabinets, take a look at the Arcade 1UP mini game cabinets that have three or four classic arcade games in one. They may be a bit pricey at near $300, but they are great for the whole family.

Something on the more affordable side with a full nostalgic feel is the World’s Smallest Video Game line, from Super Impulse. They just sent me Galaxian, Frogger, and Dig Dug—some of my first go-to games to play in the arcade. There was a Dig Dug game right down the street at a restaurant that I would go to weekly. I spent many a quarter on that game. I’ve shared these with my kids, and they are fascinated at the simplicity and fun. Isn’t that what it is all about—the fun?