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Family-friendly video game gift guide 2016

If you're looking for a family-friendly video game to gift this holiday season, there are a lot of great picks.
If you're looking for a family-friendly video game to gift this holiday season, there are a lot of great picks. Brian McKechnie, Global News

Video games have come a long way in the last 30 years and more families are now gaming together as their main form of home entertainment. But not all games can be enjoyed in a group setting and it’s sometimes hard finding games kids and parents will both enjoy.

If you’re looking for family-friendly video games this holiday season, here are some great tried and tested picks.

Roblox (multiple platforms)

Along with Minecraft and Terraria, Roblox is the third retro-style game my kids can’t get enough of. The blocky world is a giant playground where you can roam around doing whatever you like or join online worlds created by other users and complete missions. It’s a very addictive experience.

Because the game is available for almost every platform, including the PS4 and XBOX One, you can have someone playing on a PC, someone on an iPad and someone on a console all playing together. While the game is free to download and play, if you want to make it more fun you can buy Robux to open up special abilities and features.

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Skylanders Imaginators (WiiU, PS4, XBOX One)

It seems that a new Skylanders game comes out right before the holidays every year. And with each new version, the games get better and more fun to play. Skylanders Imaginators is no exception. It is by far the biggest and most exciting addition to the series so far and the one my family has played the most together.

READ MORE: Ultimate ‘smart’ home holiday gift guide 2016

If you have bought any of the previous games you know Skylanders is not a cheap road to venture down. Besides the initial starter pack required for your preferred system, which sells for about $89.99, the additional figures and pieces needed to unlock missions and levels range from $13.99 to $39.99 (they do make great stocking stuffers though). The good news is that figures from previous games in the series will work with Skylanders Imaginators, including Skylanders Superchargers characters. Unlike other Skylanders games, you can also design your own characters to play with.

Along the same lines, LEGO Dimensions is another highly recommended toy-to-screen game that takes the fun up a notch by letting you first build the characters and items for the game out of LEGO first. It too runs for around $89.99 for the starter kit and is available for the WiiU, PS4 and XBOX One.

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NHL 17 (PS4, XBOX One)

When it comes to playing and watching sports, we’re more of a baseball family in my house. But when it comes to video games, hockey is where it’s at and there is no hockey game greater than NHL 17.

From the realistic graphics that make you feel like you’re actually inside Toronto’s Air Canada Centre or Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, to the ability to build your own dream team, NHL 17 is a fast and entertaining game that delivers hours of fun competition (my kids seem to win every time). It’s also a good game at teaching sportsmanship and getting kids interested in playing real hockey.

NHL 17 is available for the PS4 and XBOX One. It retails for around $79.99.

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Paper Mario: Color Splash (WiiU)

If you’re a Mario fan (and who isn’t), Paper Mario: Color Splash will remind you why you bought (and kept) the Nintendo WiiU.

With beautiful graphics, a humorous storyline and endless gameplay, Paper Mario: Color Splash is a highly addictive action-adventure game that new and old gamers will equally enjoy. The only downside is that it’s a single player game, but it is still fun to watch as others take turns.

If you need more WiiU ideas, Splatoon, Super Mario Maker, Yoshi’s Woolly World and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker are all worthwhile additions..

Paper Mario: Color Splash is available for the Nintendo WiiU. It retails for about $74.99.

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Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 (PS4, XBOX One)

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 is a third-person shooter that builds upon its predecessor with better graphics, more action and a few new characters and features.

The point of the game is to protect your garden by pitting you, the plants, against hordes of zombies. It’s an exciting, fast-paced title that when played in a multiplayer setting can be used as a good team-building experience.

While the game is rated E for everyone, the sound of the zombies and some of the action can be a bit scary for younger players and I recommend keeping the volume lower for them (kids over the age of seven will be fine with it).

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Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 is available for the PS4 and XBOX One. It retails for around $39.99.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (multiple platforms)

LEGO-based video games are extremely popular among kids and casual gamers as they are more puzzle-centric than action heavy and usually have a few laughs.

READ MORE: The ultimate holiday list for the nerd in your life

Besides having better gameplay than previous LEGO games, LEGO Stars Wars: The Force Awakens is an immersive adventure along the lines of the film that is just the right mix of fun and challenge. It also works very well inside the Star Wars universe with many neat Easter Eggs to uncover.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is available for the PS3, PS4, WiiU, XBOX 360 and XBOX One. It retails between $59.99 and $69.99 depending on your system.

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SOUND OFF: What games do you and your family enjoy playing together? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.