Geek Culture

Published on January 23rd, 2015 | by Laura Giunta

10 Notable Children’s Games of 2014: Part II

In case you missed it, this is a continuation of the previous article titled 10 Notable Children’s Games of 2014: Part I.  Here are some more notable family-friendly games that came out in 2014 that can be enjoyed by all ages!



6.) Just Dance 2015

Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U

ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

Publisher: Ubisoft

Genre: Rhythm

Just Dance 2015 Launch Trailer North America

The Just Dance series has been around since 2009, and the games help incorporate and encourage movement and exercise into gaming. Just Dance 2015, released in October 2014, has songs from popular artists like Katy Perry, One Direction, and Rihanna that players can dance to. The game allows for up to four dancers at once (except for the Wii U, which allows a fifth player using the Wii U GamePad as the MC), making it a fun game to use at gaming programs at your library. The Wii U version also includes a karaoke feature as well. While Just Dance 2015 does allow players to use smartphones to dance by downloading the Just Dance 2015 Motion Controller App, libraries will likely need to purchase Kinect for the Xbox One or Playstation Eye and Move remotes for the PS4 if they plan to use the game on those consoles for programs; the Wii U simply requires the use of Wii remotes.  For other games incorporating movement and exercise into gaming, consider 2014’s Wii Sports Club for the Wii U (Rated: Everyone: 10+), which can also be used for programming at the library.



7.) LittleBigPlanet 3

Platforms: PS3, PS4

ESRB Rating: Everyone

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Genre: Puzzle-Platformer

LittleBigPlanet 3 E3 2014 Announcement Trailer

One of the few family-friendly games available exclusively on PlayStation, LittleBigPlanet 3 is a unique puzzle-platformer featuring odd, but charming characters on a creative adventure. While including the traditional platforming tropes and puzzles, it also includes a creation mode, in which players can design their own user-created levels. The series first began in 2008 and has received much critical acclaim since then; while LittleBigPlanet 3 was not praised as highly as its predecessors, it has still been generally well-received. Although it does not have the same name recognition as juggernaut franchises like Pokémon and Skylanders, LittleBigPlanet 3 is still a good choice for children’s librarians looking for something a little bit more offbeat, different, and distinctive to add to their library’s collections.



8.) Mario Kart 8

Platforms: Wii U

ESRB Rating: Everyone

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Racing

Mario Kart 8 Trailer

Mario Kart gets its latest installment in 2014, this time with Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U. Mario Kart 8 is a racing game, in which children can pick their favorite characters from the Mario franchise and race either against the computer, their friends, or online. The online mode allows for up to 12 players at once, whereas offline only allows up to 4 players. The game also supports the use of the Amiibo figures, although they are not necessary to play the game. Because of the multiplayer options, libraries can also consider hosting Mario Kart 8 tournaments and programs for young people.



9.) Fantasy Life

Platforms: 3DS

ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Action RPG

Fantasy Life E3 2014 Announcement Trailer

Fantasy Life, developed by Level-5, is an action RPG featuring life simulation elements in which players are tasked with helping save the fantasy world of Reveria. Players can customize their character and choose between 12 life classes from a magician to a tailor, that each unlock different abilities. The game includes plenty of content and customization, simple game mechanics, a large world to explore, and an engaging, albeit straightforward story. For libraries looking for a game that has a stronger emphasis on the life simulation elements, librarians may also consider Tomodachi Life, also for the 3DS (Rated: Everyone), which, while having minimum content, is a life simulation game that children may enjoy for the quirky, off-the-wall humor.



10.) Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Platforms: 3DS

ESRB Rating: Everyone

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Puzzle-Platformer

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker E3 2014 Announcement Trailer

A spin-off game to 2013’s Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker allows sidekick character Toad to take the lead. Players can navigate Toad through 3-dimensional maze-like levels. Like Super Smash Bros., the game supports Nintendo’s Amiibo figurines, although a figure for Toad has not been created yet. Unlike most platformers, Toad is unable to jump, making for a different style of gameplay, where players have to use more critical thinking to make it through each level.

About the Author

Laura Giunta is a children’s librarian at Garden City Public Library. She is the Chair of the Nassau County Library Association’s Pop Culture Committee, which she helped found in June 2014; the committee is currently helping to organize the first annual Long Island Libraries and Pop Culture Conference, scheduled to be held at St. John’s University in April 2015. An avid fan of gaming, comics, and anime, she organized and moderated the panel “Beyond Harry Potter and Percy Jackson: Great Middle Grade and Tween Fantasy Books” at New York Comic Con 2013 and served as a speaker on the panel “Why Should I Let My Child Read Comics?” at New York Comic Con 2014. She is also the Recording Secretary for the Nassau County Library Association, a member of the New York Library Association’s Pop Culture Round Table, and a book reviewer for School Library Journal. She graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and from St. John’s University with a Master’s Degree in Library Science. She has been working at Garden City Public Library for the last five years.

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