As we rapidly approach the holidays, for many of us, family time will soon be in full swing. However, in a year unlike any other in my lifetime, this is bound to take many different forms and shapes. Have you been with your family inside, for an extended period? Finally, able to see them again? Spending time with them virtually? Need something fun to break the ice after a stressful year and or long absence? Allow me to prescribe a fun solution: Video Games.
As a father and gamer, this subject is more important to me than ever. I’ve always whole heartedly believed in the ability of video games to bring people together. Luckily, thanks to Xbox Game Pass, there is no shortage of games that can be enjoyed by the whole family, right at your fingertips. Some are multiplayer, some are single player, all will have appeal for you and your loved ones. Here are some of my favorites.
Starting off with an Xbox original, Fuzion Frenzy is a party game that is both fun for the whole family and near and dear to me. Rated E for everyone by the ESRB, this game is perfect for family members of all ages who want some head to head competition.
A series of fun and easy to understand mini games and challenges, this game takes its setting of futuristic street sports to create some of the most unique gaming experiences you and your family will ever have. Fuzion Frenzy challenges the players to not only survive but outperform everyone playing. With a variety of mini games, there is plenty to enjoy and keep you and your competitors at the edge of their seat. From bombs falling from the sky in Air Raid, to the balancing act brawl of Centrifugal Farce, you will be sure to find plenty of opportunity to test your skills against the ones you love.
With 4 player local multiplayer, hours can easily slip away as people demand rematches, want to prove they can win or just flat out do not want the fun to stop. Fuzion Frenzy is an original Xbox game that stands the test of time.
Full disclosure: I am a 90s kid.
So imagine my absolute joy when Microsoft released a new entry in one of the most notoriously radical games of my childhood? Rash, Zitz and Pimple are back and hopping into action!
It may be due to my nostalgic bias, but there is something so endearing to me that I will get to play a new version of this game with my children. The flashy and beautiful animation style looks like it is a ready-made Saturday morning cartoon with quality voice acting to match. The gameplay remains that classic “easy to learn, a challenge to master” style of action that lends itself to hours of play time.
You and 3 other members of your family can also enjoy this game how I did: with local couch co-op. It is rated for everyone ages 10+ and up by the ESRB, so if you have family over 10 and three controllers? It is about to get gnarly, dude.
Fun fact from my household: About once a week, my wife will turn to me and ask if I want to play some Rocket League before everyone goes to bed.
This game remains one of the most accessible, flexible, and downright fun options in video games. Essentially rocket car soccer, the immaculate balance of depth and fun from this game cannot be understated. It is easy to watch minutes turn into hours as someone says, “Just one more game”.
It also might very well be one of the most flexible video games on the market. Free to play, rated E for everyone by the ESRB, cross platform play, 4 player local multiplayer as well as online multiplayer? Psyonix deserves immense praise for making it easier than ever for anyone to jump in and start having fun on 4 wheels.
I know, I know. Another 90’s game from my childhood. I am guilty as charged and you can go ahead and throw me to Gruntilda.
One of the most imaginative, colorful, and downright fun 3D platformers of all time is now immortalized and available at the click of a button on Xbox Game Pass. I spent countless afterschool and weekend hours searching for puzzle pieces, uncovering secrets, and meeting those charming Jinjos. The original game is a single player adventure, (however, later entry, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolt does offer multiplayer!) but watching my daughter experience something I did as a child is priceless to me.
There are currently 3 installments of the franchise available and waiting for you on Xbox Game Pass. With all of them rated E for everyone by the ESRB, this is perfect for parents with younger children wanting to give them a memorable adventure.
My real-life cooking skills leave something to be desired. Fortunately for me, you do not have to be a world class chef to appreciate the frantic fun that is the Overcooked! series of games.
Up to four players, either locally or online, can journey to the Onion Kingdom and begin the frantic, fast paced and always fun chaos that this game brings, The premise remains refreshingly simple; complete a variety of kitchen tasks with other players. However, new maps and areas reveal unforeseen challenges and obstacles that will require teamwork, communication, and hustle to overcome before the time runs out.
Some of the most fun I have ever had gaming has been with some of my loved ones playing this game, equal parts yelling and laughing as we desperately tried to complete our cooking duties. With the ESRB rating it E for everyone, this one is a fast-paced recipe for fun, for the whole family.
These are only some of the amazing family friendly games on Xbox Game Pass that can help enhance your holiday time with a little added fun. In a year filled with challenges and change, sometimes getting together, and having some fun with people you care about can truly brighten your day, week, or holiday.
Whether its family, loved ones, or friends that have become family, these games are great way to connect with who you care about, near and far, this holiday season.