The racing game Blur on the 360 was a game my family loved, so I was disappointed to see it struggle at retail. Not only was it an unusual combination of kart racing and real cars, but it had the sort of depth and development usually reserved for games like Call of Duty.
It wasn’t until I played Need for Speed Hot Pursuit with my kids on the Wii that I realized I am part of this problem. In our family, as I imagine may be true in yours, the younger members gravitate towards the Wii and the DS while the more experienced gamers prefer the 360 and PlayStation 3.
This means that many games my kids would love on the 360 they simply don’t get round to playing. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit underlined this for me because my two young boys played it to death over Christmas. When I asked them what it was they enjoyed about it, they were very clear. It was the real cars and big crashes combines with the way they could play it together. These are things that Blur was doing almost a year ago.
To recap, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit on the Wii is a very different animal to Criterion’s much touted re-launch on 360 and PlayStation 3. It is its own game on the Wii, with only the cops and robbers motif perpetuating. Visuals, gameplay and progression are all different to the big console version of the game.
But this is no bad thing as the Wii game rightly sets its sights on a very different type of gamer. While the Criterion game innovates with a new Autolog online mode that enables you to compete with friends performance – a bit like a turbo-charged high score table – the Wii game is all about local multiplayer.
In fact Need for Speed on the Wii is much less like Burnout and much more like Blur. The combination of real cars and local split-screen play with special attacks and slightly floaty steering doesn’t quite match Bizarre Creations’ game in terms of finesse or depth, but on the Wii it makes much more sense and is more likely to find an audience.
I had shown the boys Blur when it was first out, but because I was using the 360 to play something else at the time I don’t think they had the time to really get to grips with it. Seeing them play Hot Pursuit on the Wii I realize this is a real missed opportunity.
This got me thinking about other 360 and PS3 games that, although not explicitly designed for younger players, might be good for them to play. My list now includes Blur (for the reasons stated here), Wipeout HD because of its steer assisted driving and Motorstorm for its route finding gameplay. These are all driving games but I’m sure there are other genres you could suggest as well.
With the Nintendo 3DS bringing hardcore games like Resident Evil Revelations alongside classic casual titles like Pilotwings Resort at launch, this sort of crossover is likely to happen more and more. The great thing about the GeekDad community is that we can help each other find the games that are best for our kids.