Some of the most enlightening conversations I have about technology are with the families I visit for Family Gamer TV. Because they haven’t usually tried the tech or games previously, they ask some excellent questions.
I’ve recently introduced Wonderbook: Book of Spells to one of these families and was interested to hear their queries about what else the PlayStation 3 could do. Since we’d last spoke they had worked their way through the majority of the chapters in the Book of Spells and had given Little Big Planet Karting a go.
Seeing their initial enthusiasm translate into more long term enjoyment with Wonderbook was good to see. I think it does mean that Sony needs to be quick off the mark in getting more titles into stores for Wonderbook. I’m really looking forward to the Diggs Nightcrawlers detective story and my daughter is a bit of a Disney nut so she is looking forward to seeing what they do with it.
With the advent of Wonderbook and titles like Medieval Moves, Sports Champions 2 and Sorcery, the PlayStation is being taken more seriously as a family games console. However there have been quite a few games on it that I’ve played for some years with my kids — and we still go back to them today.
I’ve mentioned before how good we’ve found Wipeout HD as an ideal racing game for very young players — the auto steer and tilt controls really are a perfect fit. Recently we’ve been using the Cross Play feature of the Vita to refresh the experience. In many ways it’s like using the Wii U Game-pad with the Vita’s screen acting as a display for the second player.
There are lots more opportunities for this Cross Play, Cross Controller (where you use the Vita as a replacement Sixaxis) and Cross Purchase (like on All-Stars Battle Royale where you get both PS3 and Vita versions together) features on the PS3. I’m hoping that more games support these going forward. Then of course there is the Remote Play option that, again, is similar to the Wii U’s Game-pad play option where you can play a console game without needing the TV, in this case using the Vita screen.
Beyond this technical inventiveness there are some other launch Move games we still play. Tumble is a great example. It’s a download game on PSN and a little like Boom Blox. However, because the Move controller has a depth perception, as well as orientation and motion, it’s much more accurate. The two player mode sees each person adding blocks to the tower trying not to knock it over and lose too many points.
It’s an incredibly simple, but hugely addictive game. There have been lots of wet winter Saturdays we’ve spent challenging each other to games of Tumble. Something about the accuracy of the controls and the implementation of different materials and shapes for the blocks keeps us coming back for more.
Then more recently we’ve enjoyed LittleBigPlanet Karting that offers some more novel uses for the Move controller. Firstly you can use it held sideways to steer (something that has my kids in hysterics as they use the Move’s light up end as a “honker” or horn). then in the track making mode the Move gestures and pointing also make for much easier design creation — much the same as the Move enabled version of the main LittleBigPlanet games.
It will be interesting to see how the PlayStation’s family gaming develops during 2013. With more titles for Wonderbook and some intriguing new Move games like Puppeteer things look pretty promising.