Video game releases to watch for Holiday 2017

With a huge array of new releases for the holiday season, all competing for limited program and materials budgets, here are a few highlights for the next few months in the world of video gaming that would serve well in a library environment, whether for programs, in-library gaming stations or checkout.

Games for multiple systems:

Jackbox Party Pack 4 (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, MSRP unknown) – The Jackbox games are a continuation of the popular “You Don’t Know Jack” series, and are well-regarded multiplayer games that promote a great social experience.  Each party pack contains a set of games based on things like drawing and fill-in-the-blank word games, and this set contains “Fibbage 3,” “Survive the Internet,” “Monster Seeking Monster,” “Bracketeering,” and “Civic Doodle.”

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, MSRP $59.99) – Part of the long-running Lego series of games, this promises a free-roaming world in which players can work together as one of the hundreds of Marvel characters (with some notable exceptions, due to licensing issues).  A very popular series for all ages, and likely to be a good choice for free play gaming sessions.

Just Dance 2018 (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, MSRP $59.99) – Another game that is well-suited to all ages, this latest entry in the Just Dance series encourages players to dance to tunes by Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, Bruno Mars and much more.  Make sure your community room is well insulated for noise, however…

Rocket League (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, MSRP $59.99) – Using customizable cars, players form teams and play soccer with an oversized ball.  While this game has been out for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for a little while now, the Switch will be getting a version this holiday season, and a tournament could potentially be set up based on this title.

FIFA 18 (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, MSRP $59.99) – Like the Madden series of football games, FIFA gets an annual release, with a Switch version this year as well (that has not been as well-received as the others, so caveat emptor).  If your community has a large contingent of soccer fans (and many do), this is a good choice.

Nintendo Switch-exclusive games

Super Mario Odyssey (MSRP $59.99) – While this game is positioned as more of a single-player experience, it has been confirmed that a second player can join in.  Those libraries with Switch systems will almost certainly want to get this one for free-play experiences, being the latest entry in Nintendo’s flagship brand.

Fire Emblem Warriors (MSRP $59.99) – The Fire Emblem series of tactical games has been around for a very long time, but this newest incarnation incorporates fast-paced battlefield action as well and has a cooperative multiplayer element.  Well-suited for teen audiences.

Xbox One-exclusive games

Forza Motorsport 7 (MSRP $59.99) – The Forza series is a popular driving simulation game, where cars can be tweaked and upgraded in a wide variety of ways, from livery to gear ratios.  With 32 tracks and over 700 available cars, there is plenty available to keep gearheads busy.

PlayStation4-exclusive games

Gran Turismo Sport (MSRP $59.99) – The Coke to Forza’s Pepsi, Sony’s racing game emphasizes “FIA-certified” online competitions this year, in an attempt to capture some of the increasingly lucrative e-sports audience.  The Gran Turismo series has always prided itself on the veracity of its driving experiences and cars, and while it offers fewer selections than Forza (around 150 cars and 17 tracks to start with), it is a good choice for PlayStation-oriented libraries.

Honorable Mention

Super NES Classic Edition – Recently released by Nintendo, this retro system contains 21 Super Nintendo games from the 1990s preloaded on it.  While extremely hard to find, a library with this system could create several interesting programs based around retro gaming.  For more information on retro gaming, stay tuned…

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