June is the month of youth and remembering the impact young people can make. Spending quality time with your kids and investing in their interests means you have an opportunity to be involved in the ever-changing digital world that young people inhabit. One of these changes is the growth and development of Esports. 2020 was a major year for the Esports with the number of South African players and teams growing more than ever. Schools are beginning to recognise gaming as an official sport, creating their own teams and players are starting their professional careers from a younger age. Globally, Esports took centre stage in traditional sports such as Formula One, Dakar Rally and as always, Soccer as professional sportsman used the virtual world to maintain their skills while under lockdown.
What better way to have a bit of fun as a family than with some winter-friendly online gaming? Here are some of our favorites to try as well as upcoming releases to look out for.
Genre: Cooperative Simulation
Number of Players: 2 – 4
Overcooked! Is all about working together as a team. Each player is a chef with a specific job to do. Together you need to prepare, cook and serve a number of food orders before time runs out and your customers walk out.
Risk (Board Game)
Number of Players: 2 – 6
Risk is a fun strategic board game of diplomacy, conflict and conquest with the end goal of completing a mission or conquering the world through a bit of complicated dice play. You need a few hours to complete this game and can even turn out to be several days especially if you have more than one strategic player around the table.
The simple rules but complex interactions make it appealing to adults as well as children and families.
Risk was invented in 1957 by Albert Lamorisse, a French filmmaker, and it became one of the most popular board games in history, inspiring other popular games such as Axis & Allies and Settlers of Catan.
Risk also comes in a range of different versions that combine the boardgame with online gaming and TV Franchises such as Lord of The Rings, Call of Duty, Star Wars, Mass Effect, Game of Thrones and Doctor Who.
Carcassonne (Board Game, Mobile and Console)
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy, Tile-Based
Number of Players: 2 – 5
Building medieval fortress cities and developing landscapes, farms, roads, rivers and even monasteries have never been so much fun!
The Spiel des Jahres game, Carcassonne, started out as a winning board game and is now available in 3D on Android, PC Steam and Nintendo Switch.
This is a tactical game and is not only fun for adults but a great way to develop your child’s strategic thinking skills from as young as 6 years old.
When playing the online version, you can play with a pal in another country or on the same device with someone sitting next to you or even “against the computer” offline.
Photo screenshots from the real game online
Minecraft (Console and Online)
Genre: Sandbox, Survival
Number of Players: 2+
If you have a child around the age of 6 and up, you might have heard of Minecraft already!
Kids enjoy this game as they can create their own infinite worlds from scratch. There are very few rules and it gives them a sense of freedom, roaming around a world with trees and buildings that they created.
There are fun concepts to learn through play. Learning about the different kinds of blocks such as dirt, gravel, sandstone, granite, bricks, water, lava, wood and even honeycomb.
The Minecraft humans love eating honey. These guys also get hungry from time to time and apparently also need sleep! The honey can cure poison and can also be used to craft sugar and honey blocks.
Play in creative mode with unlimited resources or mine deep into the world in survival mode, crafting weapons and armor to fend off dangerous mobs.
Play and survive alone or with siblings and friends. It creates endless hours of creating, fun and seeing your friends in a virtual world!
This game also offers regular cool updates, that will get the kids crafting blocks all over again!
Upcoming Console and PC Game Releases
The first half of the year saw some much anticipated games being released after months of delay. Resident Evil Village (PG18), Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (PG18) and Mass Effect Legendary Edition (PG13) were among the list of games that many stayed up for to play pre-release demos and limited releases before getting their hands on the full game. There are still a few games set to be released in the second half of the year:
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Genre: Third-person Shooter
Release Date: 11 June
This is the sixteenth installment of the Ratchet & Clank Series. The game follows titular characters, Ratchet and Clank as they travel across different worlds to stop their arch nemesis, Doctor Nefarious from destroying the universe. The new game will also feature a new female character, Rivet who joins the team on their missions.
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
Release Date: 16 July
Reviving the 2011 game of the same name while The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is being developed, this HD remaster of the game takes you back into the earliest quest of the game – Helping Link find his friend Zelda while solving puzzles, soaring through the skies and fighting off enemies.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Release Date: TBC
Set to cover all nine Star Wars films in Lego style, this action-adventure game is perfect for parents who want to share the Star Wars franchise with their kids. It’s all about exploring the vast Star Wars universe, going on adventures and enjoying the unique humor Lego brings to the series.