Video game time can also be family time

Gaming doesn't have to mean guns, explosions and violence.

As it turns out, there are plenty of family-friendly titles that are released month after month. According to the Electronic Software Ratings Board (ESRB), the mass majority -- 88 percent -- of video game releases in 2013 were rated suitable for teenagers and younger.

With statistics like that, it's no wonder that video games can be part of family time.

A prime example of this is Activision's Skylanders series and its upcoming Skylanders: Trap Team game. It involves toys that come to life within the video games, allowing for family-friendly playtime both with and without the console.

"One of my favorite experiences with interacting with a Skylanders fan was at a restaurant," said Paul Yan, Animations Director with Skylanders developer Toys for Bob. "I was talking to this little girl who had her little Skylanders on the table and I was asking her, 'how far are you in the game - what level are you at?' And she said, 'I don't actually play the game. I just play with the toys.'"

Even the game development is a family activity. Indie game developer Andrew Dalton, co-founder of Steel Wool Games, said he worked with his kids on the company's debut title Flyhunter Origins.

"I made sure that our kids tested the games while we were building it," Dalton explained. "So if it got to tough for them, we knew we had to ratchet it down."

Flyhunter Origins releases later this summer for PlayStation Vita, PC, iOS and Android.

E3 2014's family-friendly offerings didn't stop with those two games. Electronic Arts is working on the next edition of its popular The Sims life simulation computer game. Nintendo unveiled a family-oriented competitive party game in Splatoon. EA Sports' next edition of Madden should be great for some quality indoor family time.

In short, there is plenty out there in the video game world for families to play together. The trick (and it's not even much of a trick) is to get past the "M" rated Call of Duty hype and know what to look for.


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