The top 10 family games of 2011: Kinect Disneyland, Sesame Street, and more

They may not be the most glamorous ticket in town during the holiday buying season, but family games are one of a very small number of video game genres where the adults can have as much fun as the kids. Family games have seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to the advent of motion-gaming technologies like Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PlayStation Move and Microsoft Xbox Kinect that simplify play mechanics beyond memorizing button placements or manipulating two analog joysticks in tandem. Family games are more about getting everyone in the room involved than spending 18 hours clawing and scratching your way through a singular adventure.

Review: Despite its age, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is a breath of fresh air

In many ways the first-person shooters of today owe a lot to the original Halo, which launched back in 2001 alongside the original Xbox on November 15. It stomped its way onto the scene and proclaimed the genre could indeed be successful on consoles despite most gamers believing a keyboard and mouse was needed for a truly great experience. The naysayers were incorrect and nowadays first-person shooters are the single most popular genre on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Halo not only proved that first-person shooters could work on analog sticks for a console game controller, but it also created a totally original universe steeped in cultural and religious undertones as well as a meaningful, yet understated relationship between the main character and his computer-AI fueled, yet simply human, compatriot known as Cortana.