Dance Central (Xbox)

Game Info
Dance Central for Xbox Kinect
Release Date: December 28, 2010
Harmonix
Rated T (teen)
ASIN: B004I5EE46

Summary
Dance Central is the breakthrough new dance game from Harmonix, the makers of the other hit franchise Rock Band. Dance Central utilizes Xbox’s new Kinect technology with allows the player to actually be the controller. The game features a large collection of hit dance songs from the present and past that have been choreographed and grouped by choreography difficulty. The player simply follows along, mirroring the avatar who is dancing on the screen in front of you. Players have the option to dive right in to dancing along with the song, or to “break it down” and learn the specific dance moves in small, easy to manage chunks in order to truly master the game. Also, seeing as this game is very active and players are likely to work up a sweat, players can activate “work out mode” and get an idea of exactly how many calories they are burning while playing!

Reader’s Annotation
Without the need for a controller, bust your moves and burn some calories with Dance Central for Xbox Kinect.

Critical Evaluation
I absolutely love this game. It serves so many purposes and is ridiculously fun to boot. I love that it gets people off of the couch and actually makes working out fun and interesting. You don’t even realize it’s happening! Also, while the multiplayer functionality is not that great, it is a great game for parties or groups since it’s interactive and players, or simply observers and cheer each other on. The dance moves range from simple to complex for all levels of dancer and are set to popular hits from across the decades. It has been said that choreographed dancing is one of the greatest things you can do for your mind and your body, because you are forced to keep your brain active to think of the next steps as well as move your body to the beat.

Reading Level/ Interest Age
13+

Why Included?
I love when a video game serves multiple purposes and this is a perfect example of a game that combines mental stimulation with physical activity, and executes it masterfully.

Mario Kart Wii


Game Info
Release Date: April 27, 2008
Nintendo
Rated E (everyone)
ASIN: B000XJNTNS

Summary
Mario Kart Wii is a racing game involving go karts that are driven by your favorite Nintendo Characters, including Mario, Yoshi, Princess Peach, Toad, and Bowser. The Wii allows players to place the Wiimote into an auxiliary wheel, so that the player feels like they are actually controlling a steering wheel. Drivers can pick up items to give them more of an advantage over other players, including shells to briefly knock players out of the way, banana peels that create road hazards, or stars that make the driver invincible against those who get in his/her way. The game offers friendly competition and fun for people of all ages.

Reader’s Annotation
Race to the finish in a go kart race of epic proportions! Mario Kart Wii offers unique game play and fun for people of all ages.

Critical Evaluation
As the second best-selling game for Wii, it offers players solo play, friendly competition or elements of teamwork depending on the selected play style. Mario Kart Wii is the 6th installment in the Mario Kart series that debuted on the Super Nintendo console in 1992. Having evolved for each new console, the Wii version combines the classic game that fans know and love with new tracks and method of controlling your go-kart by utilizing the Wii’s new and innovative Wiimote controller. The Wiimote snaps into a specially crafted wheel that comes with the game at purchase and while utilizing some of the buttons on the controller itself, the car is mostly controlled much like a regular car by tilting the wheel and engaging the Wiimotes inner gyroscope. Overall, the game is fun and addictive for all ages of players.

Reading Level/ Interest Age
All ages

Why Included?
Mario Kart is one of the most loved franchises in Nintendo’s history. The game would be beneficial for a library’s collection for patrons to check out and can also be used for library programming.

Portal 2 (PS3)

Game Info
Portal 2 for PS3
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Valve
Rated E10+ (everyone age 10 and older)
ASIN: B003O6E3C8

Summary
Portal 2 can be described as a first-person puzzle-platform video game that was developed and released by Valve Corporation for PC and a number of video game platforms. Portal 2, much like its predecessor Portal, requires the player to solve a series of puzzles. The player must maneuver an on screen character, and/or objects, through portals that the player creates using a portal gun. The portal gun is used to create a pair of teleportation portals, where if you enter one portal you will automatically exit through its counterpart, or vice versa. The portals can only be placed on flat planes, and as the puzzles increase in difficulty, the player must get increasingly creative with their portal placement in order to solve the puzzle. While the gameplay basics are very similar to the first Portal, Portal 2 has added new elements such as tractor beams and laser redirection.

Reader’s Annotation
Portal 2 is the long awaited sequel to the addictive puzzle game Portal. The same portals you know and love, with new added features!

Critical Evaluation
Portal 2 is a classic puzzle game that gets players thinking as the levels increase in difficulty. It is the long awaited sequel to the much loved cult classic, Portal, and upon release lived up to all of its hype with consistent reviews of a 9-10 out of 10. One reviewer went so far as to call it “the perfect marriage of sharp young designers’ fresh ideas and big-studio polish.” The game has mass appeal for both male and female gamers and features fun references to pop culture, which is always a fun added element for players who like to feel special when they are in the know and “get” a reference. And of course, it’s always great to have games that serve more of a purpose than just mindless gaming, but actually stimulate brain function and get kids (and adults alike) thinking!

Reading Level/ Interest Age
10+

Why Included?
It is the sequel to a much loved game and will appeal to almost anyone.