Family Games For The Holidays | App Trigger Roundtable

Credit: Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo /

Spending Thanksgiving with the family and want to share your love of games? We talk about our favorite family gaming experiences in this week’s roundtable.

Happy Thanksgiving! This is our weekly App Trigger Roundtable feature, where our writers converge to provide their opinions, wishes, statements or critical thought on one general topic centered around mobile and/or video games. Sometimes it can be funny; sometimes it can be serious. Contemporary, classic; we hope to cover a wide variety of things in this segment as a group. If you wish to submit an idea for an App Trigger Roundtable discussion topic, you can leave us an email at We’ll totally give you (and your Twitter account, if applicable) a shoutout!

This week’s App Trigger Roundtable revolves around the holiday season, and the family games we play together. Our question is: “What games do you break out to play with friends and family around the holidays? Or, do you have any favorite holiday gaming experiences with friends or family?”

Best Nintendo Games
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Alex Avard (Twitter)

When the Wii first launched, as was the case with many households around the world, our family went Nintendo crazy. I’m one of four children, so we received the Wii for Christmas one year, and would continue to play it for the next couple of days and weeks incessantly. Even when we went round to our extended family’s houses for new year’s or boxing day, they too had received a Wii and were just as obsessed with playing Tennis or Mario Kart as we were. Nothing has ever really captured the interests of my family since, as they’re not really amused by gaming in the slightest. I’m sure a PS VR headset would peak their curiosity, but that product is far pricier and less social than the Wii was, so I doubt it would keep them captivated for long.

guitar-hero-live-def-leppard /

Nathan Reynolds (Twitter)

Typically when the family gets together we tend to play outdoor games, such as football, soccer or basketball. As long as the weather is decent, then the majority of the group is out there playing or watching. Plus, pretty much everyone knows how to play those games, rather than having to teach people a new console or game. We have a lot of family members that do not play console or mobile whatsoever, so it ends up just being easier to head outside.

An exception to this was years back when the Guitar Hero and Rock Band trend was at its peak. Not only was everyone willing to try the game and different instruments out, but watch the experience when not playing. It was quite hilarious to try to teach an uncle or grandparent how to time the guitar buttons correct or get them to sing. That trend has passed, but it is a great memory from holidays past.

best pokemon games
Credit: The Pokemon Company /

Hirun Cryer (Twitter)

I’ve traditionally been more of a single-player person, both with regard to multiplayer functionality and couch co-op. Therefore what I tend to do around the holiday season is break out games that would be acceptable to play around the family.

In other words, something like Pokemon is ideal for this situation; I can play it on a handheld console, taking it wherever I go, and it’s a somewhat unassuming game overall. A traditional console game (for example the latest Call of Duty) wouldn’t sit well with the family, this being a non-portable game and featuring more death than that end sequence from Cabin in the Woods (spoilers!).

It’s not easy finding traditionally solo experiences to play around the family during Christmas, especially when the only Nintendo handheld that I actually own is a Gameboy Micro. Yeah, I’m puzzled as to how it still works too.

Best Nintendo Games
Nintendo /

Rebekah Valentine (Twitter)

While my parents have never known which way to hold a controller, the rest of my family shares my love of games, which makes it easy to find family gaming experiences to share. My mother-in-law has a 3DS, and we’ve shared games of Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Fantasy Life while the turkey was in the oven at Thanksgivings past. After dinner, all of my in-laws will play any of the Jackbox Party Packs with us, which usually results in laughing harder than our full turkey bellies want us to.

More app trigger: 50 Best Nintendo Games Right Now

On the other side of things, my brother and sister love Nintendo games, and pretty much always manage to con my husband and I into playing Mario Kart 8, Nintendo Land, or Super Smash Bros for Wii U with them. We always win, and yet they still ask us to play every time. I guess that’s just the Nintendo spirit.

Super Smash Bros Melee
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Matt Becker (Twitter)

Usually when I visit my parents’ house for the holidays, we tend to play board games a lot as a family, especially trivia-related games. My brother and sister and I will occasionally like to break out the GameCube and play Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, and some NCAA Football. My dad isn’t much of a gamer, but he likes to play Wii Sports with us every once in a while (especially golf). This Thanksgiving in particular, my brother is interested in checking out my New Nintendo 3DS I recently picked up. I wouldn’t be surprised if I can convince him to hop on that bandwagon and get Pokemon Sun and Moon with me.