Headlining the video game news this holiday season is the release of two next-generation consoles — PlayStation 4 and XBox One — and launch lineups that include new installments of some of the most popular franchises.
Many of those offerings, however, are decidedly M-rated titles such as "Assassins Creed IV Black Flag," "Battlefield 4" and "Call of Duty: Ghosts" — games recommended for "mature" players because of violence, language, blood and/or sexual themes. Some of them made our elves blush.
Our family-friendly gift guide focuses on games for "Everyone" — those rated in the E range by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.
We've compiled a list of games across the various platforms (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, XBox One, XBox 360, Wii U, Wii, Nintendo DS) that are appropriate for a broader age range and are likely to keep families entertained with strong gameplay.
A few disclaimers: Not every game in the E range (some are rated E 10+) is appropriate for younger children, and the games are not always easy for kids to play. We've tested most of them, but in cases where we haven't, we'll refer to reputable online reviews. And while digital downloads and smartphone apps have greatly expanded the gaming landscape, we've narrowed our focus to software that can be found in retail stores.