Console game: Rock Band
The Guitar Hero video games have become smash hits, with their authentic rock tunes and guitar-shaped controllers, which give players the opportunity to rock 'n' roll their way to fame. Though the third installment in that series is due out soon, Harmonix, the development studio that created Guitar Hero, isn't responsible for Guitar Hero III.
Look instead for this company's latest experiment: Rock Band, coming this holiday season to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 and 3. Having created both the Guitar Hero and Karaoke Revolution video game series, Harmonix is pooling all aspects of music performance into a single package.
With Rock Band, you and your family can be the next Osmonds as you jam together on guitar, drums and microphone to one of 45 songs from groups like the Foo Fighters, R.E.M., Bon Jovi, Nine Inch Nails and the Rolling Stones.
Fame comes at a price: The game and all instruments are bundled together for US$170. (Rated "T" for Teen)
Summary: Get Mom on the drums and your brother on bass and practice those classic-rock riffs. Can a world tour be far behind?
PC and Mac games for the whole family
It may seem like computer games are dominated by first-person shooters, but there are plenty of alternatives that provide hours of fun and challenge to all ages.
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
This combination of role-playing and puzzle genres offers an alternative to the violent conflicts of other games. Journey the world to discover dungeons, castles, magic and monsters in this epic story of good vs. evil -- but when battle occurs, break out your tiles.
Combat occurs in bejeweled fashion as players take turns swapping gemstones to make colored combinations that will disappear. Local and Internet multiplayer options are included. (Also available for Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, and Sony PSP)
Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull
The famous girl detective is back in a mystery that sends her through mansions and crypts looking for clues. Plenty of puzzles and notetaking compose a challenging case for gamers at least 10 years old.
Complementing the 4Kids TV cartoon, Viva PiA±ata challenges players to cultivate a garden that will attract colorful piA±ata residents. Gamers can then make and accessorize their piA±atas or have them compete in various minigames. (Also available for Xbox 360)
Bee Movie Game
Jerry Seinfeld leaps off the silver screen and into this video game adaptation. Barry Bee Benson rushes around his hive in his little bee car before voyaging outside, where he must avoid cars, rainfall, and other menaces as he collects pollen and tries to save his colony's honey. (Also available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS)