I was stumped this year. Truly stumped. I had no idea what to get my sons for Hanukkah. They are a little too easy going. They don’t want much. Socks, maybe. Some spending money. My oldest asked to go out to dinner.
Both my 10 and 14 year old sons had one specific and definite request however. They both wanted to get Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Looks like another Nintendo Holiday Season for us!
Read more for the lowdown on Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Super Mario Party, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu Special PokeBall Plus Edition, LABO Vehicle kit and more for Holidays 2018
Disclosure: We have received sample games and products from Nintendo for review. All opinions are my own.
Nintendo Super Smash Bros Ultimate for The Holidays
When I asked the 14yo why he wanted this game he waxed nostalgic and made me laugh.
“It’s everything you imagined as a kid. You get to be Sonic and punch Mario in the face! It’s a diverse set of characters from EVERY iconic video game franchise imaginable. From Final Fantasy to Street Fighter, even one from Metal Gear Solid. Scores will be settled!”
We had one small problem though…
About a year ago that same son dropped the beloved Switch, and broke it. The beloved Switch that we had saved up for and that I went online to stalk when it first came out. It took months to score one. Oh how we loved that Switch. It was a dark, dark day when it broke. Literally the day we flipped the Switch. Lights out.
Nevertheless, I stubbornly refused to fix the game for them. Even though I think that the Switch is one of the healthiest and most social “screentime” devices out there. It was a teachable moment about being responsible for your stuff and working to fix things when they break. I dug in. They had to make do with their Wii, or figure something out.
A Big Nintendo Surprise and then Another! Nintendo saves the 2018 Holidays…
A week before Super Smash Bros Ultimate came out, my elder son came to me with his life savings and a phone number. He’d found a shop in a neighboring town that *might* be able to repair their broken Switch. And he wanted to pay for it with his own money. Next, he informed me, he was planning to save up for the game, maybe by next month. Could I think of any chores?
Sigh… I caved. Later that night I went online and pre-ordered a new Switch and the game. Casually, I acted like nothing was up. I played it cool till the last night of Hanukkah, when I gifted them with the new unit and the game they were so hyped to get. It was received much more joyously than the socks!
We will still pursue fixing the other unit. They love the Switch so much, we’d love to have one for each kid.
All was going well in the Nintendo-verse here, but then a package arrived with more goodies… Oh happy day! Time to put on our critical reviewer hats and dig in. Our holiday is over but we sure would love to help you make yours more bright!
We were thrilled to get a chance to review some of the following products and I (and my kids) cannot wait to tell you why they are perfect gifts for the holidays (whatever you celebrate) and beyond.
Nintendo Labo Won Us Over!
I’d shown my sons Labo before and they weren’t that into it. Even when they first opened the box they were not so sure. And then my 10 year old son built the first project. Eight hours later he was still building. I had to force him to go to bed that night.
“It’s just amazing how they have thought of everything!” the ten year old said, “It’s almost impossible to screw this up, even the pieces in the box are stacked in the order you need them. Everything make sense and is right where you need it, plus there is a whole interactive universe you get to use the stuff in. It just keeps getting better the more stuff you make. It’s so much better than Lego!”
“I gotta admit, this is pretty cool!” the 14 year old concurred, while examining the functional steering wheel and gas pedal his little brother built. Note: he is wearing his new socks in the picture as well. Hanukkah socks are still on the list.
As an adult, I really marvel at the brilliance that has gone into these projects. It’s one thing to build a toy, but the fact that it brings new games and functionality to your video game, is really amazing. The system works via tiny strategically placed reflectors (something the 10yr old was fascinated by) that are integrated into the cardboard structures, and that work via the IR camera in the joy cons. It’s super fun to actually drive with the steering wheel you built, and hit the gas pedal you built too. Every step in the building process has been gamified in such a way that once you start, you can’t wait to build more.
We can’t wait to build the submarine next!
Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu Special PokeBall Plus Edition
Who doesn’t love Pokemon? My kids played Pokemon Go and have long been fans of Nintendo’s 3DS Pokemon games. This new game allows you to bring your Pokemon to life, and provides a more immersive experience. The Pokeball controller can be carried around, even when you are not playing. Your Pokemon will gain XP in the game when you walk around with it. It will also keep you company, making noises and reminding you it’s there. When you do play, you can use the Pokeball as an extra controller, to throw Pokeballs in the game.
I am reminded a little of the old Tamagotchis we had as kids. But this is way cooler. I also like that my son is inspired to stop playing the game and take his Pokeball for a walk… and gets credit for that! My son named his Pokemon RyanReynolds. How funny is that?
Super Mario Party is more of a good thing. Who doesn’t love Mario?
With 80 new minigames and the ability to play with other players online or in person, Super Mario Party is perfect for group play.This is the game to bust out when all the cousins come over. Or bust it ou
t virtually and hang with distant relatives on Christmas morning. Between this and SuperSmash Bros, the kids are going to have a blast this holiday season. Also possibly the aunts, uncles, parents and some of the cooler grandparents….
My kids love to play online with cousins and friends all over the world. I’ve written about how this has created a new kind of social network. My work friend’s kids and my neighbor’s kids are virtual friends with my nieces and nephews because they all play with my son. It’s kind of cool watching these virtual friend webs blossom. I really appreciate that online gaming in a safe environment, brings my kids closer with distant relatives and friends, all year round.
Old school family game night is still a thing around here. My kids grandparents are not into video gaming but everyone can agree on board games like Monopoly. Did you know that Nintendo started out making card games? I love that this is a simple unplugged way for the family to all play together, that incorporates my kid’s favorite characters.
Nintendo Holidays and All Year Round!
Of all the brands we have worked with over the years, Nintendo is one of my favorites. Their products have entertained my kids, at home and on the road. I feel confident that the games and products they create are safe and appropriate. I love that so many of the products are not only fun, but incredibly educational as well. LABO is a STEM inspired experienced.I am happy to invest in their products every year at the holidays and beyond. Even if I am a little stubborn about my kids saving to fix things they break! Nintendo has brought our family so much joy over the years – on long road trips, sick days, celebrations, and just in the day to day.
We can all play together on products like the Switch, and sometimes that’s just what we all need.
Nintendo has truly been a part of my kid’s childhood. My older teenager and 20 something daughter are happy to play with younger siblings and my husband and I get nostalgic when we plays the classics with all our kids. If you ask my boys about the history of the Nintendo company, expect to get an earful. I might be a fan, but they are the real superfans.