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Ring in 2017 With These TV Countdown Parties
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Nintendo Land (Wii U, E10+)
Just as Wii Sports helped gamers get comfortable with the Wii console's unconventional motion controls, Nintendo Land allows them to cozy up behind the new Wii U's tablet-like peripheral. Much more than a teaching tool though, this fan-pleasing, theme park-inspired title features mini-games based on every iconic Nintendo franchise, from Super Mario Bros. and Metroid to Luigi's Mansion and The Legend of Zelda.
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Scribblenauts Unlimited (Wii U, 3DS, PC, Rated E-E10+)
Building on the almost magical premise of previous Scribblenauts titles, Unlimited again tasks players with solving puzzles by conjuring anything that pops into their minds; from summoning zombies and horses to horse-riding zombies, they're limited only by their wild imaginations. Complementing the creativity-encouraging gameplay is a narrative that finally sheds some light on series' star Maxwell's back-story.
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Just Dance Disney Party (360, Wii, Rated E)
A more kid-friendly take on the enormously popular Just Dance series, Disney Party invites even the youngest gamers to get down with their favorite tracks from familiar Disney films (Beauty and the Beast, Tangled) and television shows (Shake it Up, A.N.T. Farm). Featuring multiple modes, accessible mechanics, and cooperative play, this one might even get grandma grooving to that crazy-catchy Good Luck Charlie theme song.
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NBA Baller Beats (360, Rated E10+)
A game that actually encourages kids to play ball in the house, this sports-meets-music mash-up challenges players to bounce a real basketball — included with purchase — in time with the title's living room-rattling soundtrack. Coupling athletic play with hot tracks from classic (Run-DMC) and contemporary (Kanye West) hip-hop artists, this innovative Kinect experience can improve your b-ball skills and your taste in music.
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Harry Potter Kinect (360, Rated E)
Wizard-wannabes may have already read the books and watched the movies, but they won't want to retire their wands and broomsticks before diving into this interactive take on J.K. Rowling's rich fantasy universe. From casting spells and playing Quidditch to brewing potions and battling baddies, players are immersed in Harry's world via responsive controller-free commands and voice recognition technology.
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Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, 3DS, Rated E)
Following the events of the first Epic Mickey, The Power of Two invites fans back to Wasteland, where they'll again shape the misfit Magic Kingdom from behind a powerful paintbrush. Even better, the sequel adds fresh theme park-inspired areas and features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit as a playable co-op character. On-the-go Disney geeks can also enjoy a complementary adventure — Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion — on their 3DS portable.
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LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3, Rated E)
Sackboy and his burlap buddies discover their need for speed in this personality-packed kart racer based on the inspired platforming series. In addition to the expected track-lapping action, this tire-screeching spin-off retains the series' signature PLAY, CREATE, and SHARE experience, encouraging budding game designers to craft their very own playable content and share their masterpieces with friends online.
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Skylanders: Giants (360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, 3DS, Rated E10+)
Expanding on the can't-miss-with-kids concept of coupling collectable action figures with videogames, this Skylanders' sequel takes the ''bigger is better'' approach literally. The titular titans — such as trunk-tastic Tree Rex — come to in-game life on the portal-like peripheral and join their plaything pals in an all-new adventure. While young fans will no doubt want to grab the latest toys, characters from the previous game are welcome in Giants' world.
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PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, Rated T)
Similar to Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series — but for Sony loyalists — this accessible brawler brings together characters from various fan-favorite PlayStation franchises. On top of tossing the likes of God of War's Kratos and Uncharted's Nathan Drake into the ring, the 4-player fighter also invites some outsiders, such as BioShock's Big Daddy, to the rumble. Arenas based on the All-Stars' games ratchet the fan service through the roof.
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New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U, Rated E)
Mario's latest princess-rescuing romp through the Mushroom Kingdom provides all the expected Goomba-stomping, coin-collecting, Bowser-battling action, but also innovates the familiar formula with a fresh Wii U-enabled approach. In addition to sharing adventure highlights over the socially-connected Mii Verse, players will be able to help — or hinder — their buddies from behind the tablet-like gamepad in the new, fast-paced Boost Mode.
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Wonderbook: Book of Spells (PS3, Rated E10+)
Utilizing the PlayStation Move controller and the new Wonderbook peripheral, Book of Spells lets players wield a virtual magical wand. Complemented by immersion-amping augmented reality technology, the experience is more interactive journey than traditional game. Harry Potter fans envious of the boy wizard's supernatural skills will especially enjoy casting spells and summoning objects from the comfort of their living room floor.
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LEGO Lord of the Rings (360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, PS Vita, DS, PC, Rated E)
After tackling everything from the Galaxy Far, Far Away to Gotham City, it was only a matter of time before this popular series set its sight on Middle-Earth. Featuring the franchise's signature minifigure-fueled fun and smart humor, LEGO LotR takes players on a sprawling adventure through Peter Jackson's epic film trilogy. Of course, all fan-favorite characters are accounted for and playable in family-friendly cooperative modes.
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Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth (360, Wii U, Rated T)
Sporting a slick comic book-inspired art style and intuitive motion controls, this brawler puts Marvel fans behind the fists of all their favorite superheroes; whether smashing baddies with Hulk's lethal limbs or teaching them a lesson with Thor's hammer, they can unleash a variety of character-specific moves and attacks. Twenty playable heroes — and villains! — and a narrative inspired by the Secret Invasion storyline round out the fan-servicing fun.
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Ring in 2017 With These TV Countdown Parties