A New Video Game System + Great New Games
The Wii U is sure to be at the top of many a kid's—and parent's—wish list this year. The interactive system's GamePad is a touch-screen controller that looks and acts like a tablet. We love the fact that the GamePad can be used both in multiplayer games with the console and for stand-alone play. Bonus: most old Wii games and controllers are compatible with the new system.
Ages 5 and up Nintendo, starting at $299
Players entering the Nintendo Land theme park can try their luck at 12 mini games based on such classics as Donkey Kong and the Legend of Zelda. Our favorite: Luigi's Ghost Mansion, where the player holding the GamePad controls a ghost invisible to others.
1 to 5 players. Wii U. Ages 10 and up, Nintendo, $59.99
In Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, our pal has some help from Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Together they battle to save Wasteland in this magical (and musical) sequel to the popular Disney Epic Mickey.
1 or 2 players. Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, Wii U. Ages 8 and up, Disney Interactive, $39.99 to $59.99
Take the classic Sega game Castle of Illusion, move its characters and its storyline (saving Minnie from the witch Mizrabel) to Wasteland, and you have Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion.
1 player. 3DS. Ages 5 and up, Disney Interactive, $39.99
Wonderbook: Book of Spells, with original content by J. K. Rowling, holds many secrets of the Harry Potter universe. Through the technology of the PlayStation Move controller and Eye Camera, the Wonderbook conjures a magical 3-D pop-up world, where students can interact with the game by practicing spells and exploring the depths of Hogwarts.
1 player. PS3. Ages 10 and up, Sony PlayStation, $39.99
Upon accepting admission to Hogwarts, kids can try to become the best witch or wizard of their age by casting spells, brewing, and dueling in Harry Potter for Kinect. Especially magical: the game features scenes from the entire series.
1 or 2 players. Xbox 360 Kinect. Ages 10 and up Warner Bros., Interactive Entertainment, $49.99