Gamewagon Video Game Awards

Gamewagon Fleet covering London, Home Counties, Bristol, Bath and Birmingham

The 2015 Gamewagon Family Video Game Awards celebrate the very best family friendly video games.

Gamewagon has become a trusted advisor to over 30,000 families across London and the South East over the past three years for all things video game related. From amazing kids parties to inspirational code clubs, Gamewagon’s team of talented entertainers understand and support a nation of family gamers. The Game wagon Annual Awards reward, celebrate and recognise those games that are providing the very best in family friendly gaming.

Game wagon video game awards 2015

By recognising these games you will be reminding the video game industry of the huge demand for age appropriate and family friendly games.

Nominate Your Favourite Video Games Here

Game wagon Family Video Game Award Categories

This year, there are 12 Awards categories in the Game wagon family video game awards representing the full range of video games created for kids, and parents across the UK.

  • Best Platform Game
  • Best Sports Game
  • Best Adventure Game
  • Best Driving Game
  • Best Multiplayer Game – Sponsored by Gamewagon
  • Best iOS Game (includes iPhone & iPad)
  • Best Android Game (includes phone & tablet)
  • Best Educational Game – Sponsored by Junior Game Creators
  • Best XBOX Game (includes XBOX One)
  • Best Playstation Game (Includes PS4)
  • Best Wii Game (Includes WiiU)
  • Best Handheld Game (Includes DS, 3DS and PSP / Vita)

If you are a video game publisher you may want to read our Questions & Answers page. If you are a parent then please click the button below to nominate your favourite family friendly video games.

Nominate Your Favourite Video Games Here

Our Gamewagon Family Video Game Award Sponsors

Junior Game Creators

Junior Game CreatorsJunior Game Creators is a family of fun, educational clubs and workshops designed to kickstart kids interest in computer science through video games.

Gamewagon

GamGame Wagon Kids Partiesewagon’s birthday parties are fast becoming legendary – they are so much fun! We have held over 2,700 parties and counting and have a professional and respected team to make things easy for you and simply the coolest party ever for the kids.

After School Coding Club

Junior Game Creators

Gamewagon CEO John Lilley is helping junior schools across London to teach children valuable computer science skills using video games as a fun focus.

“When I was at school I was lucky enough to learn to code. I was part of the personal computer revolution and cut my teeth writing code on the ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro.

 

This is something that kids today have missed out on, they are great users of technology but do they know how to create their own apps or programs?”

Junior Game CreatorsSaid Mr Lilley. Kids love video games and using coding programs like scratch to introduce programming concepts like variables, loops, conditional statements and algorithms gives students a foundation of knowledge that will carry them forward without fear.

Gamewagon developed the Junior Game Creators after school clubs to support the national curriculum by giving primary school children the confidence and enthusiasm for computer science. John Lilley went on to say;

“In the same way that learning to read opens up a wider opportunity to learn. So does learning to code. I did not become a computer programmer but the creative thinking skills I learnt in my school days helped me understand what was possible [with technology] and drove my thirst to use applications effectively in business.”

To learn more visit the Junior Game Creators web site – www.juniorgamecreators.co.uk

Gamewagon and the VSC: Support Responsible Gaming

Two years ago, when Gamewagon took its first steps into the world of children’s parties, VSC - Video Standards Councilthere was nothing quite like us on the market. We made a decision very early that we would adhere to the PEGI rating system with regards to which games we would allow our young guests to play. It’s important to note however, that there was no law, regulation or guideline to say that we should – the VSC’s code of practice and accompanying legislature, only applied to the sale of games, not what we do. This decision was our own and one that felt right and important at the time and continues to inform the way we operate – ensuring that games are enjoyed in a safe and responsible way by all ages.

This sense of responsibility is what led us to get in touch with the VSC earlier this year to see how we could help make sure we’re not the only organisation that considers the age appropriateness of video games. After some discussion Gamewagon and the VSC have drawn up an amendment to their industry-wide code of practice to include guidelines and rules that govern the use of video games at events of all sizes – from exhibitions to kids parties. You can find the full text here http://www.videostandards.org.uk/VSC/downloads.html under “VSC Code of Practice” Section 4.

The Video Standards Council is an organisation that few may have heard of but many will recognise. Originally founded in 1989 to “oversee and promote high standards” in the then new technology of home video, its members range from the nationwide supermarket chains to the small independent game shop. Since expanding into video games, one of the VSC’s most important roles is in administering the PEGI age rating system – reviewing all new games and deciding who the appropriate audience is – which it does under the name Game Rating Authority. As of July 2012, this age rating system became legally enforceable for the sale of games i.e. it is against the law to sell age restricted games to children.

To summarise the main points:
     – We must make sure that anyone playing any video game is as old or older than the PEGI age rating.
     – We will take all reasonable steps to prevent children from being able to view gameplay on age restricted games.
     – We will comply with all child protection legislation and procedures.
Of course, Gamewagon has been following these guidelines since day one, for our near 2,000 parties to date. This is not new to us. We wrote these guidelines with the VSC to try and ensure that we are not the only ones looking out for young gamers and their parents. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously and as the UK’s biggest children’s gaming events organiser, we hope we can lead the way for others to follow.

More Adult Women Than Teenagers Play Video Games (ESA)

A new report titled “Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Games Industry” by the ESA  found more adult women play video games than teenagers. The report shows that women aged 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing audience (36%) than boys aged 18 or younger (17%).

We could have told them that, you should see us trying to get Mums out of the Game wagon after a video game party!

more women play video games than teenagers

The report also goes onto mention that 68% of parents with children under 18 feel games provide mental stimulation and education.

“Parents across America recognize the widespread benefits of video games, including education, mental stimulation, and the bonding opportunities they create for families,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA. “Video games are a favorite pastime enjoyed by men and women of all ages, and millions worldwide who share their game play experiences with friends and family.”

We have long supported the close family interaction with video game usage in the family home and the report also shows that parents monitor their children’s game play. In fact, 95 percent of parents said they are paying attention to the content of the games their children play, and 91 percent are present when games are purchased.

Additionally, 88 percent of parents whose children play games believe the video game ratings are either very or somewhat helpful in choosing games for their children.

Do you know what games your kids are playing? Do you time limit gaming? Do you play with your kids and get involved? We would love to hear your comments and opinions.

Lego Hobbit – Buddy up over Easter for family fun in Middle Earth

The Hobbit Video Game Party Heaven

Grab a friend and set forth on a perilous journey far over the Misty Mountains with Thorin and company to reclaim the dwarven Kingdom of Erebor. The Lego title are fantastic parent and child adventures in co-op mode. 

Never tried co-op with the Lego Titles? Give it a try you will be amazed at the problem solving and story telling that will make you both chuckle like naughty little hobbits. I have read The Hobbit to both of my kids when they were smaller and now this represents a great new way to experience the legendary adventures of Bilbo and Company.

“There is no better way for parents to share the beloved and classic tale told in The Hobbitfilms with their kids than with LEGO The Hobbit videogame, in which they can discover, explore, and build their way through Middle-earth together like never before.” said Tom Stone, Managing Director, TT Games.

We are so glad that the PEGI rating came out at 7 as it makes it an all inclusive title fo rthe whole family. Friends and family will enjoy discovering Middle-earth through the easy access drop-in, drop-out gameplay option available on the consoles. Together players will navigate 16 levels, unlock more than 90 playable characters and partake in diverse treasure quests, mine for gems, discover loot from enemies, craft powerful magical items, and collect objects as they triumph in a game of riddles and discover the power of The One Ring.

This is on our must have collection and will be putting it through it’s paces over the next week or so and keep you posted on our progress. Hopefully we can make it out of the Shire!!!

Great Family Games For The Summer Term

We’re heading in to the home stretch for kids before a glorious six or so weeks of freedom. Looking for some good incentives / rewards to encourage them to get their heads down before the summer holidays? Here’s a look ahead to the best family games coming out between Easter and summer, perhaps you can reward yourself as well as them!

Mario Kart 8 | Wii U | Out: 31st May

Gamewagon video game party favorite Mario Kart 8

This is the big one. It’s always a big deal when Nintendo releases a new Mario Kart. The speedy series has a near universal appeal from the youngest to the oldest gamers. This time around we can expect to see transforming karts, new characters and gorgeous HD graphics. You will need a Wii U to play it but we bet you’ll be hard pressed to find a better reason to upgrade to the the new system. With four-player competition, accessible controls and infinite re-play value, Mario Kart 8 could very well be the family game of the year.

SingOn | PlayStation 3 | Out: Spring 2014

Sing On PS3 Gamewagon Video Game Party Ideas

Sony’s own SingStar has long held the karaoke crown for game consoles. Now it may be time to pass the mic. Following a similar digital system to SingStar, SingOn uses a downloaded app to the PlayStation 3 to deliver the music. Plug in any USB mics, pick your song from thousands on the online store and away you go. With SingStar, the songs could get pricey fast but SingOn seems to have a great solution to this; instead of purchasing individual songs, would-be popstars only have to lay down £2.99 for three hours access to the whole library. This could be a great option for those that only break in to song at parties, giving you a great selection for less. They’re even adding a live auto-tune feature for the more musically challenged.

Trials Fusion | XBOX 360/XBOX One/PS4/PC | Out: April 16

Game wagon video game party

After the massive success of fiendishly addictive bike-balance games, Trials HD and Trials Evolution, Finnish developers, RedLynx, are almost set to unleash Trials Fusion on the world. Promising the same, finely tuned gameplay as its predecessor, Fusion adds tricks, track creation and multi-player action (although we’re not sure what form that will take yet). As a download only game the price will likely be a little lower but if it’s anything like the last, you’ll still be in for hours and hours playtime.

Invizimals – We did not see them coming!

Gamewagon Invizimals Kids Party IdeaInvizimals may have been a game that your kids have liked but not really clicked with. Now however with the Invizimals The Alliance on Vita and Invizimals Lost Kingdoms on PlayStation 3 the franchise has really started something that could grab their attention. So get ready as we did not see it coming (pardon the pun!!)

There are many components to this franchise and it takes a while for all the pieces to click together. Not only is there the ability battle  between Vita and PS3 but there is also a cartoon coming to the UK soon as well as a line of toys and collectable Panini stickers. Look out wallet!

Testing out the two games, as well as seeing the cartoons and the toys at a recent launch event for the game it was interesting to see how uncomplicated the offering felt. It all clicks  when you see a child pause the TV show and use a Vita to scan the QR code which then granted him access to the on-screen character in his game.

Then later on while exploring in the garden they use the Vita to scan a particular part of greenery to capture another hard to find Invizimal he had been searching for.

With both Invizimals games launching on 28th March we are looking forward to seeing how quickly it reaches that critical mass of becoming the characters of choice for imaginary playground games. We are looking to see if they will work for our Gamewagon kids video game parties where Skylanders really struggled.  We focus on social interaction and four player games and we hope more developers continue to support social gaming in creative ways such as Invizimals.

Below is a video from our friends from Family Gamer TV so you can learn a little more from the Invizimals Launch Party;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAzjgHCJUuU

Will Amazon Fire TV find a place in your living room?

Online retail giant, Amazon, have just launched the Amazon Fire TV in the US for $99. It’s a very slim black box, not much bigger than a smartphone, and plugs straight in to your HDTV. Once connected to the internet it offers access to loads and loads of the biggest TV and film streaming services like Netflix and Amazon’s own Prime Instant Video (just launched in the UK and free for Amazon Prime members). It’s a safe bet they’ll be offering the likes of BBC iPlayer and 4OD when it crosses the Atlantic too.

Kids Party Idea use the new Amazon Fire TVThere’s certainly no shortage of ways to get TV and film at the moment with many families enjoying on demand video via their set-top box and games console, or using one of Apple or Google’s similar devices. Amazon is looking to distinguish themselves in a few big ways though.

On the video front, they’re able to offer a bigger selection of services by basing the system on Android (the same software then runs loads of non-Apple smartphones). The remote control is unique as well as boasting a microphone in the top for voice control. Ask for Doctor Who and it’ll show you the ever-changing Time Lord. How well this feature works though, remains to be seen. We have been less than impressed with most voice control systems even those in the new generation of Playstation and Xbox.

But the biggest surprise is how much Amazon seems to be pushing the Fire TV as a mini-games console. We’ve seen the Ouya and the Mad Catz M.O.J.O. try to offer smaller, mobile-style games on the big screen in recent years with little success. Amazon is taking a slightly different approach, hiring some big name games talent into its Amazon Game Studios and buying existing game development studios with a view to having them create exclusive content for the Fire TV. They’ve also announced a number of existing games playable on the box too, Minecraft being the biggest.

Early reports on the controller are promising, likening the fully featured gamepad to the superlative XBOX 360 controller. It needs to be bought separately but because the Fire TV runs on Android, you should be able to use most other Bluetooth devices like the PlayStation 3 controller. Coupled with the impressive power in the technical specs and a special, kid-friendly mode called FreeTime, the Fire TV could at last be an affordable, attractive miniature games console for the family.

Will Amazon Fire find it's way into the Game Wagon

It’s yet to be seen whether the Fire TV will be able to compete with Google and Apple in the video space or succeed where others have failed as a micro-console but with the money and might of a huge company like Amazon, it certainly stands a very good chance.

Look out parents here come The Mixels from Lego

You and your wallet may have survived the Skylander phenomenon that linked collectable characters with a video game. Well get ready for Mixels from Lego.

Lego Mixels

Lego Mixels are a range of unique characters that belong to one of nine tribes, each with a distinct colour and style to differentiate them. Made from Lego parts they can all be combined to create a mix (combining Mixels of different tribes), max (combining Mixels of the same tribe), and murp (when a mix goes horribly wrong).

Lego Mixels is a quite unique approach as the cartoon shorts (Cartoon Network) and the toys were developed in unison, with both debuting at the same time.

Supporting them on the video gaming front is the Lego Mixels App, “Calling All Mixels”, which allows you to play with your Mixels in a virtual environment as you mix, max and murp them together to defend against the evil Nixels.

Lego Mixels

Lego could have a huge hit on their hands with the Mixels; and at only £3 per character, they’re a little less of a hit for parents too!

 

 

BAFTA Video Game Awards – Family Video Game Nominations

BAFTA has published the nominations for its awards for games in 2014. Of particular interest to us at Gamewagon are the family video game nominations shown below. Two of our huge favourite video game party titles are featured; Rayman Legends and Super Mario 3D World.

Family Video Games

These awards are great, not only do they recognise the talent that is behind these incredible games but they also put games in the same context within the arts as film and television.

Video games have come a long way and it is important that parents understand this and appreciate why video games are rated in a similar way to films with regards to age appropriateness.

A full list of the nominations is available at BAFTA Games. In the category for “Family”, nominations are: Rayman Legends; Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons; Tearaway; Animal Crossing: New Leaf; Super Mario 3D World; and (unsurprisingly) Skylanders SWAP Force.

Below is a link to more news on the BAFTA Awards and other family gaming news from Andy Robertson of Family Gamer TV.