There's a school of thought – and I don't disagree here – that LEGO video games develop superhero characters better than comics or movies. Why? Because LEGO adds quirkiness and an extra dimension, especially for kids who have grown up with LEGO, bringing their favourite characters to life in a fun age-appropriate setting that avoids the sometimes gratuitous violence found in other games.
While it's not a competition about which platform is better, the video games are fun, engaging and easy for kids to play (ie they're geared primarily for tweens and up, and not to adults). LEGO, one of the most successful gaming franchises, has many kids' video games, including Marvel Avengers, Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, and the most recent Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
These games build on the successful movie and comic franchises, so if your kids enjoyed the movie they're sure to love these games. For Avengers especially there are characters from the comic book that will be new to those who have only seen the movie, making it even more exciting.
If you're concerned about the benefit of video games, and whether they're just violent or a waste of time for kids, there's a lot of research that shows that video games like LEGO's have huge benefits. One study from the Education Development Center and the U.S. Congress-supported Ready To Learn (RTL) Initiative found that a curriculum that involved digital media such as video games could improve early literacy skills when coupled with strong parental and teacher involvement.
Its hard to beat the excitement of being engrossed in a game, especially one that engages you and requires you to think and strategise, while not all games are strictly "educational" it seems clear that thinking in this way and working towards a goal can only be of benefit to kids.
An article in Psychology Today lists the following benefits of kids playing video games, many of which came as a surprise to me:
– Improvement in attention, eg improved spatial attention and ability to track moving objects, reduced impulsiveness, and overcoming dyslexia
– Improvements in executive functioning, eg improved ability to multitask, increased mental fliexbility, and slow the ageing process (I wish I played more Atari and Donkey Kong back in my day).
Video games have also been shown to help kids make faster decisions, reduce their stress, and increase sociability (kids like getting together to play games).
LEGO Marvel Avengers
Marvel’s Avengers features characters and storylines from the critically acclaimed film Marvel’s The Avengers and the smash hit sequel Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as playable content based on additional Marvel Studios blockbusters, including Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Play as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in their quest to save the world.
Suited to ages 11 and up (via Common Sense Media).
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
LEGO® Star Wars™: The Force Awakens™ marks the triumphant return of the No. 1 LEGO videogame franchise and immerses fans in the new Star Wars adventure like never before. Players can relive the epic action from the blockbuster film in a way that only LEGO can offer, featuring all of the storylines from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, retold through the clever and witty LEGO lens.
The game will also feature exclusive playable content that takes players on adventures between Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, providing additional insight about the new movie and its characters. Note: when referencing LEGO Star Wars, only talk about The Force Awakens – previous Star Wars titles are not part of WB portfolio LEGO® Marvel Avengers Avengers Assemble! The best-selling LEGO Marvel videogame franchise returns with a brand new action-packed, Super Hero adventure.
Suited for kids aged 10-11 (via Common Sense Media).
Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
The best-selling LEGO Batman videogame franchise returns in an out-of-this-world, action-packed adventure!In LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, the Caped Crusader joins forces with the super heroes of the DC Comics universe and blasts off to outer space to stop the evil Brainiac from destroying Earth. Using the power of the Lantern Rings, Brainiac shrink’s worlds to add to his twisted collection of miniature cities from across the universe. Now the greatest super heroes and the most cunning villains must unite and journey to different Lantern Worlds to collect the Lantern Rings and stop Brainiac before it’s too late.
Suited for kids aged 10 and up (via Common Sense Media).
Recommended retail pricing for the LEGO video games are below, and they're available at all stores that sell games.
LEGO AVENGERS: R399
LEGO AVENGERS (3DS): R399
LEGO AVENGERS (PS VITA); R499
LEGO AVENGERS (PS3): R599
LEGO AVENGERS (XB360): R599
LEGO AVENGERS (XB1): R699
LEGO AVENGERS (PS4): R699