If you grew up in the beginning of console gaming, you remember the proliferation of franchise video games that were aimed at kids that loved the television shows and movies they were based off of. Disney was no exception and, ever since the Amiga, has released game after game marketed towards youngsters. What about us Disney loving adults, though?
Once games based on children’s shows and movies started flourishing deeper into the 2000’s, they saturated a bit heavily and some became a bit simpler in hopes that all kids could get a grasp of the mechanics. It wasn’t like when we were trying to make Mickey’s Mousecapades happen and we’d end up swearing off the Nintendo Entertainment System for 24 hours because that game was insanely difficult; things changed. Even though gameplay dynamics and an importance on being approachable for all ages of kid became more important, there were still a few titles that were wonderful enough that even us more seasoned gaming adults could enjoy.
1. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean
The cool thing about LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is that it follows four of the five current films almost too beautifully. Injecting a bit of LEGO flair to the whole thing, it’s the same kind of LEGO gameplay but with a wonderful attention to the details of the movies. The music is gorgeous and taken straight from your beloved pirate adventures with Captain Jack Sparrow and, well, the others. The replayability is as great as most of the LEGO titles and I’d be overwhelmingly happy to see a remaster of this coincide with the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie that we’ll hear about soon enough.
2. The Disney Afternoon Collection
Of all of those Nintendo releases of Disney video games, I loved the ones in this collection the most! Sure, there’s not hide-nor-hair of Mickey or Goofy, but Donald and his kin are definitely there! Featuring both Ducktales games, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck AND both Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers games – it’s completely packed with nostalgia. Not just a little bit, mind you, but the super difficult NES nostalgia we all remember and only Capcom could give us. Cool additions to these remastered titles have things like a Boss Rush mode as well as a cool feature to keep you from the all too familiar “HOW WERE GAMES THIS HARD WHEN I WAS A KID??” feeling where you can rewind to halt a mistake. Man, just wait until you step back into the saddle. It’s going to feel so good.
3. Disney Universe
One of the things that I feel Disney games didn’t always take heed of is that a lot of us weren’t just gaming solo. We love all of these awesome movie franchises but we were mostly (with the exception of very few, like Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers) left playing alone when we were kids. Disney Universe not only revisits all of the films you loved as a kid and gives you worlds to play in, but lets you and up to three others co-op through them! No joke: I bought this for myself and had zero intention on playing it with my kid as she is in her God of War phase and rarely wants to step backwards into Disney games. I couldn’t have been happier. The gameplay makes me think of the more old school platforming games and definitely isn’t as crazy-easy as you’d expect from something so gosh-durned adorable. If you missed out on the tons of opportunity to play around in different worlds that Disney Infinity offered and didn’t have the space for all of those figures, Disney Universe is the answer.
4. Disney Magical World
I’m afraid to even start in on telling any of you about this game because I could devote an entire article to my obsession with Disney Magical World and the sequel. Let me put it to you this way: If you love Animal Crossing and you love Disney… wait, did I lose you? You’re already off buying it? Good. Seriously though, Disney Magical World not only provides Animal Crossing-esque things like questing for your neighbors, farming, fishing and general happiness within your town but then gives you actual action gameplay too! By doing things for other characters in the Magical Kingdom adjacent world, you earn outfits that help you blend in to the other film worlds that need help with their story quests. Dressing up like Princess Jasmine or Aladdin will give you helpful boosts you need as you fight through caves to help find items that Aladdin and Jasmine both need help with. Did I mention that there’s a really fun AR feature that allows you to get special items from codes that are littered all over the Internet? Don’t worry though, if all that becomes too much for you, you can just focus up on having the best dang Disney cafe and apartment you ever hoped for.
5. Toy Story 3: The Video Game
Back before Disney Infinity had happened, even before Disney Universe which was a year LATER than this one, Toy Story 3: The Video Game was playing around with the concept of letting players build their own worlds within their films. Toy Story 3 not only had an incredibly fun and rather challenging campaign to its main game but it also had a thing called the “Toy Box” which would eventually end up resurfacing in Disney Infinity some years later. (Side Note: In fact, a lot of you Disney Infinity fans either know about this game or you’d find a LOT of the Toy Box mode familiar to Disney Infinity later on.) This was where you could take all of the little NPCs, buildings, paints and objects you had found through the game and build up your own town to tinker within. Honestly, I played through this game (again, by myself) a few times but mostly it was just to play Sim City with Toy Story and there’s not a thing wrong about that. If you’re a huge Pixar fan and those Toy Story movies bring you back to that childhood you fondly remember – nab this one on PC or any of the last gen systems like PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 and have yourself a real good time.