Once you become a rabid Disney theme park fan, you start finding different ways to extend the magic between trips to satiate you while you’re away from the parks. For some people, this means discussion forums, podcasts, etc. For us, at various times, it has meant scrapbooking, reading Disney books, editing photos, and, as you’ll read today: GAMING! We’re hoping to make this a new series, as we think “Bringing the Magic Home” is an important subject!
I should preface this with a bit of a disclaimer. Although Sarah and I own a Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, and an Xbox 360 with Kinect, we are far from hardcore gamers. Sarah uses the game systems to work out, I use them for the latest sports games and zombie-invasion preparedness, and we both use them (the PS3, specifically) for streaming Netflix and as a media center. Oh, and we both use them for Disney gaming. In addition to the aforementioned high-tech game systems, we frequently go low-tech, and play Disney board games.
On that note, here’s a glimpse into our Disney theme parks game collection:
Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour (Playstation, 2000) – This is where it all started for us. I bought this game for the Dreamcast way back in 2001, and immediately loved it. The premise, that Chip & Dale broke a fireworks machine and now you need to collect its parts and reassemble it, of the story mode isn’t the greatest, but the game is reasonably challenging for adults. The detail in this game is incredible, especially when compared to other Disney games that have rested on the Disney license. It even got a surprisingly positive review from IGN! We love the multiplayer mode, and have spent hours upon hours trying to best one another on various tracks. The game controls surprisingly well, too, and the music is great. Speaking of the music, we’ve been shocked to hear some of it (yes, I realize the music is essentially pulled from the attractions, but there are some differences) on the Disney buses. Why they used the game’s music instead of actual attraction music is beyond me, but it’s pretty cool! This is by far the top game in our collection. I even prefer it to Epic Mickey, which is somewhat frustrating due to a poor camera and clunky controls. I linked to the Playstation version above since I imagine more of you have a PSX or PS2 than a Dreamcast, but you can find the (better) Dreamcast version here.
Disney Epic Mickey – I had really high expectations for this title, as did most of the rest of the gaming community, but I have to admit that I was a little underwhelmed by it. To be sure, the details and concept are great. If you are a fan of Disenyana in general (not just parks), it’s a great title. However, the controls and camera are frustrating, and redundant back-and-forth tasks drag down the revolutionary concept. It’s really fun to play, but I wish the creators spent a few more months tightening up the game engine rather than trying to make it’s holiday 2010 release. I still haven’t finished Epic Mickey, as I can only play in about half-hour increments before becoming frustrated. It’s still a must-own title, but it’s not the greatest Disney game ever, like some have proclaimed.
Toy Story Mania! – There is a difference of opinion on this game in our household. Sarah really, really enjoys it. It’s probably her favorite game on this list. I think the controls aren’t completely accurate, and it’s almost the Wii-equivalent of a button-masher. One of my favorite aspects of Toy Story Mania in the parks is that by co-operating a bit, you can unlock high-point targets. Perhaps we just haven’t done things correctly, but that strategy doesn’t seem effective with this game. It’s still fun, and good practice for TSM in the parks, but it’s not perfect. Luckily it’s relatively cheap compared to some games, so it’s worth picking up.
Kinect Disneyland Adventures- What’s not to love about Disneyland Kinect?! Disneyland looks great. There is some painstaking attention to detail here, and it’s not a mere mash-up of Disneyland and Walt Disney World like some previous releases (I’m looking at you, Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour!). This IS Disneyland. Well, minus some attractions they, presumably, couldn’t license. I’ve never been too keen on taking virtual tours of the parks with Google Earth, but this is so different. Really, seriously cool. As for actual (mini) games, they are entertaining and fun, but most have only the most tenuous of connections to the actual attractions. This was disappointing, but the games are fun and well-crafted, which is better than an authentic, yet crappy, game. If you don’t have the Kinect yet and are a casual gamer, get it. The Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect is a steal of a console that is definitely worth owning. More serious gamers may prefer the PlayStation 3 Move Bundle, but for us, the Kinect is perfect!
Clue The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – I got this for Sarah for Christmas, and we’ve only played it once. We love the game, too. Given the latter, you might wonder why we’ve only played it once. Well, I guess that speaks directly to my intelligence. I’m not big “Clue” player, and I didn’t realize it wasn’t a two person game. (C’mon, Tom, how obvious should THAT be?!) All of our real-world friends who live near us think our obsession with Disney is just a “bit” odd, so they aren’t too keen on playing a Disney themed game. Someday, maybe we’ll have become cool and acquire some Disney-friends, but until then, all we can do is stare at the box and think of how fun it would be to play again. It’s just your basic “re-skinning” of a classic game like all of the other Clue or Monopoly editions, but it’s really cool! A good alernative is *probably* Disney Haunted Mansion Clue, but we don’t own it yet (probably never will because of that darn 3 player requirement). It’s a bit cheaper!
Disney Magic Kingdom Game – This game is fairly fun, and we play it a decent amount, but I can’t help but think that it would be more fun with more people. The object here is to visit five attractions (no FASTPASS!) in the Magic Kingdom. There are obstacles along the way and a bit of strategy must be employed. The first player to visit each of their five attractions and return to the park’s entrance wins. I wish the strategical elements were emphasized a bit more, but that’s what I think would improve if you had more players than 2. This game is definitely worth picking up, especially while prices are as low as they are at present.
Disney Monopoly Game 3rd Edition – Similar to the Clue game reviewed above, this is Monopoly with a Disney theme parks skin. I love Monopoly and we own several editions of it (Seinfeld, Rudolph, etc.), but the price here ($50) just doesn’t seem worth it to me. You’re much better off pre-ordering Disneyland Kinect, in my opinion!
I know there are other Disney theme park games out there (specifically, older ones). I’ll update this page as we acquire some of those.
What else do we not have that you enjoy? We’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these titles or others in the comments!