Carnival Games

Common Sense Media says

Collection of all-ages, midway-themed mini-games.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's an all-ages party game for up to four players.

Violence & scariness

A couple classic shooting gallery games involve firing air gun pellets at wooden ducks and paper stars.

Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a party game composed of the classic pay-per-play games that line carnival midways. It contains no sexuality, profanity, or violence. There are a couple of shooting mini-games, but these challenges see players firing air rifles at inanimate targets such as wooden ducks and paper stars rather than other players or characters. The mini-games are easy to learn with intuitive controls, and consequently, this is a game that parents and kids can play together at roughly the same level.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

CARNIVAL GAMES is a collection of mini-games that collectively recreate the classic midway experience. Players will toss coins onto small plates, squirt water into a clown's mouth to fill a balloon with air, and throw baseballs at stacks of milk cans. Each game makes use of the Wii remote's unique capabilities. For example, players need to make an overhand throwing motion to throw baseballs at clown faces, and an underhand lobbing motion to roll balls down an alley. All told, there are more than two dozen activities, almost all of which will be known to experienced carnival-goers. You can play alone to earn virtual prizes, or with up to three friends in competitions composed of five randomly selected games.

Is it any good?


Party games are a staple of the Wii's rapidly expanding game library, and Carnival Games sits comfortably in the middle of the pack. Its collection of boardwalk-themed minigames is modest but pleasant; thanks to the familiarity of midway activities like tossing pigskins through swinging tires and rolling a bowling ball on rails into a U-shaped dip. And keep in mind that, should you start to feel frustrated because you just can't toss that baseball into the bucket, it's probably not the fault of the game's natural, motion sensitive controls, but rather a testament to its authenticity -- after all, how often do you get the ball in the bucket at a real midway? On the bright side, it might just teach your family a lesson about the odds of winning a real world carnival game (and help save a bit of money on your next trip to the fair, to boot).

Still, some players have a low tolerance for games that depend on luck, as many of these minigames do. It can be frustrating to watch your coins repeatedly bounce off the plate as you toss them when those of other players inexplicably stick in place. What's more, Carnival Games suffers from a distinct lack of depth. It has no story, offers just a few simple modes of play, and there are no long-term goals other than reaching the top of the leader board. It can be fun for a while, but it's unlikely that Carnival Games will become a regular part of your family's gaming regimen.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the difference between games of skill and games of chance. Through practice, can a player become good at Carnival Games' activities, or do they rely more on luck than proficiency? Do you find any of the mini-games more difficult than you thought they would be at first glance? This conversation can segue into a discussion about actual carnivals, and how the real-life versions of the games found in this video game are often cleverly designed to appear easier than they actually are in order to attract players.

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Global Star Software
Release date:August 27, 2007
ESRB rating:E for (Nintendo Wii)

This review of Carnival Games was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bymyinbox4u April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Great for young school age children

We got this game after reading a review saying it was a good family game especially for young school age kids. We enjoyed watching our son being able to do all the games. This is a good game that can be enjoyed by the family.
Teen, 17 years old Written bydjmxc April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Teen, 13 years old Written bymrbookworm01 September 4, 2011

Ok, but not for really young kids

I finally got a Nintendo Wii recently and this was the first game is played for it. It's ok, but some little kids might have trouble playing some of the games. Good for kids 7+ Violence: A couple of shooting games, but no blood or gore.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


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