It's not often you get a chance to really study how families play games. This week I got to do just that with the help of Sony. We took a PlayStation 4 and some top picks for family games into a real family with four boys.

From the games we tried a bunch came out on top, but as much as the specifics of what worked and what didn't, what I took away from this is that the PS4 really plugs a gap this year in the absence of new Nintendo games.

PlayStation Family Gaming Holiday 2016 2

The first game we tried was Tricky Towers. This is a little like Tetris but with some great new modes that leverage the game's real world physics. This means that it took more skill to win the races and balance the bricks just right to win.

In a family, this opens the game up for those with less experience. As you can see in the embedded video, not only the boys but our test Mum and Dad were also keen to get in on the brick stacking action.

PlayStation Family Gaming Holiday 2016 1

LittleBigPlanet 3 was another hit as you might expect. However, less obvious is how the family enjoyed the game. As much as progressing through the levels or trying out online creations, they actually had a lot of fun just mucking about with each other and customising their characters and world with stickers.

The boys also took great pride in ensuring their Mum didn't get left behind. In turn, she also warmed to the game and was soon leading the way in solving puzzles and completing the different challenges.

PlayStation Family Gaming Holiday 2016 3

Ratchet & Clank changed things up for our test family as they took turns to play this more exuberant action platform game. Although at first they weren't sure if they all wanted to stay and watch, within minutes they were all sat together offering advice and elbows in the ribs to whoever was playing – particularly when Dad took the controls.

Finally, once the kids were off doing homework we set Mum and Dad up with Tearaway Unfolded. Playing games together wasn't something they often did, but soon got the hang of Tearaway and enjoyed the unusual interactions.

PlayStation Family Gaming Holiday 2016 4

It was the paper craft world of Tearaway Unfolded that really appealed here as they made their way through the different levels, sat on the sofa together pointing and helping each other through.

By the end of the day we had had a lot of fun. There were a bunch of games the family wanted to play more of. But more than that we'd had a rare insight into the realities of family gaming. While this is sometimes seen as territory of Nintendo, the PlayStation experience here excelled.

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Andy Robertson runs the excellent Family Gamer TV channel, so make sure you subscribe through here. Which games will you be playing with your family this holiday? Gather around the television in the comments section below.