Buying games for kids isn’t easy, especially with all the talk about the detriments of violence in video games. And if you’re not much of a gamer yourself the task can be even harder. But with a few general guidelines to go by you can find the games that are not only going to provide suitable entertainment for your children, but that they’ll actually be pleased to get. Here are some things to consider before you purchase video games for your kids.
- Ratings. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (or ESRB) is an organization tasked with assessing and rating video games so that parents are aware when games feature undesirable content like violence, cursing, nudity, and so on – things that parents would rather steer clear of when they buy games for their kids in some cases. With ratings like “E” for everyone, “T” for teen, and “M” for mature (as well as the rarely seen “AO”, or adult only), you should be able to determine whether the content in a game is suitable for the children in your home, whatever their ages.
- Age. Ratings will tell you which age groups content is generally considered appropriate for, but they don’t necessarily tell you how difficult the games are to play. For example, sports games from franchises like FIFA and Madden are generally rated “E” for everyone, but the complexity of the games, including set up, button sequences, and play modes, may be too difficult for young kids to manage. If you’re not sure whether a game is suitable for the age of your child, despite the rating on the box, simply read reviews online or ask at your local retailer, where game-savvy service representatives should be able to help you out.
- Reviews. If you happen to know that your kids like certain genres of games, such as racing games or first-person shooters (FPS), for example, it will help you to find appropriate options when you’re searching for something new. But it’s important that you take the time to read reviews before you make a purchase. You’ll find that there are plenty of titles associated with nearly every genre. In terms of racing, you might find yourself trying to choose between franchises like Need for Speed, Forza, and Mario Kart, just for starters. And if you don’t know that Need for Speed is an all-around great game, Forza is for those who seek realism, and Mario Kart is aimed at a younger audience, you might not know which game to pick up. Reviews can make your choice easier.
- Release dates. If you buy a game that came out six months ago, chances are your kid already has it or has played it with friends. Getting ahead of the curve can be hard, especially if you’re looking for a gift, but you might want to try pre-orders or simply buy games when they come out rather than waiting for a specific occasion.
- Personal preferences. Some kids like fun and easy action franchises like the LEGO series of games while others spend every dime of their allowance on FIFA ultimate team coins to build their soccer dream team. And although buying video games for kids can be rather hit or miss, when you know what their preferences are in terms of genre and you know what consoles they have, you can find them options that are sure to please.