It is the time of year for the spending of money and the giving of gifts. You are a kind and benevolent parent and wish to bestow upon your offspring the blessing of a gaming system. But with the bountiful options on the market, how can you be sure you are choosing the right one for your brood? The parents of Love Thy Nerd have gathered their suggestions and wish you Godspeed and Many Bargains in your shopping quest.
My kids have a LeapPad Platinum and a LeapPad Ultra [discontinued] and we love them because they are educational, safe for young children, and very entertaining for the kids. We’ve decided against iPads for the kids because of concerns about Internet safety and lack of comprehensive parental controls, even in its most “locked down” mode. – Illia Danner Grubs, children ages 4 – 7
Don’t sleep on mobile games for connecting with kids, especially for younger kids who are still developing hand-eye coordination. Sometimes the games that seem very simplistic for us refined old gamers are perfect for sharing some great experiences with our kiddos. My kiddo loves simple physics-style games like Sand! Premium, I can teach her and keep her entertained in waiting rooms or at traffic lights. – Jake Corn, children ages 0 – 5
The Switch is my console of choice since it came out two years ago. The first party exclusives provide great experiences, but the support from many other publishers – both large and small – provides a bevy of options for both young and mature gamers. There are just so many choices that you can’t go wrong getting a Switch for your family. – Ryan Eighmey, child age 7
Nintendo Switch is my pick for current-gen consoles. Tons of multiplayer family-friendly games, and the added bonus of being mobile, so great for road trips. – Casey Flynt, children ages 0 – 3
All of my kids can game on their own level: my oldest plays Fortnite, my middle Mario Odyssey, my youngest Kirby, and we all play Smash together. I even bought a second Switch recently so we can battle each other in Pokemon Sword and Shield. The mobility and ease of use are perfect and better than any other platform for multi-age usage. – Hector Miray, children ages 6 – 11
My kids love the Switch. It’s fragile though so I don’t love that. – Timothy Cleary, children ages 1 – 7
The Nintendo Switch is our console of choice. The controller is a little easier for my boys (7 & 5) to handle. Plus there are so many games they connect with (Zelda, Mario, Kirby, etc). Further, if my daughter wants to play (3). She can use a joy-con on its side well enough. – Zach Carpenter, children ages 3 – 7
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) Classic
There are easier games for the little ones like Kirby Super Star, and games like Super Metroid and Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past as they get older and just overall better at video games. If we get any more video games this year, I’ve got my eye on the newly released Sega Genesis Mini. – Randy Romig, children ages 0 – 8
My son and I really bond over the SNES classic. He gets so excited to play Link to the Past, Secret of Mana, Super Metroid, and Super Mario World. I get to relive my childhood while introducing gaming to the next generation. – Lasse Lund, children ages 7 – 8
I have tried to convince my kids to swap our Xbox for a Switch, but they want to stick with the Xbox. I’ve slowly over the years been able to find appropriate, family-friendly games for them—and they love being able to pop over to Netflix and binge-watch Oscar’s Oasis. The Xbox One has a better Blu-ray player than the PS4, and you can Skype with family using the Kinect, and you can use voice commands to pause shows and turn on the Xbox, etc.—though now the Kinect is pretty much obsolete and it never really worked that well. – Justin Gabriel
We alternate between the Switch and my PC tower which is hooked up to our 4k TV. Oh, and occasionally the Vive. The Switch is nice and has Super Smash, but generally, PC games are cheaper. Oh, and in our house, Minecraft lives on the PC. – Kevin Schut, children ages 10 – 16
We have a gaming PC for my husband, two PlayStation 4s because of online gaming and having too many kids, we also have a PlayStation 3 that nobody but me plays and a Nintendo Switch. If it’s anything Lego, Mario, Zelda, etc.—as long it is it an adventure game with lots of quests and side puzzles, I’m all for it. My husband and kids, on the other hand, only play online multiplayer games. I think it’s mostly due to the genres they’ve grown up with. I’m trying to get my nine-year-old to play anything adventure related and he just wants to talk smack online with his friends while playing Minecraft, Fortnite, or Rocket League. – Sarah Smith, children ages 7 – 20
I’ve got a PlayStation 4 which is nice as a media center, but I would love to add a Switch because I feel it has more options for getting my kids into games (when they are a little older and ready to start playing). – Andrew Wall, children ages 0 – 2
We have several game systems in our house, but the two most frequently used are the Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. We appreciate being able to do so many things with the Xbox. We use it for gaming, streaming, audio apps, and the ability to play a disc for a school assignment. The Xbox is the most frequently used console in our homeschool family. The Switch is the console of preference for our children. The ability to either use it as a personal handheld device for some quiet solo gaming or to be able to use it in a large space on the big screen to playgroup games makes it a favorite in our house. It is also really nice to be able to take it on the go to a situation where you know there is going to be some quiet waiting required. – Anna Stallcup, children ages 4 – 7
We enjoy several different game systems from old school consoles to modern, but the clear winners for us are the PS4 and the Switch. We love the PS4 for some of the games it offers, and the way my kids can play Minecraft and Battlefront online with their friends, but it certainly gets a lot of use for its blue ray and streaming capabilities, too. The Switch, however, is the system my kids most often beg to be the first to play. They love it so much they’re saving up to buy a second one! We love the versatility and portability, and many of our favorite games are on this console. – Erin Warmbier, children ages 2 – 11
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