6 Tips to Find the Best Video Game Consoles and Games for Your Family

Consoles, portable gaming systems and video games are always hot gifts for the holiday season but how do you know which ones are right for your family and how do you know that the console you choose is best? Here are some tips on selecting the best video game system for your family and navigating through an endless array of game titles.

Read family friendly reviews. Search results pull up the most popular reviews but they’re often written by gaming or tech experts who do a great job of demystifying the technology inside but can’t always translate what this means for you and your family. To know the ins and outs of the PS4 and Xbox One that come out later this month, I really appreciated reading a comparison done by The Guardian because it written in a way that allow parents to understand how the most recent advances in technology impact the family gaming experience.

Talk to other families about what they have. What do other families that your kids play with have in their homes? It’s great to get the same system to be able to share games during play dates and even play online with friends when kids are old enough to do so.

Be educated about game ratings. Do you know what C, E, E+10, T, M, or A mean? They’re part of the Electronic Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) system to provide families with guidance about the video games and apps that may be most suitable for their family.Each of ESRB’s ratings include rating categories to suggest age appropriateness, content descriptors that flag any content that may be of interest or concern to parents, and interactive elements that might reveal a user’s location or if personal information might be shared with third parties via gaming. ESRB rating information can be found on packaged video games and apps, downloadable games, and even apps via the ESRB Rating Search App.

Preview games before you buy. It’s often hard to know what a game will really look like when it’s inside the box before it’s released. Searching YouTube for game previews and reviews by the media often provide a better sense of what you might be purchasing for $40-60. If the game has been out for awhile, ask around to see if another family has the game that you can try before you buy.

Read game reviews on Common Sense Media. Type in the title you’re looking for and chances are it’s been reviewed by Common Sense Media. This non-profit organization make it their business to provide parents with helpful guidance through easy to use reviews and ratings. Search according to game title, game type, and also the age of your child to find games that are just right for your family.

Don’t feel stuck with your purchase. Just because you bought a game or a console doesn’t mean you have to keep it if it isn’t the right fit. Retail stores like GameStop offer competitive trade in and cash back for your purchases while eBay can be a great place to get rid of a collection of games at once when they’re sold as a “lot.”


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