Gaming 101 for Moms : What Games to Buy

This follows the first post i.e. Which Console To Buy For My Kids?

Games have evolved tremendously from our Brick Game days. Super Mario Bros. series, for instance, have more than 100 titles not including Mario’s guest appearances in other Nintendo titles as special characters. So if you go to a games shop and say I want a Super Mario Game, I guarantee you that the shop assistant will ask you: which one?

There are a few pointers when selecting game for kids:

 

ESRB Yellow Band

  1. ESRB Ratings. Perhaps one of the most important things to do is to look at the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings. It will tell you whether the games are suitable for children or otherwise:
    1. EC – Early Childhood 3+ and older
    2. E – Everyone
    3. E 10+ – Suitable for 10+ and older
    4. Teen – Suitable for 13+ and older
    5. M – for Mature, suitable for 17+ and older
    6. A – for Adults Only, contains prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity, strictly 18+
    7. RP – for Rating Pending, meaning it has been submitted to ESRB and awaiting final rating. This normally appears in advertisements prior to a game’s release
  2. Find out what your kids like to do. Games have a lot of different genres and functions; plus they could be purely for entertainment, or educational, or both. It’s best to buy games that would hold your kids interests (also a good reward strategy: if you get an A in Math exam I’ll buy you that new XYZ game etc). This same principle applies when you buy games for yourself. For example:
    1. Do they like sports (if yes, what kind of sports)?
    2. Do they like playing make-believe or playing hero?
    3. Do they like reading or solving puzzles? What kind of books they like? Fairy tales? Mystery?
    4. What kind of cartoons or TV programs they watch?
    5. Do they like music?
    6. Are they competitive? (some games allow multiple players and have in-built leaderboards to compare scores)
    7. Do they like keeping pets?
    8. What subjects they like in school?
  3. Read. Kids sometimes want games that other kids in school are playing. The easiest and fastest way to make up your mind would be to read the reviews yourself. These are sites that I frequent:
    1. http://www.ign.com
    2. http://www.gamefaqs.com
    3. http://www.gamespot.com
    4. http://www.bitmob.com
    5. http://www.egm.com
  4. Play it yourself. When you go to the games shop, ask the shop assistant to try out the game before you buy it. Give it 5-7 minutes. If you like it and become engaged, chances are your kids will be engaged too. You should look at the fun factor, difficulty level, and graphics, which takes me to my last point.
  5. Pretty graphics counts. Sometimes a game should be bought based on its awesome, cutesy graphics alone. LocoRoco, for instance, is a very addictive puzzle-solving game but I bought it because the graphics are so sweet it gives me a toothache. Don’t underestimate visual presentation. Of course pretty games can suck too but ugly games are almost always boring. Personally I feel that if games developer doesn’t put effort into graphics, I skip their games. Gamers pay a lot of attention to graphics and special effects coz video gaming is a visual as well as emotional experience.

Here are my picks based on the games that I have played. The list is not inclusive and may miss out many great games out there; it is certainly not a Top 5 list of greatest games of all times, if you know what I mean. Click on the pic to enlarge, or download the pdf version: IA GAMES PICK

Hope this helps. Any question, just hit my email or comments box below.

GAMES COVER ART GALLERY (click to enlarge)

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