So, what gaming system should you buy for your family?
There a few different choices of video game consoles available for families and children to play. A WiiU, Playstation or Xbox One might be at the top of your child's holiday wish list. The systems alone are often around $400 by the time you buy the console, additional controllers and a few $40 games. There are some important factors to help you decide what is best for your family's enjoyment.
If you buy a Nintendo WiiU, the video game system includes a WiiU console and a WiiU GamePad. Games can be purchased separately and inserted into the console. Games and system updates can easily and immediately downloaded through an internet connection directly onto the console.
The WiiU Gamepad controller is large and has a 6.2 inch LCD touch screen. Players are able to view the game on the television screen or on the Gamepad. So if your child wants to play WiiU and you want to watch TV, the Gamepad acts as a portable gaming system. As long as they are nearby, they can play their game on the controller while you watch television. If you allow your children to play online, gamers can play with their friends and families, and other players from all over the world.
When we received the WiiU, our 5-year-old son had some brief exposure to an Xbox 360 with Kinect. He had learned how to maneuver his body with a few Kinect games, and played a few rounds of Disney Infinity and Skylanders with limited success.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding if a WiiU gaming system is the right choice for your young family.
For Young Kids, Look For Games with "E" Ratings
Be mindful of the games you provide young children. Look for ESRB ratings that state "Early Childhood" or "Everyone."
Mario Kart 8 is a basic car racing game with a little bit of Comic Mischief, which was the perfect choice for our just 5-year-old, and an easy entry game into WiiU.
In Mario Kart 8, players can choose their own character and vehicle, they then race against other players, trying to be the first to cross the finish line. The speed of the play is changeable, so younger children can play at slower speeds to learn the game and how to control their characters with the remotes. The more time children play, they can unlock more racetracks, characters and customization options.
Great for Families With Kids of All Ages
Certain games make for great family fun. We have enjoyed spending time together as a family laughing, giggling and figuring out the roadblocks together, because we can all join in games at the same time.
WiiU Provides Family Flexibility
Using the WiiU Gamepad, there is gaming flexibility. Children can play games on the GamePad while parents or other siblings watch television at the same time.
The WiiU GamePad Controller is Also a TV Remote
Can't seem to find the remote control to the television? The Gamepad controller doubles as a television remote control.
Given the size of the Gamepad it doesn't get lost between the couch cushions and it is very easy to use with the touchscreen controls.
Are You Also Looking for a Tablet?
The WiiU GamePad has features similar to a tablet. Given that the controller is able to connect to the internet, users can gain access to popular apps such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu Plus allowing them to be able to watch movies and videos right on the GamePad controller.
The GamePad also includes access to YouTube and any webpage on the internet. My son often uses the GamePad controller to watch his favorite television shows on Netflix. I have been know to quickly updated my Facebook status.
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the parental controls to limit young children from accessing inappropriate internet content.
There are Parental Controls
Make sure to check out the parental controls. There are a lot of ways to require a passcode before children can play so it is possible to set limits.
Want to Video Chat?
The WiiU can also be used to video chat, which is fun to connect with other friends and family members who are not nearby.
Miss A Parent or Loved One Who Doesn't Live Nearby?
We had a time in our family when my husband's work required him to live apart from us for 4 months. The WiiU was a very helpful way for them to cope with the distance, they still had a way to play together, even though they were separated from 2000 miles.
My Kids Are Asking for Disney Infinity, Skylanders and Amiibo toys. Are They Compatible with WiiU?
Disney Infinity, and Skylanders games use collectible toy figures, that when placed on a portal, can be used during game play. These toys are compatible with WiiU, as long as you have the WiiU starter kit which has the right WiiU game disc.
Nintendo amiibo toys are also collectible toys and include popular characters such as Mario, Luigi, Peach, Kirby, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi. When placed on the Nintendo WiiU Gamepad, depending upon the game the child is playing, each figure might provide more accessories or features that are helpful during game play. For kids who enjoy playing Super Smash Bros., Amiibo figures are able to store information and provide advantages that kids can utilize at home or when playing with friends.
Irregardless of the Console, You Will Have to Learn to Set Limits
There are many games that are not appropriate for young children. Video games are so motivating for many children, they refuse to turn it off without a tantrum. You will need to set limits and boundaries for the safety of not only your children, but for their visiting friends and family members as well. Here are some great tips for limiting electronics and screen time for kids.
At night when the kids are asleep, familiarize yourself with the parental controls on the controller, using your own private passcode, it is easy to block and limit children from the internet and chat features.
Ready to buy a WiiU? WiiU games, amiibo toys and accessories are available on Amazon.com. Not ready for a large gaming system, the Nintendo 3DS XL is a smaller, portable gaming system that easily fits in a pocket or backpack.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.