Whether buying a video game console for yourself, a friend, or your children, there are a lot of important factors that go into making that decision. Every gaming console has different strengths and weaknesses that can greatly impact your experience.
It is crucial that you get a video game console that suits you and your family. Purchasing the wrong gaming console will make finding and playing the video games your family loves frustrating. And, it will turn that fun family time you envision into a bad experience for everyone in the family. Here are the must-know tips for finding the perfect video game console for your family!
How to Buy a Video Game Console (Parents’ Guide for Non-Gamers)
Start with the Controller
Being the primary peripheral you will interact with the most, the console’s controller is absolutely crucial for the success of the console as a whole. It is important to get a feel for the controller before making a decision, as an uncomfortable controller can ruin your gaming experience, and even pose health risks.
Additionally, you need to ensure that any children playing the console will be able to handle the controller. There are plenty of ways to test a controller before making the decision:
1. Ask a Friend
If someone you know has the gaming console, ask if you may be able to see the controller, or even play a few games with them. This is the best way, as you will be able to fully experience the controller’s capabilities.
2. Make Use of In-Store Demos
Many big box and gaming retail shops have displays set up to play different video game consoles. You may be able to play a couple of games with the gaming console you are considering at one of these demos. Additionally, you may just be able to see the controller for yourself or check the hardware capabilities of the console.
3. Ask an Employee to See a Controller
Many gaming shops will have second hand controllers for sale, and you may be able to handle one with employee permission.
It should be noted that you can often get more comfortable controllers for certain consoles if they present an issue. However, custom controllers are costly compared to the price of standard retail controllers.
Check Out the Available Games
This tip is especially useful when buying games for your children or family. You will want to do a quick online search to see what games are available for the console that suit your family’s needs.
Understanding the rating systems for video games is helpful. This will help as you begin to look at what games you’ll want to purchase for your child. And, it will help you determine which video game console will give your child the most gaming options.
For example, if your children are young and only play games in the C/E/E10+ range, you will more than likely want to consider a Nintendo Console such as the Switch. However, if your children are older and can play T or M games, you will more likely want to go with an XBOX or PlayStation Console.
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Video Game Console Exclusives
You will also want to make sure the gaming console you choose has games your family enjoys. For example, if your family is into Mario Kart, Legend of Zelda, or Metroid, you’re going to want a Nintendo console.
However, if your kids are into Halo and Gears of War, you’ll be looking at an XBOX for your family. Do a quick online search and see what your family is interested in playing and take that into heavy consideration.
It is often said in the gaming community that gameplay comes before graphics, which is true. However, some gamers prefer the beautiful look of modern graphics. If graphics are important to you or your family, you will want to look at a newer gaming console.
Be advised that there are also graphically enhanced models of current consoles, such as the XBOX ONE X, which is technologically superior to the plain XBOX ONE. This has become more and more prevalent with modern consoles.
However, if gameplay or price is more important to you than graphics and hardware, you should be fine with an older video game console. This brings us to our next step: determining a console era.
What Era of Video Game Console?
There are several generations of gaming consoles, all dating back to the legendary classics such as the Intellivision, Atari, and Odyssey. Many parents know the true king of retro gaming: the NES. This brings up the question for aspiring video game console buyers: What era console should I get?
For parents, do you want to introduce your kids to the games you played, or is it a matter of price? The price of retro gaming consoles is steadily increasing, but there are third party options. You can buy many retro console repos and emulators and some that can play all sorts of cartridges.
Additionally, there are many video game consoles that offer classic games digitally. The Nintendo Switch, for example, offers a slew of NES games through its online service. Additionally, game companies have been releasing compilation discs of their classic games, such as Rare Replay and Sega Genesis Collection.
For those interested, many modern consoles offer more ways to play. After the advent of the Wii, many gaming consoles began offering motion oriented ways to game. Additionally, certain developers have offered their own exclusive controllers for different ways to game, most notably with the Guitar Hero and Rock Hero series.
Additionally, video gaming consoles such as the PlayStation 4 offer compatibility with virtual reality, so be sure to factor that in if your family is interested in VR.
There are many types of console peripherals. Do some research to learn what accessaries are available and what your family would enjoy using for the games you’ll be playing.
Also, consider the other uses for gaming consoles, such as streaming television and movies, exercise, and music. Consoles have evolved past pure gaming, and are now the center for entertainment in many families’ homes.
Buying a gaming console can be a big decision, but is well worth the research and thought that goes into it. Gaming can be a great pastime for kids and families when handled properly, and getting the right console for your family can really enhance the fun.
Consider the many factors presented on this list before buying a video game console, and you too will be able to have the best possible gaming experience with your family.
Does your family have a favorite video game console? What features were important to you as you began shopping for a gaming system? Share with us in the comments below.
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