My name is Andy Robertson and I write about video games for a living and have three children (10, 8 and 6 years old). Video-games are a tricky part of life to get right in a family, too much and they take over every waking hour, too little and they become consigned to kid’s bedrooms and dad’s bathroom breaks.
I’ve been working with families for the last few years to help them get more out of the games they play. Playing games together, usually downstairs in the shared family spaces, along with introducing a wider range of gaming experiences can transform their place in the home.
A popular game with both girls and boys is the new Zelda adventure on the Wii U. This not only offers a great chance to explore a new world but also puzzle solving that the whole family needs to get involved in.
Another recent popular gaming pursuit for my kids has been the Nintendo 3DS’s Street Pass feature. This sound complicated but is actually very simple – take your 3DS out with you and it will swap details with other 3DS owners you pass. When you get home you can see who you’ve met and then play games with them.
No personal details are exchanged so it is very safe. It also gives families another reason to get out and about. My kids love taking their 3DS shopping to the supermarket or town and whoop with joy if the little green Street Pass lights up when they get home. (Here is the Nintendo Parental Information, including how to block unwanted players).
Finally, we’ve enjoyed has been the Wonderbook Walking with Dinosaurs experience on PlayStation 3. This uses a big pop-up style book that comes to life on the screen with all sorts of Dinosaur adventures, quizzes and challenges. It’s a great game for the whole family to enjoy on the living room floor:
Also keep an eye on JumpMag as I’m sure I’ll have more family gaming exploits to share with you here.