To hear parents say it, the perfect video game is educational, provides little life lessons, strengthens hand-eye coordination, and keeps kids entertained for about 30 minutes at a time. However, when listening to children, it seems that educational qualities fall far short of the needs for speed, action, radical movements and big guns. It is hard to believe that there are games that meet the requirements that both parents and children expect.

Parents should always take the time to play with their children; the only problem with using this approach to choosing video games is the fact that the game is already in the house and the money spent. Open games can rarely be returned and once they are in the house and their hands warm, the kids won’t stop playing without much arguing, complaining, and upsetting. Therefore, it is imperative to make an informed decision before bringing the games home!

So how does a parent go about choosing a video game for children to play? Reading the back of the cover is unlikely to present much information, while the buzz on the internet can be so terribly full of insider jargon that it is difficult to discern whether the game is appropriate, too violent, or perhaps even contains content that is objectionable.

At the same time, just because a game is very popular and the evening news shows long lines of consumers waiting outside stores for it to go on sale, it does not mean that it offers the kind of game that parents want to invite. to the event. home. Fortunately, there are five simple steps to choosing video games that both parents and their children will love. These steps are not complicated, require a minimum of effort, and are quite reliable.

1. Check the ESRB rating

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) developed a rating system that classifies game content based on age. The grades are “EC”, “E”, “E 10+”, “T”, “M”, “AO” and “RP”.

Games designated with an “EC” are educational and fun for preschoolers and elementary school children. An “E” indicates that the games are appropriate for all players, and while preschoolers may have a longer learning curve to play the game correctly, there is no objectionable content. Be on the lookout for games rated “E 10+” as these games are reserved for children 10 years and older. Usually some soft language is incorporated into the game.

A game rated “T” is reserved for teenagers, and parents should know that violence, sexual innuendo, partial nudity, and also profanity are part of the course. Adult “M” indicates 17+ games and blood, guts, blood, and sex are legendary in these games. Up the ante are games marked “AO” or adults only, as they have “M” squared. A rating of “RP” simply means there is a rating pending, and parents should postpone purchasing the game until the rating is reported.

2. Read the ESRB content descriptors

Since preschool-age children and elementary school students cannot simply be pigeonholed into age groups, but must be differentiated much more by their maturity levels, parents should read the ESRB content descriptions on the back of the pages. video game packages. They list potentially objectionable content.

For example, “animated blood” refers to purple, green, or other unrealistic blood that can be displayed during gameplay, while a list of “blood” is an indicator that realistically rendered blood is part of the game. play. Children who are very sensitive to blood may not enjoy playing these games, even if they are classified for their age groups.

3. Understand Ratings When Shopping For Older Children

Parents who have grappled with the age-appropriate ratings and who have also managed to read the descriptions may now be stumped by an additional rating: the kind of play their kids can expect.

Older children may like “FPS” (First Person Shooter) games that put them into action from a first person perspective, rather than seeing the character they control performing the actions, as is the case with “TPS” (Third Person Shooter) games. Also, some games are classified according to the type of content the story provides, such as vehicle simulation games, strategy games, or sports and puzzle games.

Shooting games are the most violent, while strategy games are perhaps the most educational. Puzzle games require strategic thinking, but they don’t offer many action moves that appeal to teens.

4. Visit the gaming rig manufacturer’s website.

Parents can visit the website to get the device that will ultimately allow children to play video games. This can be the PlayStation website, GameCube, Nintendo, Xbox, and a number of sub-platforms. The companies list the video games created for them, their ratings, and in most cases they also post trailers, screenshots, and short descriptions of the game itself.

Although such a website does not offer an in-depth and unbiased analysis of the game, it is quite a useful tool to get a good idea of ​​the game and the content without having to rely solely on a rating, the back of a package or the efforts of marketing.

5. Check with organizations that offer independent gaming reviews

There are several organizations that are not tied to the video game industry and still offer advice to parents. Some groups focus on educational aspects, while others are faith-based and review games from this angle. Find a group that meets your personal criteria and read the reviews carefully about various games you are considering for your children.

One of the best known groups is the Entertainment Consumers Association which provides information about the industry and games. Parents who want more detailed information about the games they are considering would do well to visit the forums and websites of these groups and learn from other parents whose children may already be playing these games.

Since these are interactive forums, parents have the unique ability to ask questions of other parents, and if there is a particular concern about a game, this is the place to get more information.

If all else fails

Of course, if all else fails, there is the old alternative to classic games and characters. Crash Bandicoot, Mario, Spyro, and Pokémon are characters in the game that have been around for a while and in a large number of incarnations. Although the educational value of some of these games is debatable, they offer fast-paced fun, radical movements, and undoubtedly the entertainment value that children most appreciate. At the same time, they avoid the foul language, nudity, and explicit violence that parents oppose.

Parents short on time, or those who just can’t find a game that meets their standards, will generally find a winner in these genres. Also, since they are an integral part of a popular series, parents and children can make purchasing decisions together. For example, popular Mario games offer offshoots like “Luigi’s Mansion” which offers exploration of a haunted house, while other offshoots are car racing games.

A completely different game, but the same reassuring characters and the same level of competence, make this an excellent opportunity for parents and children to agree on the game they would like to try, while potentially staying away from games. objectionable that offer similar How to Play.