By Paul Gorski
I used to be a video gamer years ago, grew weary of it and never looked back. My teen-age son, who wishes to remain nameless, does follow the current gaming news. Even though I’m not a gamer, I had heard about the latest and greatest video game consoles: the Sony PS4 and Microsoft’s XBox One, and wondered why one of these devices hadn’t made it to his Christmas list.
One, he told me, they are not readily available. Many stores are out of them because they are so popular. Two, they cost quite a bit. And three, there are not many games available for them. He’s so practical.
I mentioned the relatively new Nintendo Wii U and had heard they had dropped the price on those, and they were readily available. His answer, “There’s a reason for that, no one wants a Wii U.”
I decided to challenge my son’s statement and started doing some research. It does seem that “high-end” and/or older gamers (older than 10 to 11 years of age) may not be interested in the Wii U, and sales have been so poor that Nintendo did indeed drop the price to $299. The Wii U commercials seem to feature younger children, too.
However, there are some online columnists and Nintendo fans out there who steadfastly support the Wii U as a great, all-age, family console, pointing out that the Wii U now ships with two popular games: New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Luigi. Even I recognize those names from my old gaming days.
So, what is a parent to do? My son recommends that unless your child has specifically asked for a Wii U or other console, get them another gift. Don’t guess, as it may be a pricey mistake. Wait until next year to see how popular the consoles are and which new games are released. Then, make a new video game console a birthday present. Sounds like good advice to me. (And I do think he directed it at me.)
If you do get a gaming console for your child, sit down and play some games together. Recent studies indicate playing video games with your children can have a positive impact on family relationships. See: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2013/12/04/research-says-parents-and-kids-should-play-video-games-together/.
Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple Iie.
From the Dec. 11-17, 2013, issue