Best family gaming console for citywide lockdown?
March 16, 2020 7:40 PM   Subscribe

As Portland goes into hibernation, I'm thinking about getting a new gaming console to help keep my girls (7 & 11) and I occupied--but which one?

It looks like we're going to be spending a loooot of time together indoors over the next month. We need something besides Netflix and Legos to help keep everyone sane.

We've been playing with an old Wii on and off for a while now, but they've lost interest. Everybody says the Switch is amazing, but damn, those are expensive. I've been out of the gaming loop for so long--what's a good mid-range alternative with games we can all enjoy, together or apart? PS3? Xbox? What's even out there now?

They like the move-your-body games (Dance Dance Revolution, etc), Mario Kart, Wii Sports. But I'm sure they'd be open to other kinds. I like to throw on a good FPS or Bioshock/Half-Life type myself now and again.

What should I be looking at? The cheaper the better, used is fine.
posted by gottabefunky to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a PC gamer, but for your use, Nintendo Switch, hands down.

Best games for kids and some of the best games period. Lots of indie content which was missing from previous Nintendo consoles. Big back catalog to some of the best ever games, some (but not all) big multiplatform titles and the best exclusives for kids, many of which are great for adults too.
posted by jclarkin at 8:22 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Nintendo Switch, yeah they can be expensive but there are versions that don't connect to the tv that are cheaper, though have less flexibility. As jclarkin said, huge range of games at all price points. Also a lot of flexibility of use, they don't have to take over the tv to play it & if you're feeling energetic Ring Fit if you can get it, though not super cheap. For killing time over the hibernation break they even have Nintendo Labo, lots of creative fun. If that's out of your budget then look for a second hand or refurbed PS4.

If you have one near you maybe call up an independent shop that sells second hand games & consoles, they're out there depending on the size of your town there may be one near you. You might be able to pick up an older generation console & some games cheap enough & they'd know their stock well enough to suggest a good console game combo.
posted by wwax at 8:53 PM on March 16, 2020

We're enjoying the Apple arcade games on our Apple TV.
posted by slightlybewildered at 9:09 PM on March 16, 2020

Your children are the perfect age to enjoy Labo on the Nintendo Switch. Get the "Variety Kit" which is frequently heavily discounted. Just Dance is also available discounted if you avoid the most recent release. Ring Fit is a lot of fun, my 8 year old girl plays it a lot.

In my estimation the Switch has the perfect range of games for a young family. You miss out on the very high budget shooter type games that are the cornerstone of the Playstation and Xbox, but in our house that is an absolute non-drawback. There are also quite a lot of decent "mini-games" priced at a couple of dollars. These are more-or-less equivalent to mobile phone games but without adverts or micro-transactions, and hence ideal as a reward treat for a child. But there is a lot of terrible stuff in there too (like, shockingly bad) so do check reviews online.

Minecraft is fine on the switch if that is required, it comes and goes but is often a requirement for Child gaming depending on peers.

Most of the Nintendo titles are superb. Mario Kart and Mario Oddessy are considered best-in-genre and are nothing short of excellent.

The FPS stuff is available, but many "last gen" titles are ported albeit with cut-down visuals. So you might not be satisfied with that, but I am willing to bet the kids will be happy.
posted by samworm at 2:36 AM on March 17, 2020

Also - Stardew Valley and the releasing-this-week Animal Crossing are practically designed for people in self-isolation. 100% look at those.
posted by samworm at 2:49 AM on March 17, 2020

My girls - 8, 9, and 13 - just finished playing "The Stretchers" on the Switch with me and loved it.

But... All told, they play the Playstation 4 much more. They like Ultimate Chicken Horse, Gang Beasts, and most of all, Minecraft. Minecraft just got "mods" on the PS4, which lets you download new worlds that other people have made. My girls were SO excited.
posted by tacodave at 6:13 PM on March 17, 2020

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