In this modern age, parents will likely be given a list of games their kids want for the holidays that might as well be in a different language. As a parent, you might be wondering – what are these games exactly? This story originally appeared on Patch. Is there a lot of gore, cursing, or suggestive content in them? How do we tell? Should we also question how early we want to expose our kids to these things? Luckily, I’m pretty keyed in on this great bastion of entertainment – or time-wasting, depending however your opinion falls – called video gaming. Below you’ll find at least one game they’ll be asking for this year and what you need to know as a parent to not feel stupid when buying it.
5. World of Warcraft – Mists of Pandaria
Chances are you know of this game in some capacity. Most likely through South Park or any TV news program reporting on the downsides of video gaming. For those that don’t know the game – also called “WOW” – it’s more or less a fantasy-based computer game where you shoot spells at gigantic dragons with friends or random strangers. Think Lord of the Rings, if it were a video game, yet set in its own vast universe. See that mountain off in the distance over there? You can fly to it and experience a whole different environment. Keep in mind that when it comes to this game, supervision is highly recommended. While a lot of fun and one of the best games in its class, it’s meant for a demographic of people who are OK with committing quite a bit of time to game play – though it has been toned down since the beginning. Available only for the PC.
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Essentially a game set in the middle of war where you’re a hero/leader ridding the world of that great evil. Your kids will go bonkers for this game and, like Halo, its online multiplayer is a huge selling point. You literally only need to watch the video to get an idea of what you’re buying. Available on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo Wii: U
3. Borderlands 2
This is part of the new breed of games where you tend to get a lot of game play out of the game by running through it a couple of times. It’s extremely gun heavy so if you have any aversion to that you might want to hold off. The box cover art is enough to scare you away should you fall into that camp. The combat and cut-scenes can be very gory as well. So why all the fuss for the game? Its draw is the distinctive graphical style and game play. You essentially run around talking to people to get more and more guns in an enormously fun way. Fun for adults who don’t take life seriously, but something to be mindful of for the kids.
Borderlands 2 is available on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
2. Halo 4
The next release in the long-established franchise of Halo, Halo 4 is a first person shooter. That means the view of the screen is (generally) only of the game and a gun while you shoot at various alien and zombie types. They explode and die but not in the way that body parts are flung all over. It’s very story-driven in which you take up the role of essentially a super solider. Halo is also known for its online multi-player mode, which can also be called the shouting box for kids to yell at each other – so be prepared for that. Personally I’m not a fan of that aspect, but it is a selling point. Halo is only available for the Xbox 360.
1. New Super Mario Brothers: U
Super Mario games on the whole tend to be family-friendly in every way. To put it simply: unless you have issues with jumping on top of people’s heads, you probably won’t find much to dislike. The only kicker about this game is that it requires the Wii: U, the new game system from Nintendo. I suppose the first thing you need to ask yourself is do you want to spend $299.99 to buy another game system and take up yet more space in your living room? With it being graphically the best Mario to date, “New Super Mario Brothers U” will probably be a game you’ll want to check out as well. Plus, of all the games mentioned here, this one is probably the most family-friendly option.
Here are a few other games that might make your kids’ lists:
Assassin’s Creed – A game where you stalk people for various reasons and outcomes.
Madden NFL 13 – A football game released every single year. The knock on this is that in a year’s time the game can be bought for $1.99.
Resident Evil 6 – You kill lots of zombies in situations meant to spook you in dark landscapes. Not as scary or bad as years past, but not for the faint of heart.
Far Cry 3 – A game where you run around killing things from evil warlords. Simple as that.