It’s time for another GameHub Concierge question. Today’s question comes a mother who admits to being “completely clueless and mostly disinterested in computer games thingies.” Well, that’s what we are here to help with!
She is looking to make a double purchase of two handheld consoles, one for each of her 6-year-old twins. She is considering a number of options, including the Playstation Vita, an Ipod Touch, a pair of second-hand Gameboys, or a member of Nintendo’s DS family. But what to chose?
So lets see what we can do:
For 6-year-olds, I would recommend a Nintendo DS. They are ideal for this age range: bright, colourful hardware and games, very easy to use, and quite sturdy little units (it can be dropped off the end of the kitchen table with no ill effects!) The DS will grow with them as they age – it’s not likely to be one of those things that they decide is “babyish” and refuse to touch after the age of 7- and could be a device that is also owned by their friends, allowing them to play together and be social. The Nintendo company ethos is centred around playing together so there is a wide range of games that would suit your twins.
I would not recommend a Playstation Vita for younger children. An older child would get much more out the features – the improved graphics, big glass screen and 3 different input methods but I think it might be overwhelming for a six-year-old. More importantly, the device will be far too big for a young child to hold comfortably, as the Vita is long and thin with the touch panel in the centre, beyond the range of tiny fingers.
An Ipod touch would be a possibility, because you are familiar with the hardware (from owning an Ipad). The games are significantly cheaper but, you will soon get sucked into having to upgrade frequently when your children get succumb to next-Apple-product-itis! You will need to go through the rigmarole of keeping it up to date and locking down the controls to prevent in-app purchases bankrupting your credit card, and sourcing it a proper, sturdy case to protect the screen from scratches is a must. Unlike the Nintendo DS, an iDevice cannot be thrown across the room in an accident or a tantrum and come out unscathed. They are expensive and delicate machines and must be looked after properly.
A Gameboy is a vintage option! Older equipment is cheaper, but you will have all the associated problems of trying to find games for it: Ebay & Charity shops are your friend. My primary worry that after all that work sourcing games, peer pressure and curiosity will mean they will start wanting a more modern handheld like their friends have.
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