Remember the halcyon days of rushing downstairs on Christmas morning to unwrap your PlayStation 1?
No? How about your Nintendo GameCube?
No?! Crikey… Sega MegaDrive?
I won’t go as far back as Pong. I refuse.
Look, the point is – getting a great new games console for Christmas has become something of a rite of passage for many young Brits. Now that you’ve graduated to parent (congrats, by the way), it’s likely that you’ll soon be passing the torch to your progeny.
A lot has changed in gaming and if you’re feeling daunted by the prospect of Battle Royales and loot boxes; press pause, grab a mince pie, and take a few minutes to read our guide to gaming at Christmas.
2019’s biggest games, or 'what you’ve probably got under your tree'
It can feel like there are more games published than there are people to play them, but the cream rises to the top and there are some best-sellers that you are sure to encounter either this Christmas or in the future.
We’re referencing Common Sense Media’s practical and balanced (if slightly conservative) game reviews in this quick rundown of popular titles for 2019. We recommend doing some broader research, though, including finding videos of gameplay and asking any other parents whose children play these games.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Borderlands 3, and Gears 5 are set to be some of the biggest releases of the Christmas 2019 period, but there are some stalwarts of recent years that will be drawing plenty of attention, too. Titles including Minecraft, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V, FIFA 20, Red Dead Redemption II, Overwatch, Rocket League, Roblox, and League of Legends all remain as popular as ever.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
One Christmas in my youth, I got a new console. I think it might have been a Nintendo GameCube. I was excited to the point of illness.
I unpacked it, got it all out and ready to go and saw that I was missing a SCART lead.
First world problems, I know, but that was a pretty devastating moment.
Getting everything out of the box, installed, set up, and fully operational might take a little time and feel a little like you’re taking the thrill away from your budding gamer, but getting everything sorted – parental controls and all – will save everyone the stress of trying to do it all on the day.
If you’re a more visual learner or fancy a slightly more in-depth take on things, FamilyGamerTV (a great YouTube creator) has also produced a helpful video for setting up your PlayStation 4 for Christmas.
Pick up a controller and play!
Aside from ensuring you’re achieving value for money, using the new console in your house is a brilliant way of taking the fear out of gaming and bonding with your children.
Sitting with your kids and seeing why they love the games they play will make it easier to talk about the positives (and the pitfalls) of their favourite pastime.
Once you’ve sat through a marathon session on Fortnite, you’ll see how the game encourages strategic thinking and collaboration.
A couple of hours on Call of Duty and you’ll appreciate the publisher’s attempts at representing the costs of war fairly and honestly.
And who knows, after a couple of wins on FIFA, you might even have fun!