Today is Cyber Monday, and there’s only 28 days left until Christmas! Time to get cracking on holiday shopping. While the older crowd is playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Halo 4 and Assassin’s Creed III, you need some ideas for games for kids 10 and under.
The hottest video game item right now is the new Nintendo Wii U, just released on 11/18. The Wii U Basic/White has a retail price of $299.99, while the Wii U Deluxe/Black’s retail price is $349.99. I’m looking to buy one for our family for Christmas, but they are sold out everywhere – online and in stores. Checked eBay this morning, and the average selling price of a new Wii U deluxe is $900! One actually sold on 11/22 for $12,700! Insanity. Again. The same thing as when the original Wii was released – everyone snapped them up to sell on eBay, and none were available to buy and wrap up for Christmas. I’ve got the phone numbers of 5 local stores on hand, and am hoping to get lucky and find one at retail price before 12/24. *crosses fingers* (For week of 11/8, Nintendo sold 400,000+ Wii U’s, 300,00 Wii’s, 275,000 DS’s, and 275,000 3DS’s.)
Here are my latest lists on the top selling and top rated video games that are appropriate for kids – all with an ESRB rating of E or E 10+. Everything is sorted by console, to make it easier for you.
Ratings are in parenthesis after the game title – for example Super Mario Galaxy 2 (10) – was rated 10.
What console should I buy?
Looking at buying your kids a gaming console? Bundled consoles are selling well this year – “bundled” means you get the console AND a game – which is convenient, as you unbox and you’re ready to play. When buying a console, you need to think about the age of the players, as some have more titles for younger players while others have more mature titles for older players.
Wii or Wii U (Nintendo) for younger kids – the most kid-friendly games available on a console. Tons of top selling Mario games, along with Legend of Zelda, Just Dance, Skylanders, and fitness titles. The Wii U will be hard to find though, this Christmas. MSRP for the original Wii is $130. Walmart has a Wii bundled with Wii Sports + Wii Sports Resort for $129.99; I saw one for $157 at Amazon.
Playstation3 (Sony) for older players – lots of M (mature) and T (teen) rated games, some E rated games. Top selling titles are sports, such as football, soccer, and racing games.
Top selling consoles (includes E rated bundles only):
Nintendo Wii U Console – 32GB Black Deluxe, bundled with Nintendo Land ($349)
Xbox 360 4GB with Kinect Holiday Value Bundle (Amazon $249)
Xbox 360 4GB Console ($199)
Xbox 360 250GV with Kinect Holiday Value Bundle ($349)
Xbox 360 250GB Holiday Value Bundle
Nintendo Wii U 8GB White Basic
Xbox 360 250GB Holiday Value Bundle (Amazon $269)
Xbox 360 250GB Racing Bundle
PS3 160GB System
Wii with Wii Sports Resort Black ($165 on Amazon)
We already have a Nintendo Wii (or you were lucky enough to score a Wii U) – what games should I buy?
Top selling Wii U games:
- New Super Mario Bros U (8.5)
- Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed Bonus Edition
- Scribblenauts Unlimited
- Nintendo Land (8.0)
- Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Top selling Wii games:
- Just Dance 4 (7.5)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (8.0)
- Just Dance: Disney Party
- LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (6.5)
- LEGO Lord of the Rings (8.5)
- Mario Kart Wii (8.5)
- Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
- New Super Mario Bros Wii (8.5)
- Skylanders Giants Starter Kit
- Just Dance 3 (8.0)
- Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Starter Pack (7.5)
- Super Smash Bros Brawl (9.5)
- WipeOut: The Game
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (7.5)
- Mario Party 9 (6.0)
- Super Mario Galaxy (9.5)
- Just Dance (5.5)
- Donkey Kong Country Returns (8.5)
- Wii Sports Resort (8.0)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (8.0)
- Kirby’s Dream Collection: Special Edition
- Kirby’s Epic Yarn (8.5)
- Zumba Fitness Core
- Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board (7.5)
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 (10)
- Wreck-It Ralph
- Wii Party (8.0)
- Zumba Fitness
For more information on Wii U:
Other games to consider: Wii U Lego City: Undercover, Wii Sports, Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (7.5), SiNG Party (7.0).
Hardware/accessories to consider: Wii MotionPlus (needed to play on new Wii U), Wii Remote controller, Wii U Precision Screen Filter.
Skylanders characters are also selling well. Top selling are:
- Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure ($8) – Stealth Elf, Cynder , Dino-Rang, Sonic Boom, Double Trouble, Whirlwind, Triple Pack (Eruptor, Chop Chop, Bash).
- Skylanders Giants ($15) – Hot Head, Crusher, Portal Owner Pack, Swarm, Battle Pack #1, Bouncer, Fright Rider, Pop Fizz, Triple Pack #2.
We already have an xBox 360 – what games should I buy?
Top selling Xbox games:
- Madden NFL 13 (careful – has low ratings)
- NCAA Football 13
- NBA 2K13 (9.0)
- FIFA Soccer 13 (8.0)
- Kinect Sports
- LEGO Lord of the Rings (8.5)
- Kinect Just Dance 4 (7.5)
- Kinect Disneyland Adventures
- Kinect Wipeout In the Zone
- NHL 13
- Kinect Star Wars
- Lego Batman
- Madden NFL 12
- Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure
- Kinect Sports Season 2
- Kinect Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012
- Kinect Zumba Fitness
Other games to consider: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (8.5), F1 2012 (8.5), Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 (8.0), Joe Danger 2: The Movie (8.), Pid (7.0).
Hardware/accessories to consider: Xbox 360 wireless controller, Xbox LIVE 12 month Gold Membership, Xbox LIVE Microsoft Points (most popular are 1600, 800, 400, 2400, 4000 – in that order), Ear Force X12 Gaming Headset, Kinect Sensor with Kinect Adventures, Xbox 360 Rechargeable Battery 2pk, Xbox 360 wired controller.
We already have a PS3 – what games should I buy?
Top selling PS3 games:
- Madden NFL 13 (7.5)
- NCAA Football 13
- The Sly Collection
- FIFA Soccer 13 (8.0)
- NBA 2K13 (9.0)
- Need for Speed Hot Pursuit
- Playstation Move Essentials Bundle: Just Dance 3
- PS3 Gran Turismo 5 XL Edition
- LEGO Lord of the Rings
- Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault
- NBA 2K12
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted ( check RATING! RP?)
- Jak & Daxter Collection (rated E-T)
- LittleBigPlanet Karting (7.0)
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 (8.0)
- Little Big Planet 2: Special Edition
Other games to consider: Sound Shapes, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (8.5), Wonderbook: Book of Spells (8.0), NHL 13 (8.0), Dyad (8.0), Pap & Yo (7.5), Quantum Conundrum (7.5), Derrick the Deathfin (7.0).
Hardware/accessories to consider: SONY Playstation Network Card, Dualshock 3 wireless controller (also comes in camouflage), DualShock 3 Charging Station, Playstation Plus monthly subscription (most popular are 12 month, 3 month – in that order), Playstation Move Motion Controller.
I don’t have a console, but I have a PC – what games should I buy?
Top selling PC games:
There’s all sorts of ways to play games on your PC – download games online direct from developers, buy a box/CD at a retail store, or download games online through a portal, like Steam or Amazon. Some of our favorite games are Minecraft, and Pixie Hollow (Disney).
No matter where you get your video games, some hardware/accessories to consider: Steam Wallet cash, Amazon gift cards, Logitech wireless headsets, Logitech gaming keyboards and mice, Logitech xBox style game controller.
Top Steam games:
- Football Manager 2013
- Sid Meier’s Civilization V
- Torchlight II (not sure if rating is T, not E)
- Portal 2
- Stronghold Kingdoms
- Universe Sandbox
- Farming Simulator 2013
- Spiral Knights
- Realm of the Mad God
- Sonic Generations ($7.49)
- Scribblenauts Unlimited ($29.99)
Check Steam & Game Stats anytime, to see what the current hot games are. Most games on Steam you buy for full price, but they regularly have tempting sales (40-75% off) and indie bundles!
Steam Wallet – you can buy cards/game codes at Gamestop stores, or use PayPal/credit card and buy online.
The only problem I have with Steam, is I can’t easily find what the game is rated. Before you buy a game for your child on Steam, it’s best to do a little quick research – watch some trailers, check out YouTube, Google around, check out Gamespot.com for reviews.
Top Amazon games:
- Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Gods and Kings
- Plants vs Zombies ($9.99)
- Build-a-lot 2 ($2.99)
- Pac-Man ($3.50)
- Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon ($3.49)
- Ricochet Infinity ($6.99)
- The Sims 3 Seasons
- Sega Genesis Classic Game Pack ($4.99)
- FIFA Soccer 13
- Rollercoaster Tycoon 2: Triple Thrill Pack ($2.49)
- The Sims 3 Supernatural
- Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum ($4.99)
- Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 2 ($3.74)
Amazon game downloads – you can download PC games including: core games, casual games, console online play, and free-to-play games – for some amazing prices! If you’re not sure what game to buy, you can always give them an Amazon gift card.
What about handhelds / portables?
Top selling handheld / portable game consoles:
- Playstation Vita (bundled with M rated Assassin’s Creed III) ($250 for just the Vita)
- Playstation Portable 3000 Core Pack System – Piano Black ($99)
- Nintendo 3DS – popular colors are, in order, Aqua Blue, Cosmo Black, Flame Red, Pearl Pink. (around $170)
- Nintendo 3DS XL – Red/Black. (around $220)
- Nintendo DSi XL- popular colors are, in order, Midnight Blue, Metallic Rose. (around $150)
Top selling Nintendo 3DS games:
- Steel Diver (4.5)
- Nintendogs + Cats: French Bulldog, Toy Poodle
- New Super Mario Bros 2 (7.0)
- Paper Mario: Sticker Star (7.5)
- Pokemon Black Version 2 DS (6.5)
- Pokemon White Version 2 DS (6.5)
- Mario Kart 7 (8.0)
- Super Mario 3D Land (8.0)
- Professor Layton and The Miracle Mask (8.5)
- Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
- Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d you steal our garbage
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (8.5)
- Frogger 3DS
Other games to consider: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure (8.0), Theatrrhythm Final Fantasy (7.5), Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (7.0).
Top selling DS games:
- Pokemon Black Version 2 (6.5)
- Angry Birds Trilogy
- New Super Mario Bros (9.0)
- Pokemon White Version 2 (6.5)
- Disney Tangled
- Mario Kart DS (9.2)
- LEGO Battles Ninjago
- Plants Vs. Zombies (8.0)
- Let’s Draw!
- Super Mario 64 DS (8.4)
- Mario Party DS (8.0)
- Disney Princess: Magical Jewels
- Team Umizoomi
- Barbie: Jet, Set & Style
Other games to consider: Kirby: Mass Attack (8.5).
Your kid has an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad? Or an Android phone or tablet? Or, maybe you want some apps for your device, for them to play on occasionally?
The smartphone app market is HUGE. There are over 700,000 apps on iTunes (120,000+ are games), and almost 700,000 Android apps on Google Play. Mobile apps are a big part of gamings’ future, and there has been a steep decline in console gaming.
Still not sure what to get?
Going with a top selling, popular video game with a high rating is usually a surefire gift. But, other great ideas are online points game card/codes for your console (xBox/PS3/Wii), or a 3 or 12 month xBox LIVE or PS3 Plus subscription. Don’t forget about iTunes gift cards, Amazon gift cards, or Steam Wallet cash.
Headsets – for gaming, or listening to music – are a great idea. We love the Logitech wireless headsets. Wireless game console controllers are also selling well.
What’s important is you get them something to play, so they have something to do, and it’s appropriate for their age. Good luck!