With all the uproar about sex and violence in video games, parents are becoming more concerned with what their kids are playing. Video games are becoming more and more realistic, but luckily, manufacturers are starting to recognize the growing concern. The Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft Xbox 360 are currently among the most requested systems, according to a recent poll, each with it’s own merits.
Microsoft Xbox 360
Microsoft was one of the first in the field to employ parental controls on the original Xbox, letting parents restrict what kinds of games could be played, or even what kind of DVDs could be watched. That functionality returns in the 360, though to be fair the Wii has it as well. The 360 is the more expensive option, starting at around $200, with systems going for as much as $575.
One problem parents have had with the 360 is the online interactions. The voice chat allows real-time communication between players, and is often used for profane trash talk and name calling. There have also been instances of child predators using the Xbox to solicit minors, but these cases are few and far between.
Games for the Xbox seem to be geared towards a more adult audience, however, with most games employing a moderate to high amount of violence. While there are titles that are more than kid friendly, (Viva Pinata or any of the new Kinect games are good examples) these titles don’t make up a large portion of the systems library.
Nintendo’s fifth console is the more affordable option of these two, with systems starting at about $189 for bundle packs at large online retailers. The Wii uses motion controls, which means it’s a good option to keep kids moving around, as long as you have the room.
The Wii has a much more kid friendly library of titles to choose from, with many educational offerings. Nintendo has a history of not wanting too much bloodshed shown on their systems, but with the added parental controls, they’ve allowed a few more Mature rated titles onto their systems recently.
One downside of the Wii, however, is that controls can come loose during play if not secured properly, causing property damage and possibly injury. If choosing the Wii, it’s a good idea to stress safety to your children while playing.
So Which is Right For Me?
Both the Xbox 360 and the Wii are good consoles for kids. They both offer a variety of titles for the younger crowd, although the Wii easily outweighs the 360 in this aspect. Both offer parental controls, but online interaction is not monitored. You can, however, restrict internet access completely on both consoles.
All in all, the Wii has proven itself the superior choice for pint-sized gamers, with it’s easy controls and appealing games. The Xbox 360 is definitely working on giving the Nintendo system a run for its money, but it’s not quite there. Nintendo has been a powerhouse in the area of games for youths, and it’s definitely scored another winner with the Nintendo Wii.