News Column

How to Pick the Right Gifts for Gamers

Dec 6 2012 12:00AM

Marketwire

ThumbnailPhoto courtesy of Getty ImagesTracker

MISSION, KS -- (Marketwire) -- 12/06/12 -- (Family Features) The holidays are back, and with them comes a host of new video games on store shelves. Picking out the right video game for your kids -- or any other family member or friend -- can feel like a daunting task. To help lighten the load, here are three tips to make your holiday video game search easier:

Check out the rating. Nearly every video game found in stores has rating information from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) on the box. This rating is similar to the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) ratings for movies. Check the front of the box for a rating icon representing one of the following Rating Categories:

•E (Everyone) •E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) •T (Teen) or M (Mature), meaning 17 or older

Flip the box to find Content Descriptors, which offer more detail as to why the game earned a particular rating (via phrases like "Suggestive Themes" and "Fantasy Violence"). The ESRB's retail partners, such as GameStop, only sell ESRB-rated games, giving you a head start toward finding age-appropriate titles.

Go online. The ESRB website, www.ESRB.org, and their free mobile app offer game rating information along with more detailed Rating Summaries, which give a more in-depth explanation of the content that factored into the game's rating. You can also visit www.RespectTheRatings.com for tips to help you be more aware of and involved in children's gaming experiences. Tips include how to discuss gaming habits and online content, and how to activate game consoles' parental controls. There is also a Gaming 101 section that explains video game terms like "FPS" (first person shooter) and "RPG" (role-playing game).

Talk to experts. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 73 percent of all video games sold last year were rated E through T. Though the majority of titles are likely okay for most gamers, you may want to do additional research to find ones that best match your gamers' particular interests and abilities.

This is where experts come in handy, and finding one can be surprisingly simple. For example, the Game Advisors at every GameStop are avid gamers who are educated on the latest titles and trends and often have first-hand experience with most games, whether having played them themselves or watched their children play. If your kids like creative fantasy, ask about Skylanders Giants or Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. And if physically active gaming is important to you, ask for more details on Kinect for the Xbox 360, or Nintendo's new Wii U console.

Searching for the right video game gift can not only be easy, but fun, too, for kids and parents alike. Ask to try out a particular game or console, and see what you like best. After all, one of the best ways to make sure your children have a safe, enriching video game experience is to play along with them. Learn more at www.gamestop.com.

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Matthew Barksdale
mbarksdale@familyfeatures.com
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Source: Marketwire


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