Gaming Dopers: Please help the middle-aged clueless guy pick a new game system for his kids.

Several threads here have discussed this topic, but none that I’ve found works for my particular situation. I’m not completely clueless about video games, just hopelessly outdated. (I actually know what “Pong” is :eek: ) The only systems my kids (ages 8 &10) have played with are my old Super NES and N64 machines. That said, they absolutely love the games they’ve played on them: Metroid, Link, the various Marios, Megaman, DK in all its varieties, etc. They really enjoy puzzle/adventure combo games, and I’d like to get a new system that either offers newer versions of these classics, or similar games of the type listed above. I tried searching online, but simply got bowled over with information overload. I’m hoping the savvy folks at the SD can offer some insight.

So, what say you all? Cost is not really an issue, though I try to be reasonably frugal these days. I can afford a top end machine, but I’m more interested in getting the right machine that will support the right games (mostly Nintendo at this point - I think the oldest would love the newer Metroids). The kids don’t (yet) do any online gaming, so that’s not much of an issue. We have high enough speed on our PC to run these games and download them, though.

Suggestions on games to play, systems, where to buy… any help/advice is greatly appreciated!

I would actually suggest considering a DS Lite. I think it has the best library of games of any current system, and specifically it has many remakes/re-imaginings of older games that your kids enjoyed (two new Zelda games, Megaman in the form of the ZX series, the “Mini” Mario/DK games are platform puzzlers like the original DK, New Super Mario Brothers is a platformer like old-school Mario, some great sidescrolling Castlevania games, and so on). It’s also got a bunch of great original games (Professor Layton (“thinking” puzzles), Meteos (“dexterity” puzzles, more like Tetris), and The World Ends With You (RPG), are a few of my favorites).

The main downsides are of course that it’s a portable system so it’s small and only one person can enjoy it at a time. Also Nintendo is coming out with a new version (the 3DS soon), so it may be soon viewed as somewhat obsolete.

EDIT: actually I suppose DSi would be the newest version. I’m not sure if you can even buy a DSLite new anymore!

Ask them. I’m partial to the Xbox 360, myself. I like the games exclusive to it, I like playing online (and greatly prefer how the Xbox handles that, compared to the Wii), and I know a lot of people that have it.

Seconding the ask them, but it sounds like your kids would really dig a Wii.

Two new Metroids (and two more playable by GameCube backwards compatibility), new Zelda (with another one on the way in 2011), three new Mario games (one of them sidescrolling like the SNES one), two downloadable Mega Man games styled after the NES series, Donkey Kong Country Returns (a sidescrolling DKC sequel). It’s all there.

But definitely ask them.

I’m going to second getting them a Wii. Our oldest is 15, and it’s not a problem finding games for his age. For kids 8 and 10, I think the Wii is a no-brainer.

Our kids have DSes as well, but they play together more on the Wii than on their DS.

Third a Wii. I have a PS3 and while I love mine, going with their age and their interests a Wii sounds more appropriate for them. Plus you can get a Wii with the new(ish) Mario game in a pack. I’d also get them Mario Kart and another controller.

Online should be a non-factor for kids at those ages, unless you want them exposed to myriad racist and homophobic idiots, so that diminishes one of the main selling points of the 360 and PS3 (the Wii also supports online, though in much fewer titles, but under vastly safer conditions for kids, with its lack of voice chat).

Anyway, it sounds like the Wii would be the best system for your kids. It has a ton of games that cater to their market (but aren’t just for kids), and if they already like Nintendo games, the Wii has four years worth for them to start catching up on (10 years if you count the fact that it can also play GameCube games, some of which are among the best every made).

Here are some games I’d recommend:

Donkey Kong Country Returns (multiplayer for 2 people)
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (multiplayer for 4 people)
Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2
Mario Kart Wii (multiplayer for 4 people + online)
Super Smash Bros Brawl (multiplayer for 4 people + online)
Metroid Prime 3 (Prime 1 on GameCube was also great)

While I’m a 360 fan myself, I’d concur with the above Wii recommendations. You also have a long backlog of Gamecube games they can play with it. (Though I’d recommend getting a second Gamecube controller instead of multiple Wii-motes.)

Wii. It’s the only place they’ll find what you mentioned.

You also said you already have a PC. You might want to get some games for that too. Some are great for kids, and many fit the bill of what you think they’ll enjoy:

  • The lego games like the new Lego Harry potter.
  • Where’s waldo
  • World of goo
  • The Peggle series
  • Viva Pinata
  • Zoo Tycoon
  • Plants vs Zombies
  • Beat Hazard
  • Osmos
  • Super meat boy
  • Trine
  • Bejeweled
  • Rhythm zone
  • Audio Surf
  • And yet it moves
    Maybe racing games like Grid, Trackmania and Dirt 2 would also appeal to them.

The ten year old might like some of the more advanced adventure/mystery games like the Nancy drew series, or the more challenging puzzle games like the Myst series, puzzle agent, Braid, the dig, the Monkey Island series, The Heroes of Might And Magic series, Dock clock.
The list is truly endless. You can find games like these at and

Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I was actually leaning towards the Wii for many of the reasons mentioned above (type of games/titles). I have sort of asked them what they might want, but believe it or not, they haven’t really been exposed to much else in the way of game systems, so they don’t have much to compare to. Regarding the Wii… the controllers - I sorta get the concept of the motion controllers, but what currently exists in the way of “standard” controllers for the Wii? I’m thinking of the N64 controller in particular, which has 3D controls as well as some combo buttons like on the old SNES. Is that the common setup “in-the-box” these days? Or do you have to purchase all the optional controllers separately? (Still not a real issue, unless they’re crazy-high priced.)


Standard controllers are tricky as only certain games allow them to be used. But the standard controller itself (called the Classic Controller Pro) is pretty cheap, only $19.99.

GameCube controllers can also be used for some games and those can be purchased from used game stores for a few bucks.

Many of the major sidescrollers like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Metroid: Other M and Kirby’s Epic Yarn only require a Wii Remote to play, which is standard in the box.

Almost every Wii game can be played with the standard Wii Remote & Nun-chuk that ships with the console.

However, many games support a simpler control scheme by turning the Wii Remote sideways. Old-school side-scrolling games, such as New Super Mario Bros. Wii, primarly use this. It also comes in helpful for playing classic NES games which you can download to your Wii from the the Virtual Console section of the WiiWare store.

Beyond that, some games also support what’s called the Classic Controller. This controller is most similar to older console controllers, and the 360/PS3. Some Wii games support it, none require it, except for downloadable SNES and N64 titles from the WiiWare store.

Finally, you can also plug in a GameCube controller or WaveBird(wireless GameCube controller), which is required if you wish to play GameCube games on your Wii. This controller can also be used for all Virtual Console games, although it sucks for some SNES games. It’s no longer sold new (except in maybe rare cases), but plenty can be found for cheap used.

TLDR Version:
The controllers that come with your system are good enough for almost every game. Some support the more conventional classic controller, but whether it’s better or not is subjective. If you want to play SNES or N64 games, you should pick up a Classic Controller. If you want to play GameCube games, grab a GameCube controller (or better yet, Wave Bird.

Excellent info, Red Barchetta. Thank you.

I think we have a winner, folks. Thanks for all the input. Now I just have to figure out how to not monopolize the games myself after Christmas!
(Curse you, Metroid! How many hours have you stolen from me…?)

I know Metroid has been mentioned a few times. If you’re buying the Metroid Prime series, make sure to pick up Metroid Prime: Trilogy. It contains all 3 Prime games for one price and is able to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuck for all 3. If you buy the games separately, the first 2 would only work with a Gamecube controller.

Don’t buy from Amazon right now. It looks like they’re out of stock and only have secondary sellers. You might have better luck at a game store.

Trilogy has been out of print for a while now and I don’t think it’s coming back.

Three Wiimotes, and games like Mario Cart, New Super Mario Brothers, and some of the Raving Rabbids party games (the Rabbids games need nunchuks also). Then you can play with your kids.

I’d also recommend getting rechargeable batteries (2 AAs each) for the Wiimotes.

Hey sangfroid, just curious if you picked up the Wii and how it’s working out for you?

didn’t notice until today this thread got bumped

Excellent Red Barchetta, thanks for asking! Kids love the system and picked up on the new controllers almost instantaneously (kinda scary, that…). Nice game system for the 8+ set. I like it also, but took a little longer to adapt to the motion aspect than the kids. Doing fine now, though.

I do have a follow-up question, though: Have many of you fellow wii gamers had problems with used games? We’ve only purchased one so far (from a reputable chain store with a good return policy) and it glitched (cannot read disc error message after very little play time). We’re sticking with new games for now. How has your experience with used games for the wii been?

Thanks once more for the updated info!

Yay, glad to hear it!

Unfortunately, I may not be of much help about used games–I don’t think I’ve bought any used ones for the Wii, but some basic things should be checked. Are there a lot of scratches on it? If not–and you’ve probably already tried this–try wiping it with a cloth from the inside circle to the outside edge in a straight line, doing this until you get all the away around (don’t wipe in a circle–it can damage it). Hopefully that fixes it; if not, it’s likely some guy of scratch or dent causing the problem, in which case you should be able to return/exchange it.

Another vote for the wii. I don’t have kids, but I am a middle aged gaming geek. The thing about the wii is that is one system that gets people interacting with each other in a way that the other systems don’t. Playing on the wii with people feels more like how playing Monopoly with my sisters and brother felt when I was a kid, if that makes sense.