REPORT: How to Create the Ultimate Father-Son Gaming Experience

REPORT: How to Create the Ultimate Father-Son Gaming Experience
Man and young boy with video game controllers smiling

It doesn’t matter if they’re five or 15, it sometimes seems impossible to pull kids away from iPads, iPhones, and TV screens. A USA Today survey found that nearly every American kid plays video games in some form or fashion, and that should be a surprise to no one.

Video games are fun, but they can also pull away from some quality father/son bonding time. If you feel like there is a lack of activity with your son, adopt the old phrase ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’ Give your son the perfect outing and make video games a part of the fun.

Old & New

“Pac-Man” or “Metal Gear Solid”? “Donkey Kong” or “Halo”? “Dig Duck” or “Grand Theft Auto”?

Younger kids have little to no exposure to the former classic titles and would likely pick the modern games all of their friends play, but tech blogger Andy Baio set out to prove that children do love classic games if only given the chance. In 2014 he had his son play the most nostalgic video games in chronological order, starting with “Space Invaders” on the Atari 2600, and working up from there. The results? A 21st-century kid can and does love video games from yesteryear. Baio’s son had a blast.

On the other hand, parents should be open to some of the newer titles, even if their heart belongs to the classics. The new games might just surprise the Gen X and even Baby Boomers, with titles like “Star Wars: Battlefront” coming out in November.

Pick Your Hardware

All legacy consoles aside, your choices basically come down to four machines—Xbox One, Playstation 4, Wii U, and a PC. The PC is terrible for two-player games so we have the three consoles remaining. Playstation 4 has some incredible exclusive titles like “Uncharted,” “The Last of Us,” and “MLB The Show,” but most of these are single player, which leaves us with two remaining options.

If family friendly is your priority, the Wii U is probably your best bet. Titles like “Mario Party” are packed with hundreds of mini-games that you can spend hours playing with your son. The Xbox One, on the other hand, has some of the more graphically advanced and challenging games like “Halo,” “Destiny,” and “Call of Duty.” It goes without saying that these titles are not for young kids, but if you’re son is old enough then there is some serious fun in these first-person shooters.

Find an Arcade

Arcades, remember those? The places that actually required you to leave the house and throw some quarters into the giant, old dusty cabinets in the hopes to beat the high score? If you live near a city, chances are you have access to an arcade that’s not Dave and Busters. Get out with your son and explore some of the classics as well as the newer releases (you would be amazed how far modern arcade games have come).

There are certain genres that just can’t be replicated in the living room. Remember “Cruisin’ USA”? Racing games at the arcade are wildly more fun than “Gran Turismo” or “Forza” at home. Sure, they don’t make for the best driving tests when your son eventually turns 16 (you can find better resources for that later), but make sure he knows about the gas pedal double-tap to make the car do a wheely.