One of the biggest concerns for parents these days is screen time. It certainly can feel like from the day our little ones are born, screens surround them. I am certainly one to monitor my son’s screentime. Like me, though, he loves playing video games, and who can blame him? They are super fun! There are tons of major consoles out there, not all of which are suitable for children of all ages. The Nintendo Switch is not one of those gaming consoles. It has appeal for gamers of all ages, especially younger ones. Here is why I think it’s the best gaming console for kids.
You Can Create a Mii
Made popular by the Nintendo Wii, you can still create your own Mii on the Nintendo Switch, a cartoon video game character meant to look like you. You can customize all sorts of facial features, height, body size, outfits, etc. Kids can make their Mii as realistic or silly as they want. There are even a few games like Mario Golf: Super Rush that allows you to use your Mii in the game during real gameplay!
Ok, I’m not a huge fan of buying extra content for games, but at least when you invest in an Amiibo, you’ll still have a physical toy of sorts of one of your favorite Nintendo characters. Typically though, Amiibos don’t unlock extra parts of the game, but will actually give you certain abilities that may make the game a bit easier, making it even more kid friendly. For example, if you were playing Super Mario Odyssey, using the Mario Amiibo would give you 30 of damage immunity and using a Princess Peach Amiibo would give you a life up heart.
Games Are Geared Toward Kids
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played my fair share of Call of Duty, Destiny, Mortal Kombat, Halo, and other popular games for other popular video game consoles. Still, these are not games that our littlest ones should play. Do I think that playing violent games will make my kid violent? No, I don’t, but there is much more to it than that. The Nintendo Switch is just geared toward kids in many ways.
Less Violent Games and More Cartoonish
As I mentioned before, I don’t think playing violent games will necessarily make my kid more violent, but there are other factors to consider. The characters(especially female ones), storylines, and overall feel of the games are better suited for older kids and adults. For example, my seven-year-old doesn’t need to have a storyline about war or a half-naked female character constantly on the screen. Yes, there are games on the Nintendo Switch that have some of these characteristics, but most games have a much more lighthearted and cartoonish feel.
One of the longest-lasting and best kid-themed series on TV and classic video games is Pokemon. You’ll find most, if not all, of their titles on a Nintendo console, and the Switch is no exception. There are games like it on other consoles, but if you want the real deal, then you need the Switch. Titles like the below will give your child the Pokemon fix they need:
- Pokémon Sword and Shield
- Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee!
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
- Pokémon Café Mix
- Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
- New Pokémon Snap
Good luck passing off a knockoff from another console.
The Animal Crossing series has been around since the early 2000s but has picked up in popularity in recent years. Its latest installment, New Horizons, has sold over 31 million copies worldwide. Animal Crossings is another wildly popular game that you just won’t find on another system and is tailor-made for the casual kid gamer. With really no end game, players go around their island, customizing their house, terrain, and other aspects of their island. You can fish, hunt for bugs, or even fossils. It’s the ultimate kid-friendly game.
Is there anything I can say about Mario or games that involve Mario that hasn’t already been said? Probably not, but they are worth repeating. Since his debut as the main character (I’m not counting Donkey Kong here) in Mario Bros in 1983, Mario has been jumping on our screen and into our hearts. Mario games are typically a great mix of difficult, fun, and entertainment for gamers of all ages. You won’t find anything inappropriate for kiddos here(ok, maybe a few adult jokes that will go over their heads), just good old fashion, goomba stompin’, Bowser bashing fun!
Lots of Indie Games Too
Nintendo has always been one to allow independent game developers to make games for their consoles. With the Switch, you can have an entire shop available of cheaper games to add to your library. Games don’t need to be $60 to be fun. There are loads of games available that will be fun for your smallest gamers.
Controls Are Geared Toward Kids Too
Since many Nintendo Switch games are made with kids in mind, not only are the themes and storylines geared toward kids, so are the controls. With some of the more advanced systems, like Playstion 5 and X Box One Series, you’ll find that you need to be able to use most if not all of the buttons. This isn’t the simple A or B options we had as kids. Some of these controllers and upwards of nine different buttons. Asking a child to react as quickly as needed in some of these games and be able to use the correct button is a tall order. With many Switch games, not only is the pace slower, but there are fewer buttons to remember and use.
The console controllers themselves are also much more kid-friendly. A Playstation or X Box game controller is relatively larger. The Switch controllers and incredibly small, making it easier for kids to hold (and not drop) and reach all the buttons needed.
You Can Buy A Subscription to SNES and NES Games
With the Switch, you can also buy an online subscription. One of the features this opens up to you is the ability to play both retro NES and SNES(Super Nintendo Entertainment System) games on the Switch. You don’t have the entire library of classic video games open to you all the time as the games will rotate, though, but it’s enough that you’ll have hours of simpler and kid-friendly great games at your fingertips all the time. Now, Nintendo Online may end up being more for you than your kid, but in either case, it’s a great feature to have. You’ll have all your old games and won’t have to blow into the cartridge to get it to work.
Portable and Big Screen
The Switch’s ability to be played both on the big screen and on the go is what makes it one of the best gaming consoles for kids. Going from one to the other is super simple as well. The Switch comes with a docking station that you can easily place in to play at home on the big TV and just as easily pick up to take it on the go. This isn’t like the beginning days of handheld or portable gaming with the original Game Boy. While playing in the car or anywhere else that’s not home, the LCD screen is big enough where you can easily play in any light and not have the console two inches from your face.
The Switch is also lightweight. There are carrying cases available to bring as many games or game accessories as you want along, plus protect it from any accidental drops that may happen. The Nintendo Switch is mobile gaming at its best.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time when your kids get older that a video game console like Microsoft Xbox Series X, Microsoft Xbox Series S, Sony PlayStation 5, Sony PlayStation Pro, Sony PlayStation VR, and others will be more than suitable for them, but for the younger ages, you can’t beat the Nintendo Switch. The games, controllers, portability, and really everything about it is geared for the younger side of gaming. Best of all, if you are a gamer yourself, you’ll love playing all the classic Nintendo games and characters you grew up with as well.
Jeff is a fan of all things finance. When he’s not out there changing the world with his blog, you can find him on a run, a Mets game, playing video games, or just playing around with his kids.