Yesterday I talked about why it’s valuable to have a high-tech version of the old family game night. Today I’m going to get more specific about how you can host a high-tech family game night.
- Console – Although handhelds like the Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Portable/Vita support wireless networking, they’re best reserved for killing time while software loads. Instead, stick with set-top systems when planning a family game night. The Nintendo Wii and backward compatible Wii U (which will run original Wii system software when in ships in 2012) have the greatest selection of family-friendly offerings to date, but consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 also sport a healthy range of choices that everyone can enjoy. Motion control accessories including Microsoft Kinect and PlayStation Move further offer compelling family play opportunities that can be cooperative or competitive, depending on your preference.
- Controllers – It never hurts to have a few extra gamepads lying around – preferably one for each player, plus a couple of back-ups. Make sure you look carefully at each before buying, however. Many sport added features like time-speed, slow-motion, or rapid-fire functions that can give users an unfair advantage. And don’t forget to have a good supply of batteries or chargers on-hand as well.
- Snacks – Cheese. Crackers. Alright… even carrots, celery and juice. Just have something nearby to nibble; you’re sure to work up an appetite jabbing wildly away on the controller or hopping around the room while hooting and hollering at the screen – and each other. Rather than junk food though, we always advise serving up a healthy range of snacks. In a pinch, a range of diet, non-fat or low-fat alternatives can also help shave pointless calories.
- Pen and Paper – For keeping track of scores. For many, gaming is all about competition – the longer you play, the more you’re rewarded with points, victories, collectible items and so forth. Keep a running tally, so you can see how everyone stacks up. Even if you’re all working together, chances are there will be something worth keeping track of, even if it’s just the number of times Dad accidentally trips over the dog.
Please join me tomorrow when I’ll be addressing “the right game” for your high-tech family game night.