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Choosing the right console games for Christmas

It’s tricky to know which games are right for your kids at this time of year. Andy Robertson, editor of YouTube channel FamilyGamerTV, takes you through this year’s most-wanted games to help you decide

Choosing the right games for Christmas presents can be difficult. There is a minefield of choices before you even get to the point of considering which titles are suitable for the ages of your children.

The PEGI ratings are a great help this time of year. Not only do they signpost which age groups are suitable to play particular games, but they also provide succinct outlines of the content that warrants the age limit.

PEGI ratings apply a traffic light system. Ages 3 and 7 are green and advisory. Ages 12 and 16 have an orange badge and 18 rated games with the most mature content have a red badge. On the box or online you can also find the descriptor badges that indicate what aspect of the game has it has been rated for — violence, sex or language, for example.

Learning about PEGI ratings will help you play safely in your family. It will also teach you a lot about video-games along the way.

I work with the Games Rating Authority, who apply the PEGI ratings, to create quick video guides with all the information you need to know about games. These highlight why particular games are popular and enjoyable as well as what to watch out for in terms of content. Here are some recent picks that span the ages at this time of year.

The full set of guides are available here.

The ones kids ask for that aren’t actually for kids

Battlefield 1

PEGI 18

This year the Battlefield shooting game goes back to World War One and with that adds a considerable amount of historical and sombre content. As reflected in the rating it’s still a highly violent experience though.

PEGI rates Battlefield 1 PEGI 18, suitable for adults only, for Extreme Violence and Strong Language.

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

PEGI 18

This year Call of Duty is fought in futuristic space, but otherwise follows a similar pattern to previous games and is only for adults.

PEGI rates Call of Duty Infinite Warfare as PEGI 18, suitable for adults only, for extreme violence, multiple motiveless killing and strong language.

And the ones kids ask for that are…

ReCore

PEGI 12

Recore is an action shooting game set on an alien world in which the player controls a teenage girl, Joule Adams, and her team of robots, exploring the planet and fighting other robots. It’s an unusual game that draws its look and feel from Pixar films.

PEGI rates Recore PEGI 12, suitable for ages 12 and up for realistic looking violence against non-human characters, non-realistic looking violence towards human characters, and violence causing minor injury only

Overwatch

PEGI 12

Overwatch is a multiplayer shooting game in which two teams of six players compete to capture and defend various objectives. Its futuristic setting and cartoon visuals make it more suitable for younger players than older rated shooting games.

PEGI rates Overwatch as PEGI 12, suitable for ages 12 and up, for non realistic looking violence towards human characters.

No Man’s Sky

PEGI 7+

No Man’s Sky is a space exploration game with role playing elements in which players travel through space discovering new planets, each with their own flora and fauna. There’s much to learn about space and planets both in terms of their scale but also the mechanics of travel. This makes it good to play together in the home and for a wide range of ages.

PEGI rates 7 for non-realistic violence towards fantasy characters.

Splatoon

PEGI 7+

Splatoon is a shooting game where players battle with ink guns rather than bullets. It’s still exuberant competitive fun and as such a greta alternative to older rated shooting games. There’s also a short co-operative mission to play in the family. PEGI rate this as suitable for those 7 and over.

Super Mario Maker

PEGI 3+

Super Mario Maker was out last year on the Wii U and enables players to create and share their own Mario levels. This year it comes to the 3DS and adds another 100 Mario levels in the package. It’s a great way to discover the joy of game creation as well as playing. PEGI rate Mario Maker as suitable for everyone.

For more information about video-games for families visit Ask About Games, the industry funded website. Along with details on setting up your consoles parental controls and more on PEGI ratings it also has stories from real families getting more from games in the home.