Game Night: Making Video Games Into Family Fun

It’s easy to look at something like video games with skepticism when you haven’t played them very much in the past. With many titles sporting colorful graphics and complicated control schemes, it can be easy to assume that you won’t find them fun, especially if you’re used to taking things more seriously. In reality, though, like TV, movies, and books, there will always be an option out there which appeals to you once you’ve given it a try. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the key elements which will go into building a space which works for gaming, giving everyone on the house a chance to have some fun together.

The Gaming Machine

Over the last few decades, gaming has evolved by a huge degree, going from only being played in large cabinets, to becoming available on mobile devices and in homes everywhere. This has created a huge market around machines which are capable of running incredibly detailed and complex games, without taking up more space than your AV receiver. Choosing the device for your family can be a challenge. You can find some examples of the options you have available below, with information to help you to figure out which will offer the most to your home.

Xbox One vs. PS4: While both the Xbox One and PS4 have gone through a couple of revisions since they came out, their core hardware remains the same as it did when they were released. There are huge amounts of games available for these consoles, and more are being made all the time, but they often have adult themes which won’t be so good for children. These products are better for older children who won’t want to sit around the TV playing party games, but will still get a lot of entertainment out of playing something.

Nintendo Switch: Nintendo have a strong history of creating consoles which turn out to be family favourites, with the Wii being one of the best-selling electronic devices of all time. Their latest generation machines, though, have a lot more going for them. The Switch can be used in either handheld or docked mode, making it great for travel, while still having a place on the TV stand. There aren’t a huge amount of games available at the moment, but this is starting to improve, and the bulk of the options you have will be designed for large groups of players, anyway.

A Gaming PC: For some people, the notion of using anything other than a computer for this sort of task will be unthinkable. There are far more games available on this platform than the others, with a huge amount of them being offered for free, and this makes it easy to try new things once everyone is interested. Setting up a computer is always trickier than using a console, though. Computers are best used for this sort of task when you already have some knowledge of how to work with them, especially if you plan to build the machine for yourself.

Whichever machine you decide to go for in this, it’s worth keeping in mind how many players you will need to be able to support. All of the examples above allow sessions with at least four players, but they won’t come with enough controllers to allow for this, and this means that you’ll need to buy some accessories before you get started. You can often avoid the expensive options which are offered by the companies making the consoles, going for third-party products which will do the same job for far less.

The Gaming Space

Once you have an idea of the hardware you’ll be using for this job, it will be time to start thinking about the space you’ll be using for your gaming sessions. Most people will use a lounge or living room for this. If you have a spare room, though, you could make a space which is dedicated to this sort of fun, keeping it from causing arguments over who gets to use the main TV. Of course, though, the space itself is a relatively small part of all of this. Along with it, you will also need to think about how you’re going to make the room work for you.

Getting Comfortable: Spending a good few hours playing games can get very uncomfortable when you have the wrong furniture for it. While normal sofas are great for watching TV and movies, they rarely offer the chance to have a flexible experience, and won’t put you in the best position to focus on the games you’re playing. Instead, choosing one of the options from a company like Comfy Sacks can give you a piece which will suit loads of different situations, all while being easy to pack away for the future.

Staying Lit: Having bright lights above your head can be very distracting when you’re trying to focus on a stressful game. Most people will simply turn off the lights when they are enjoying something like this, but this can add a level of danger to your game nights which simply doesn’t need to exist. Instead, by using a system like Philips Hue, you can control the lighting in your space with a huge degree of accuracy. Some examples of products like this can even make the light follow along with music and sounds, and this can be great for some games.

Crisp & Clear Sound: While older games didn’t have the resources to spare on things like complicated tracks, modern titles are often laced with high-quality music and sound effects. This makes having a good set of speakers very important for any gaming situation. Modern TVs often skimp on this area, providing you with sound which won’t win any awards. Sound bars, though, come in at very reasonable prices, and can provide a huge improvement over the ones you already have. It’s always worth reading some reviews before buying something like this.

Getting Everyone Involved

Once you have the space and the system sorted out, it will be time to start looking at the gaming sessions you have together. Getting everyone involved with something like this could be a challenge, with the whole family having different ideas about what they’d like to spend their time playing. Thankfully, there are ways to get around this, and it will only take a small compromise from each person. It’s always worth thinking about what the kids might want before you start choosing games which you like the look of.

Diplomacy: Like anything you do as a family, it can be far too easy to have arguments arise over the sort of games you will be playing. A teenage boy, for example, will find the sort of games which a five year old would like to be extremely boring, and will want their experience to have an edge to it. Taking it in turns to choose the games which are played can be a great way to make this easier. Not only will this give everyone the chance to play something they like, but it will mean that everyone gets to try something new, too.

Building Hype: Much like movie and television releases, the day that a game hits the market is always a big one. This will be announced a good few weeks beforehand, giving avid gamers the chance to start getting excited, while also preparing people like you for the future. When you find a game which everyone will like, following it through the process of development and release as a family can make the whole thing more exciting. Not only will this help to make sure that everyone wants to play, but it will also enable you to plan a day or two together for it.

Making It Regular: One of the key challenges which would always come with historical options, like arcades, was the fact that they cost so much to visit. This meant that going as a regular event would often be too expensive, putting families off the idea of having this as an activity which they do together. Nowadays, though, once you’ve bought a console and some games, you will be ready to game everyday. This makes it far easier to plan ahead, arranging a time each week or month when you’ll all sit down together and enjoy some video games.

Doing something like this as a family isn’t always the easiest path to tread. A lot of people assume that they don’t like this sort of entertainment, even when they haven’t tried it properly, and this is a shame. Not only can tools like this provide fun for your family, but they can also bring them closer together. Some games are designed to be educational, while others will spread lessons about social situations, and this gives you the chance to use this resource for something other than fun. Of course, though, the approach you take with something like this will be largely down to your family.

If gaming isn’t your thing, and not something that you see your family connecting over, check out our other ideas for making your home fun.

Photo Credit: Travels Over Toys, Photo by Enrique Vidal Flores on Unsplash, Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash, Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash, Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

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