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Uccmal
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So to all of you who play video games or have kids who play them, I need some advice.  My son's 8th b-day is coming up in mid january.

 

What's better:  X-box, or Nintendo.

 

Can you download free games to play on either of these? 

 

My son is trashing our PCs playing video games that he downloads and it is time for something a little more robust.  I have an old colour TV and an extra monitor kicking around that he can use.  I just need the console. 

 

So far he likes conventional games along the lines of Mario Bros. and NHL hockey. 

 

I am totally ignorant of the offerings today having grown up with Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pengo, and Pac Man, and graduated 10 years after to Masters of Orion, and Civilization.

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I finally found a thread I'm an expert in!

 

Disclosure: I've owned both of them--and both have died.  I got a new Xbox but did not get a new Wii.

 

The answer to your question really depends on what type of games you want to play, but at age 8, you'll probably want the Wii.  Here's what the two consoles are good at:

 

Wii: Family games, more cartooney games - e.g., mario brother series, zelda, etc.  You don't get a ton of serious games on the Wii and the hardware is less graphically sophisticated.  Wii also has a place where you can buy old games from previous consoles (e.g., super mario brothers) for fairly cheap, e.g., in the 2-5 dollar range, as I recall.  The full sized games are much more expensive--video games in general run 50-60 dollars at release and drop down to 20-35 dollars after a year or so.

 

Xbox: More for serious gamers and online gaming.  There are more FPS (First person shooter) style games on this console, like Gears of War, Call of Duty, etc.  Many of these games let you play with (co-op) or against others online.  Warning though, the type of people you get paired up with, if you do it randomly, usually consist of 13 year olds that are very good and very annoying.  They also tend to cheat.  Xbox also has an arcade section where you can download games, which are typically created by independents.  Their costs are usually in the 5-10 dollar range.

 

I think Wii is probably the one you want to go with for an 8 year old, but that may transition to a more "serious" console in the teenage range. 

 

 

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Some good points from racemize.

 

I'm also a gamer, but my only current console is the Wii. The funny thing is that the last game I bought on it was a Call of Duty game: Modern Warfare 3! The hardware cannot compete with the 360 or the PS3,  but there are some exclusives to the Wii that target the younger crowed like Mario Kart, Mario Galaxy, Zelda (actually I never outgrew Zelda and Skyward Sword looks awesome!)

 

The lifecycle for the Wii is coming to close. The next gen console from Nintendo, Wii U (will be HD!), is coming out next year. I'm not sure when the next gen is coming out from Microsoft, or Sony. Wii U will be backwards compatible with the Wii games and you will be able to use the Wii controllers with the new console. Don't know if this will factor into your decision.  One note about online gaming.  If you are going to play online, Xbox Live is something extra you have to pay for, if I remember correctly. Some Wii games are Wifi compatible and you don't have to pay for anything else but your internet service. The games usually uses a crappy friend code system though.

 

racemize, are you into FPS? do you have Battlefield 3? I watched some youtube videos, and I was briefly thinking of getting a new PC to support it! haha.

 

Unless there are some free mini games I'm missing out on, downloading free games is possible, but illegal.

 

As you may have noticed, I am a Nintendo fan boy. I may go and play a bit of Call of Duty now...

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Some good points from racemize.

 

I'm also a gamer, but my only current console is the Wii. The funny thing is that the last game I bought on it was a Call of Duty game: Modern Warfare 3! The hardware cannot compete with the 360 or the PS3,  but there are some exclusives to the Wii that target the younger crowed like Mario Kart, Mario Galaxy, Zelda (actually I never outgrew Zelda and Skyward Sword looks awesome!)

 

The lifecycle for the Wii is coming to close. The next gen console from Nintendo, Wii U (will be HD!), is coming out next year. I'm not sure when the next gen is coming out from Microsoft, or Sony. Wii U will be backwards compatible with the Wii games and you will be able to use the Wii controllers with the new console. Don't know if this will factor into your decision.  One note about online gaming.  If you are going to play online, Xbox Live is something extra you have to pay for, if I remember correctly. Some Wii games are Wifi compatible and you don't have to pay for anything else but your internet service. The games usually uses a crappy friend code system though.

 

racemize, are you into FPS? do you have Battlefield 3? I watched some youtube videos, and I was briefly thinking of getting a new PC to support it! haha.

 

Unless there are some free mini games I'm missing out on, downloading free games is possible, but illegal.

 

As you may have noticed, I am a Nintendo fan boy. I may go and play a bit of Call of Duty now...

 

 

All true as well!  Hopefully, it didn't sound like I was denigrating the Wii, which I enjoyed, particularly mario kart and super mario brothers.

 

You are spot on re Xbox live, which has membership dues, running ~50 a year I think. 

 

Re games, I'm mostly playing RPGs, like Dark Souls, Skyrim, etc.  The FPS's that I play are almost always either coop (Gears of War), RPS's, or both (e.g., Borderlands).  The Call of Duty/Modern Warfare style games I usually don't play, so I haven't tried out Battlefield--I've heard good things.

 

 

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Guest misterstockwell

The Kinect covers the kind of games youngsters enjoy on the Wii. There are a bunch of great kids games for Kinect. I slayed a great deal of fruit just minutes ago on Fruit Ninja.  ;D

 

Ed--I am a BF3 fan. My son and I play.  They re-released the BF2 maps with updates. Great fun.

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What's better:  X-box, or Nintendo.

 

Can you download free games to play on either of these? 

 

My son is trashing our PCs playing video games that he downloads and it is time for something a little more robust.

 

Get another PC & use steam to download games.  You'll save money on the software.

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So to all of you who play video games or have kids who play them, I need some advice.  My son's 8th b-day is coming up in mid january.

 

What's better:  X-box, or Nintendo.

 

Can you download free games to play on either of these? 

 

My son is trashing our PCs playing video games that he downloads and it is time for something a little more robust.  I have an old colour TV and an extra monitor kicking around that he can use.  I just need the console. 

 

So far he likes conventional games along the lines of Mario Bros. and NHL hockey. 

 

I am totally ignorant of the offerings today having grown up with Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pengo, and Pac Man, and graduated 10 years after to Masters of Orion, and Civilization.

 

First, full disclosure: I work in Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, making games for the Xbox 360 and related platforms. So I'm knowledgeable, but also biased.  :)

 

I agree with most of the points made above... Historically, Nintendo has offered more "casual" games and games for younger kids, whereas the X360 has catered more to the "core" gaming market. That said, both consoles have always offered content for both audiences.

 

However, I would say that Kinect has really been a game-changer for the X360 in terms of broadening the audience to include kids and entire families. If you look at the launch portfolio of games for the Kinect, there is not a single "core" game in there. They are all casual, accessible games with very broad appeal, and many are specifically for younger kids. For example, my kids and I spent a good chunk of last Sunday afternoon playing Kinect Disneyland Adventures and

.

 

Kinect has been very successful at changing the perception that moms have about the Xbox brand, and there's lots more to come on that front. Check this out:

 

The other thing I would point out is that the Xbox Live service offers a lot of additional online functionality beyond games, which might make it appealing for you. For example, I actually use our Xbox to stream movies and TV more than I do for playing games. And if you're into sports, the UFC and ESPN services on Xbox Live are worth a look.

 

And as others have mentioned, the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) service also allows you to download smaller games for $5-$20.

 

In my (very biased) opinion, it's a no-brainer to go for the X360 + Kinect over the Wii, unless your son has a strong loyalty or attachment to Nintendo's exclusive IP (e.g. Mario, Zelda, Pokemon).

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Guest misterstockwell

Leftcoast--I left out the TV/music part. In our household, we have a windows media center PC with a Ceton Corp 4-tuner card to handle our TV, along with 50,000+ songs. There are 3 Xbox's throughout the house as extenders for that. The new voice control via Kinect is awesome. I heard my wife in the basement this morning barking out orders to the Xbox before getting on the treadmill "XBOX--VIDEO--MY VIDEO APPS--MEDIA CENTER" I think Microsoft's development on the Xbox will provide consumers with many more benefits over time vs. the Wii. It is destined to become the home entertainment hub as well as a gaming machine.

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Leftcoast,

 

I just bought XBOX 360 with Kinect for the kids for Xmas.

 

I plan to set up Live through our WIFI at home and stream entertainment. But being somewhat cheap and ignorant, I bought the 4GB version. Will I still be able to stream content on Live with so little memory? Will a USB memory stick work? If not, what do I do?

 

 

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Leftcoast,

 

I just bought XBOX 360 with Kinect for the kids for Xmas.

 

I plan to set up Live through our WIFI at home and stream entertainment. But being somewhat cheap and ignorant, I bought the 4GB version. Will I still be able to stream content on Live with so little memory? Will a USB memory stick work? If not, what do I do?

 

ROMC - Yes, you will be able to stream content on your new X360. The 4GB vs. 250GB versions refer to the size of the hard drive storage, not the system memory. And the good news is that you don't need the hard drive for services like Netflix, Zune video, Zune music, Last.FM, Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, or Hulu. All of this content streams off the internet and is not stored locally on the console. (Just like Youtube.)

 

The hard drive is used for downloading content that is stored on the machine. Here are the main purposes I can think of:

  • Purchasing and downloading full retail games via Xbox Live instead of buying a disc in a store. For this, you will definitely need a bigger HDD because most games require well above 4GB of storage space.
  • Downloading additional game content like extra multiplayer maps, new music, new levels, etc.
  • Downloading game demos.
  • Downloading Xbox Live Arcade games. These are smaller games that are only distributed digitally.

 

So basically the only thing you really need a big hard drive for is if you expect to download extra content for your games. If you do a lot of this, then you should consider getting more storage space. Yes, you can use a USB Flash drive (or an external USB hard drive if you have one) for extra storage, but only 16GB of it will be recognized by the X360, so it doesn't get you a lot of extra space.

 

Another, more MSFT shareholder-friendly option is to purchase the hard drive upgrade that Microsoft sells for around $120 or so. It's an accessory that you can buy anytime, so it probably makes sense to just wait to see if you really need it.

 

Merry Christmas! I'm sure your kids are going to be very happy on Sunday morning.

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Leftcoast--I left out the TV/music part. In our household, we have a windows media center PC with a Ceton Corp 4-tuner card to handle our TV, along with 50,000+ songs. There are 3 Xbox's throughout the house as extenders for that. The new voice control via Kinect is awesome. I heard my wife in the basement this morning barking out orders to the Xbox before getting on the treadmill "XBOX--VIDEO--MY VIDEO APPS--MEDIA CENTER" I think Microsoft's development on the Xbox will provide consumers with many more benefits over time vs. the Wii. It is destined to become the home entertainment hub as well as a gaming machine.

 

Yeah, and the new Xbox Live dashboard that was rolled out 2 weeks ago also added voice search via Bing, which is really handy for finding content. Just say "XBOX - BING - BREAKING BAD" and it will instantly find everything related to the show, including soundtracks. No more hunting around for stuff.

 

Yes, the Xbox is becoming much more than just a game console.

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For an 8 year old, I'd probably say Wii. My brother's kid is 6 and loves Lego Batman and those kind of titles on the Wii (even if he is a bit young to handle all the puzzles). I think most good exclusive titles on Xbox and PS3 are generally too advanced (and bloody, if that's an issue) for a pre-teen kid and the Wii is cheaper. The Wiimote thing seems to be very engaging for kids, but if you are looking for deeper gaming experiences it's an unnecessary gimick imo.

 

If sports games are the big thing then I would recommend Xbox because the controllers are better suited for that and the EA Sports titles are optimized for Xbox/PS3 and not for Wii. Online gaming has taken sports titles to a new level as far as I'm concerned. In that respect PS3 has an edge on Xbox since the online play is free.

 

Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros on the Wii are awesome titles for any age, though. I was 10 when i played Zelda for the first time but I reckon an 8 year old could handle that decently too. Haven't played the latest Zelda, though.

 

I'm a huge former Nintendo nerd but only play Fifa on my PS3 and the occasional RPG on computer these days, fwiw.

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