First console advice from Dr Uncle Chad

Posted on July 23, 2014

I’m so proud right now… *sniff* My nephew is buying his first console. I was quite flattered when he asked me for advice, but thought my response might interest other readers too. The query went like this:

Hi its [Mr. 9] where is the best place to get an x box and which x box should I get and also what are some good games but that don’t have guns swords are ok thanks

Harvey Norman seems the best place to go for the cheapest consoles: I don’t really like their attitude towards retail trade (especially online), but they sure keep the prices down on console packages. JB HiFi can be competitive as well but have more availability issues, in my experience. Call ahead to ensure your local store has specials in stock, or try price matching if you have a favoured retailer (GameTraders is worth supporting as a local option).

My advice to Mr 9 was to go with the Xbox 360 4GB, which is going for a sweet $188 at the moment. As long as the console isn’t used for storing lots of music and video the capacity will serve fine, and the hardware is otherwise the same. The other option is the $298 bundle, which has a full 250GB of memory and a number of really great games thrown in… but you would have to be much closer to 15 years of age to get value from the package.

Best current deals on Xbox 360; source:

Best current deals on Xbox 360; source:

It’s worth noting that if you want to play multiplayer you should buy an extra controller (around $60-$70) as consoles only ship with one. There are two main options: a battery-pack controller (which works fine but requires replacing or recharging batteries) or a power-pack controller, which comes with a rechargeable unit that plugs into the console but will set you back around $15 more. It’s worth the cash to me to dispense with battery concerns, but you need to keep on top of the power level in any case.

Finally, games. OK, this is obviously a subjective call but I’ll explain some of the options that I prefer for younger gamers. Here goes:

  • Minecraft 360: the go-to game for kids of any age on any platform (limited to swords and bows). Stay tuned for a ‘best game ever made’ blog post;
  • Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed: another great, accessible game – a kart racer not unlike Mario Kart, it is forgiving and fun, and great for multiplayer;
  • NBA2K14 and NBA Jam: Mr 9 is a huge basketball fan so I couldn’t not recommend these;
  • FIFA13, or actually any sports game – they tend to be rated for younger players and have great multiplier options;
  • Street Fighter x Tekken – rated PG, a slightly more mature game: technically a fighting game but very stylised and fun; best played under adult supervision (or with adults!) for under 15s; recommended with caution and maybe not for a couple of years yet.

That’s a start: there are many more, but it’s always useful to check the ratings classification and reasons for ratings given: for example, if no online play is involved, much of the reason for a higher rating might become redundant. Further advice is available from Common Sense Media.

With these guidelines and some judicious buying, the most awesome page of growing up is about to open … Now go have fun!

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