Even though our children’s friends have received electronic games for presents, my wife and I have generally resisted this. We bought a Nintendo Wii to emphasize “family” gaming in a controlled setting but there is something about games like the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP that have a strong appeal to kids.
So in response to the repeated please we have told our kids they need to save their money. And one day they called our bluff - they had enough money to buy their own. One bought a Nintendo DS and one bought an iPod Touch. After the jump I’ve included my observations about each as they would apply to a young (pre-teen) child’s use.
Nintendo DS: This is by far the most popular handheld game that my children’s friends use. It is also the noisiest and in my opinion the most unoriginal. Two small screens, loud beeping and old-style controls combined with a card-based game distribution system make for…a video game and many trips to GameStop for games. Yes it has a pen and Wi-Fi but those seem more like afterthoughts. Not impressive.
iPod Touch: The games available on the Touch are not the heavy graphics and classic titles you’ll find on Nintendo but the Touch is a more versatile device. My daughter uses her Touch for games (there are games like PopMath that are great for learning times tables) as well as music, movies, e-books (she has a book about Abraham Lincoln from Amazon) and a few classic games like Hangman, Pac-Man, etc. This is perfect for her, and my son (who bought the Nintendo DS) is a little jealous of her iPod. She keeps a calendar, a few contacts and hasn’t even really gotten into the internet stuff yet (we’ve tuned much of it off) but loves getting her daily weather report to figure out what to wear to school
If I were buying a game console for a child today I would seriously consider an iPod Touch over a PSP or DS. The games are cheap and instantly downloadable and the device is far, far more versatile even without the internet features like email, browsing, etc. When you add in the internet capability it blows the other products away.