the November/December issue of Children's Ministry Magazine, I
reviewed Nintendo's newest video game console, the Wii U.
Nintendo declared it the first next-generation console to hit the
market. It released publicly on November 18, and it's reported that more than 400,000 were sold in
the first week.
Your may have heard your kids talking about the system.
According to research by Nielsen, 39 percent of U.S. kids
between the ages of 6 and 12 have it on their wish list (second
only to Apple's iPad).
I grew up on the original Super Mario Bros., and Nintendo has
always been a favorite of mine. On the 17th, I dragged
my wife with me to the local electronics store and we waited
outside for hours until the midnight release of the new system. I
called it a date night, but I think she disagrees with me.
If you haven't yet seen it, the big twist is that the Wii U's
controllers feature a touch-sensitive screen. Nintendo hopes this
extra twist will provide new experiences for gamers, including
"asymmetrical game play," where friends can play the same game in
Here are five things you-and parents-need to know about the Wii
1. Price: I know many ministries love having a
cool place where the kids can hang out before and after church. If
you were thinking about picking up a Wii U for your game room, keep
in mind the price. The basic Wii U costs $299.99, and the deluxe
set is $349.99. You can see the differences between the two sets here. The deluxe
set comes with Nintendo Land, a game that shows off what the Wii U
system can do. The game is great and costs about the difference in
price between the two sets.
2. Controllers: Going along with price, keep in
mind that the system uses the original Wii controllers as well as
the game pad included with the Wii U. The good news, if you are a
Wii owner, is that the same controllers can be used. The bad news,
if you aren't, is that you will need to buy additional controllers
to get the full effect.
3. Parental Locks: Nintendo included a built-in
social network called the "Miiverse" where players around the world
can communicate. Nintendo reps say that the chat and messaging will
be safe and secure for gamers of all ages, but if you don't use the
parental controls included on the system, you may find some
questionable content from time to time. As with any new tech item,
learn to use the parental controls and keep an eye on your kids as
4. Lessons Learned: I love the "asymmetrical
game play" the system provides and the lessons that can be learned
from it. Take Nintendo Land, included in the deluxe package, for
example. Players work together and against each other in different
games. In the game "Pikmin Adventure," everyone works together and
must share resources, come up with a plan, and communicate
clearly-or else fail their mission. After playing "Mario Chase,"
(which is another Nintendo Land game in which one player runs away
from the other players chasing him), you can compare that with what
it feels like when temptation is chasing us down. It never gives
up, and you have to keep running the race to not get trapped.
5. Other Options: With the release of a new
system, prices are going to drop on other systems. In fact, reports
say Nintendo will re-release a mini version of the original Wii for
$99 in Canada. So even if the Wii U doesn't fall within your price
range, it might have made other options that were previously out of
your budget available to you.
My wife and I have been playing the Wii U for a couple of weeks
now, and we love it. I can see families coming together around the
system and playing together in new ways.
What do you think? Do you have a game room for your kids? Do you
let them bring in video games? When is the last time you played a
game with your kids outside of Sunday school? Share your thoughts
in the comment section below!