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Features by Andy Robertson

Here's what we've recently added to the database and what's trending with our parent readers. With thousands of parents and carers checking the database for information about the video games their children are playing we have our finger on the pulse of gaming in the family.

 
22/11/2021 / 8 weeks ago / Andy Robertson

Each year our readers vote on their favourite games by clicking the heart symbol on each game page. Parents, carers and the wider family come to make their voices heard about the games that matter to them. While this may differ from other critic-selected or more commercially minded game awards, we like to think that the Family Video Game Database game of the year is the one that families pick for themselves.

 
24/09/2021 / 3 months ago / Andy Robertson

We have 1693 in the database. Even though we only add games that are unique, unusual or particularly interesting for families, that's a lot of games to thumb through. Along with the lists and search our editors pick their favourite games each month.

 
24/09/2021 / 3 months ago / Andy Robertson

An important step towards healthy family gaming is getting an accurate understanding of the kind of media games are. This gaming inventory is a structured way to start mapping, navigating and guiding this part of your child's life.

 
14/09/2021 / 4 months ago / Andy Robertson

A big driver of which console you choose may well be the games your children want to play. While the most popular titles, like Fortnite and FIFA are available on all systems, there are some titles that are only available on one particular platform.

 
13/09/2021 / 4 months ago / Andy Robertson

Here's the story of video games, so far, and what sort of kit you need to consider getting to play them. As you can see, much of this technology you probably already own.

 
11/09/2021 / 4 months ago / Andy Robertson

Like most ways to play, video games are fun on your own, but much more fun with other people. Online video games are a positive and connecting way to play. However, as children move into this space it can be hard to know how to protect, support and guide them.

 
25/08/2021 / 4 months ago / Andy Robertson

Whether you have an Xbox system already or are looking to make a decision over whether to buy one, here are all our game suggestions and exclusives for the main Xbox systems. Xbox consoles improve visuals, sound and loading times as they developed:

 
23/08/2021 / 4 months ago / Andy Robertson

Whether you have a Nintendo system already or are looking to make a decision over whether to buy one, here are all our game suggestions and exclusives for the main Nintendo systems. Unlike other consoles, these focus on gameplay and interactions rather than visuals:

 
23/08/2021 / 4 months ago / Andy Robertson

Whether you have a PlayStation system already or are looking to make a decision over whether to buy one, here are all our game suggestions and exclusives for the main PlayStation systems. These improve visuals and interactions with each generation along with the following enhancements:

 
20/08/2021 / 5 months ago / Andy Robertson

We are still working out what video games are, and how to talk about them. Unlike books or films, we don't yet have a very developed way of talking about the wide-ranging benefits and experiences that video games offer. Over the years I have used different metaphors to help uncover hidden aspects of video games.

 
27/07/2021 / 5 months ago / Andy Robertson

It's easy to assume that video games are too complicated, quick or confusing to be enjoyed by those of us who didn't grow up with them. However, much of this comes from not having the experience and understand of how video games help lead us into their worlds.

 
27/07/2021 / 5 months ago / Andy Robertson

Getting the technology set up to access the games in this book – and automatically keep things safe and sensible – isn’t complicated or expensive, although, yes, I know it can seem like it when you encounter it for the first time.

 
27/07/2021 / 5 months ago / Andy Robertson

Before a console, it’s worth asking friends and family whether you could borrow one to try it out. Failing that, you can purchase second-hand consoles and older smartphones at a discount price (and often with a shop warranty for peace of mind).

 
27/07/2021 / 5 months ago / Andy Robertson

Online gaming is an increasingly important part of the gaming experience for children. These are games that enable multiple players to collaborate and compete when not sat in the same room. These range from football and car racing with a few other players, to online war games involving hundreds of other players from around the globe.

 
27/07/2021 / 5 months ago / Andy Robertson

If you’re giving a new game console, smartphone, tablet or portable gaming device as a gift to a child, it’s important that you set things up yourself before wrapping that big present.

 
27/07/2021 / 5 months ago / Andy Robertson

As children get older they will likely ask for games that friends are talking about in the playground. There is no rush to get the latest titles or gaming consoles, and before you do it’s good to consider which games are must-haves and which are optional. This will inform which game hardware you decide to purchase. An Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo game console is a good way to keep this simple, as they come with everything you need in one package.

 
27/07/2021 / 5 months ago / Andy Robertson

To guide children to healthy video game enjoyment we need to understand them in a holistic way - the games as well as the children. If a child is obsessively reading books, we have a sense that there is something good happening here regardless of the content of the book. We understand that the process of reading has many benefits.

 
26/07/2021 / 5 months ago / Andy Robertson

As part of our work to extend the coverage and accuracy of the accessibility data, we have worked with experts to create an Accessibility Questionnaire for developers to complete. This not only updates accessibility data in the database for their game but creates a powerful context for them to discover a wide range of accessibility features to consider adding.

 
15/07/2021 / 6 months ago / Andy Robertson

We all have different amounts of time available to play games in our lives. When children come along how much time we have to play games changes again. Games have to fit in around everything else going on.

 
13/07/2021 / 6 months ago / Andy Robertson

You can search for video games on the database on the basis of their content and skill level:

 
28/06/2021 / 6 months ago / Andy Robertson

'But there's nothing else to do,' is a common refrain from a child who has been stopped from playing yet another hour of video games. 'I just want to chill out with my friends,' is another emotion children point to when their playtime has been limited.

 
17/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

Everything we’ve discussed so far is all well and good, but doesn’t there come a time when enough is enough – or, rather, too much is too much? Engaging with video games, having healthy conversations about them and guiding your child’s play sounds good on paper. But what about children at the extreme end of the spectrum, where common sense and balance has become impossible in the face of obsession?

 
17/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

Some children love video games more than other forms of play. The common thinking is that they were susceptible to the tricks of a powerful industry with coercive technology. They got distracted from healthier hobbies.

 
17/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

Understanding the role that video games have in a child’s life not only clears space for parents and carers to guide them towards healthy habits but uncovers the benefits that video games have to offer.

 
17/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

Video games are relatively new. They may have been around for many years, but we are still only just starting to understand what they are and what that means for us and our children.

 
17/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

Video games aren't what they first appear to be. It's easy to assume they are only junk food, and see our job as minimising them in the lives of children. It's common to see them as powerfully persuasive and tricking children into playing longer than they want to.

 
17/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

‘If you’re worried about video games’ effects on children, why not just keep them out of the house?’ … ‘You wouldn’t leave your child with a bottle of vodka in their room, so why a video game?’ … ‘It’s simple, read the age ratings and just say no!’ … ‘Just limit them to an hour a day if they’ve done their homework and chores.’ … ‘Say no to the brats.’ … ‘Don’t let games rewire your child’s brain.’

 
17/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

If video games invite children to new worlds that build character, sociability, well-being, intuition and intelligence then why do we read so many scary stories about them creating violent behaviour, being addictive, encouraging gambling or enabling unwanted interactions with strangers?

 
17/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

The video games I played growing up were offline. If I wanted to play against someone else, I would have to take my console and large, heavy television to their house and fiddle with the network settings before we could play. It was exciting, but the complexity meant it was something for special occasions.

 
17/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

In the past video games have struggled to maintain profits from young audiences. The industry has pursued a variety of business models, from targeted family games on the Wii to movie tie-ins and selling toys that unlock in-game characters and levels as in Skylanders. This area of the market is still changing at a rapid pace.

 
17/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

Addiction is a worrying word for parents and carers of children who play a lot of video games. Children are absorbed by the gaming screen, twitching and grimacing as they play and often unaware of the world around them. They can find it hard to stop when asked to come to the table for mealtimes, do homework or go to bed. They appear to be obsessive and compulsive about their gaming.

 
16/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

Video games often involve violent virtual content. The exuberance and excitement of shooting or fighting have been fertile territory for big-budget games, not dissimilar in approach to blockbuster films. Add to this the competitive and interactive satisfaction of hitting a target with a gun and you can see why some video games have been drawn to taking this approach.

 
16/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

We are a small grass-roots team working on the database. Many of the best features of the database, and many of our favourite games have been added because of readers getting in touch with suggestions.

 
11/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

If you would like to write about the database or are looking for comment on video games, violence, addiction, gambling and online harms, our editor Andy Robertson is available for appearances, interviews and quotes. You can call him on 07540 717270 or Press Contact email.

 
11/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

With 1693 games on the database the search tool is a useful way of finding games that suit your family. It's designed for you to select the Age Rating, System, In-Game Purchases, Number of Players and Duration to match the needs and technology of your family.

 
10/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

We have 1693 games in the database. Even though we only add games that are unique, unusual or particularly interesting for families, that's a lot of games to thumb through. Along with the lists and search our editors pick their favourite games each month.

 
10/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

Game subscriptions cover two aspects of playing video games:

 
09/06/2021 / 7 months ago / Andy Robertson

In addition to the Accessibility section for each game, some systems provide built-in accessibility features. The advantage of these is that they will generally work on every game. The downside is that they are not tailored to a specific gaming scenario.

 
10/01/2021 / a year ago / Andy Robertson

We have worked with a range of accessibility experts to add key accessibility data to the database for game Difficulty, Reading, Navigation, Controls, Visuals, Audio and Communication. These 100 or so data points are designed to highlight accessibility features that video games offer, both from inclusive design and specific accessibility settings.

 
10/01/2021 / a year ago / Andy Robertson

Features
FEATURE
Along with understanding the games your child is playing, it's important to build a wider knowledge of their hobby. Our in-depth features are a chance to dive deep into one topic. Some of these grew out of research for the Taming Gaming book, while others are in response to questions and concerns parents and guardians have.

 
01/01/2021 / 12 months ago / Andy Robertson

Systems
FEATURE
Along with finding games about a particular theme, or for a particular genre, a good way to find games is via the system you own. We have some pages to help you decide which is the best system for your family:

 
01/01/2021 / 12 months ago / Andy Robertson

Everything you need to know about getting Minecraft working online for you and your wider family. Which systems support split screen. Getting online with split-screen for more players. Playing with people on different platforms. What subscriptions you need: Realms Plus, Xbox Live Gold, PlayStation Plus, Nintendo Online and Microsoft accounts.

 
18/12/2020 / 13 months ago / Andy Robertson

It is becoming increasingly popular for children to want a Gaming PC rather than a dedicated Console. This is a computer with a dedicated graphics card to run games and a gamepad or gaming mouse for controls. It offers access to a wider range of games, is useful for other activities like homework, video and music editing or programming and can be upgraded rather than replaced when it's out of date. However, it is a more expensive and complex option than a console.

 
11/11/2020 / 14 months ago / Andy Robertson

When you are deciding which console to buy for your family there is plenty of advice about which is best: Switch, Xbox Series X|S or PlayStation 5. This page has all the information to help you make this choice.

 
27/10/2020 / 14 months ago / Andy Robertson

The Nintendo DS and 3DS/2DS offers a feature for some games where you can play on multiple systems with one copy of the game. This is a great way to save money for multiplayer games.

 
14/05/2020 / 20 months ago / Andy Robertson

The Family Video Game Database has been created to help parents, carers and guardians gain a deeper understanding of video games. Through unusual lists of games, detailed search and alternative suggestions we connect families with amazing, affordable video games that are valued by adults and children.

 
08/04/2020 / 21 months ago / Andy Robertson

Curated lists of games are a popular way for parents and guardians to find new games for their family to play. Like Netflix's unusual and quirky collections of films, these offer games in categories, themes and groupings that may seem unusual at first, but are carefully designed to highlight a particular aspect of video games.

 
11/03/2020 / 22 months ago / Andy Robertson

The Taming Gaming book and this Family Video Game Database are designed to complement each other. The database is searchable and updated every day, while the book is a longer, slower look at the detail of video games and children's health. Together they aim equip you with confidence and literacy to take action in this area of your child's life so they can get the most from it and you can enjoy it as well.

 
04/03/2020 / 22 months ago / Andy Robertson

Genres
FEATURE
Along with finding games about a particular theme, or for a particular system, a good way to find games is via genres. These offer a way to categorise games by how you play and interact with them.

 
Andy Robertson

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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