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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Console Gaming



There are plenty of great PC games, but for most folks, the easiest way to play videogames is with a gaming console: hook it up to your TV, load a game disc, grab the controller, and you’re good to go. 

But which gaming console? Right now there are three main competitors to choose from: Sony’s PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox, and Nintendo’s Wii. Let’s take a quick look at each... 

Sony PlayStation 4 The PS’s graphics are stunning -- and this is the only videogame console that plays the winning format in the next-generation DVD war. Get a PlayStation, and you won’t have to spend hundreds more to play high-def Blu-Ray movies. Plus, while the PS’s online gaming isn’t as hot as the hardware, it’s thankfully free. Popular PlayStation games: Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil, Madden NFL.

Microsoft Xbox One Powerful video hardware for high-def games (connects to your high-def TV via HDMI, the highest-quality interface available). Plenty of games available -- especially violent games like Halo, but there are also lots of not-so-bloody options, too. Outstanding online gaming (but most of it requires an Xbox Live Gold paid subscription, which lists for $54.99/year). Popular Xbox games: Halo 4, Call of Duty 4, Forza 5, Guitar Hero. 

Nintendo Wii. Nintendo surrendered to Sony and Microsoft in the “cutting-edge graphics” department: the Wii’s video capabilities don’t compare to its competitors. But Nintendo’s invented a machine that anyone can play: one that’s more physical than any other console. To play the Wii’s baseball or tennis games, you don’t just press buttons: you swing, throw, move. And that’s attracted loads of folks who never played video games before (including millions of moms, and not a few grandmoms). Popular Wii games: Super Mario Galaxy, Wii Fit (calisthenics), Wii Play (9 mini games, from table tennis to fishing, bundled with remote). 

If you’re on a budget, and don’t need to be on the cutting edge, Sony still sells the enormously successful PlayStation 3. As we write this, it’s roughly $199, and loads of used games are available dirt cheap. Speaking of cheap, eBay’s packed with very low-cost last-generation PSs, Xboxes, and Nintendo GameCubes – many available for well under $100.

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