Video game system for 4 year old?

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vrplumber

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I want to get a video game system for my 4 year old nephew. I was thinking maybe one of the mini consoles, something you can just plug into a tv and go, or maybe a cheap handheld. What would be a good system for someone that young?

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Ry_Ry

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If the parents are asking for a video game machine then I'd go with a Wii and Mario Kart. I personally think 4 years old is a bit young for video games. I'd focus on board games, puzzles, books, and craft supplies for your nephew.

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Sombre

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Don't buy videogames for a 4 year old

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navster15

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@sombre: Nah, 4 is a good age to get started. I got my NES when I was 4. I was terrible at Mario until I developed better motor skills, but I enjoyed it all the same.

OP, as long as you get the kid something cheap and it plays 2D Mario, I think you’re golden.

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creutzfeldt

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I'd go with an iPad.

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someoneproud

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As others have said, anything Nintendo should have plenty of stuff they'll be able to play and enjoy, or a tablet of some kind. It's never too early to be developing motor and problem solving skills imo.

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siftypes

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It's probably not a bad idea to go with one of those smaller plug-and-plays, or any older console without internet functionality. It sounds like the kid's parents aren't particularly savvy, so you'd be doing them a favor by going with a system that isn't going to throw updates and connectivity errors at them all the time.

Something like a GameCube or an older DS can probably stand up to the usual punishment a 4-year-old can throw out. If you have access to cheap vintage consoles, I think a kid that young could get a lot of mileage out of a Genesis or an SNES proper, though that can be really expensive or really cheap depending on your immediate local area. Get lucky at a thrift shop and you could set a kid up with years of entertainment for $50.

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Justin258

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@ry_ry said:

If the parents are asking for a video game machine then I'd go with a Wii and Mario Kart. I personally think 4 years old is a bit young for video games. I'd focus on board games, puzzles, books, and craft supplies for your nephew.

Nonsense, I got a Game Boy a little after I turned 5 and I turned out OK!

...that said, don't get the kid a modern console or PC. Get him or her one of those flat 2DSs, this one, and some simpler games for him to try. Either that or a NES or SNES classic. The general idea I'm getting at is that a five year old might play it for five minutes and never touch video games again or might spend all day playing it for the next five years.

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vrplumber

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@justin258: I was looking at the SNES classic, and I think that would be ideal, but I hope they release some more units. The used market has them over $200 :(

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vrplumber

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That 2ds might do the trick

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Zelyre

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Raspberry Pi and Retropi.

curate a games list. Controller can be cheap. Once its setup, it doesnt need to go on the internet.

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Justin258

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#13  Edited By Justin258

@vrplumber said:

@justin258: I was looking at the SNES classic, and I think that would be ideal, but I hope they release some more units. The used market has them over $200 :(

...oh. I did not know they had skyrocketed like that. I could have sworn I saw a few last time I was in Best Buy.

Maybe try checking your local used games stores or shop around? I really think the SNES classic would be best if you could find one.

A Raspberry Pi and one of those 8BitDo SNES controllers might be the way to go. Alternatively - and you might hate me for saying this - perhaps there's still some surplus stock of those Playstation classics? I don't think that would be as good as a SNES, but it's a lot cheaper and there's virtually zero set up.

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Rigas

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Since you didn't mention anything about his parents. I'll assume they are onboard. The 2DS is sturdy and can take the rough and tumble of a small child.

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Shindig

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I don't think it matters, y'know. I played some absolute shit as a kid and was happy enough.

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north6

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#16  Edited By north6

@vrplumber said:

@justin258: I was looking at the SNES classic, and I think that would be ideal, but I hope they release some more units. The used market has them over $200 :(

...oh. I did not know they had skyrocketed like that. I could have sworn I saw a few last time I was in Best Buy.

Maybe try checking your local used games stores or shop around? I really think the SNES classic would be best if you could find one.

A Raspberry Pi and one of those 8BitDo SNES controllers might be the way to go. Alternatively - and you might hate me for saying this - perhaps there's still some surplus stock of those Playstation classics? I don't think that would be as good as a SNES, but it's a lot cheaper and there's virtually zero set up.

Snes classic looks like it's around $120, but that is still too much. Kid is 4? Just don't get them anything too expensive, maybe a wii, and yeah, probably something that plays mario. You are wasting money otherwise, and you're also setting them up with some kind of point of reference. Kids are spoiled as shit these days.

/grumpyoldman

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someoneproud

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@shindig: Haha that resonates, I remember playing some shite Punch & Judy game on the commodore 64 when I was real young, loved it despite it being god awful by any measure.

@north6: Yeah I was pretty spoiled as a kid honestly but my nieces and nephews are on a whole different level. They only have to mention wanting something, anything, and someone immediately rushes off to get it. One of them has 3 X1s (2 of them X's) and 2 base PS4s between different households, along with an obscene number of tablets, smartphones and other devices.

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thebipsnbeeps

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Get a SNES, it's what I had when I was four and look at me now I make money and drink coffee in the morning.

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Petteri

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android tablet or ipad and install some game apps

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Alias

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I think the mini consoles are a pretty good idea. I'd probably go for the NES because the games are probably simple enough to be fully understood immediately. I have no idea how well a 4 year old would get on playing Super Metroid for instance but am fairly certain they would have a heck of a time playing Mario 1, 2 and 3.

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Rongaryen

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A raspberry pi setup with retroarch and a curated list of games would be a cheap way to go with lots of potential nintendo games for him to play.

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alwaysbebombing

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PC and a copy of Manhunt

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Fistoh

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#23  Edited By Fistoh

Used to work in a game store and I always would recommend the 2DS as a system for younger kids. Plenty of 3DS games young kids can enjoy and the whole original DS library as well, and a lot of those games are getting dirt cheap. There is also a pretty wide virtual console library if you want to show them some classics.

Plus a lot of it can be gotten digitally, which removes the inevitability of them losing those tiny cartridges. If they take to it, there are enough great games to keep them occupied for years.

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TheRealTurk

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A book? Or maybe an Etch-a-Sketch?

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Grocery_Bag

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I recommend not getting an NES or SNES classic for a four-year-old. Games that we find nostalgic don’t really translate well to a young child in 2020.

I bought one for my nephew when he was four and doesn’t even touch it. He is six now and I bought him a Nintendo switch light for Christmas which he plays, but at six years old he spends more time playing Jurassic World evolution on the computer than any other game.

Kids like simple things like dinosaurs and Spiderman

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JamesBomb

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Video games are a bit dubious at that age. Consumption should be kept to a minimum, so much so that I don't believe there exists - in a strict sense - any appropriate console. There are specific *titles* that jump to mind as safe - potentially beneficial; Tetris, The Witness, Snakebird Primer, Minecraft... I wouldn't stray too far outside the realm of single-player, non-competitive puzzle games.

If the parents have a PC or Tablet that could be used for "Game Time," I'd just keep with that and buy them some of the titles I mentioned.

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thefizz

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@jamesbomb: My brother who was 3 years older than me got our dad to get him a NES. Or my dad just thought it would be rad to own one. Anyway, I seriously remember being like 4 or 5 and playing shit Super Mario Bros. and Kid Icarus. Basically becoming conscious of my surroundings with a controller in my hands.

Also telling a 4 year old to play The Witness is sick and twisted. Watch that kid hate videogames forever.

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Sonic16Bitz

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I'd say go with a Nintendo 2DS, honestly. They can survive quite a lot and the library has plenty of kid friendly games.