Typically, I don’t cry over my Christmas presents. I did twice (that I’m willing to share about). The first was the year that I got Lincoln Logs and didn’t want them. That was back when parents still thought spankings were best practice. The second was the year I wanted an Atari 2600 and refused to take no for an answer. That was back when children still got no for an answer.

Now that I’m an old parent myself, I can see why I got the Lincoln Logs and why they were so much more important than winning the war for the Atari.

Looking back, I’m so embarrassed at my massive meltdowns—the begging, the cajoling, the crocodile tears. It was quite the drama. I wore down my mom, and she came through with my dream game system.

The dream quickly faded.

A few hours after the glorious unwrapping of my Atari, I realized that the scorched earth policy I had embarked upon had a gaping flaw…I got my game system, but I didn’t get the cool games that I had dreamed of playing. It was a steady, bland diet of Combat and Pac-Man for me. I quickly discovered that it was impossible to bomb and chomp my way into serenity.

Fast forward three decades. My son loves gaming and unlike me, he’s actually good at it. And, why wouldn’t he love it? The games are amazing (at least the thunderous sounds of hundreds of watts pouring through the subwoofer and down our halls sure sound like fun)!

But even the most ear-piercing fun is sure to become boring after a while. New games will be on his latest list of must-haves.

As the holidays approach, what games might you consider for your gift-giving extravaganzas?

As with movies and music, age appropriateness is always key. Hopefully, your 2nd grader isn’t hanging out with a tub of popcorn, a large fizzy drink and the latest rated R movie. And, hopefully, he or she isn’t playing rated M games either. Yes, “no” is still sometimes a good word to use with children.

But, you’re looking to say “yes,” and the following games might be just right for your kiddos this year.

Lego Dimensions is the ultimate in Toys-to-Life game play. The price might be a little unreal for some, but being able to move from real-life play to the screen and back is an experience that almost any Lego lover will be excited to embrace—just don’t step on a rogue brick!

Skylanders SuperChargers is the game for action-packed race machines with a mission. With creative and dynamic vehicles and an exciting challenge, kids of all ages can join in the mission to stop Kaos and protect the Skylands.

Disney Infinity 3.0 is the Star Wars game for all ages. Another compelling Toys-to-Life game, there couldn’t be a better time to catch the wave of excitement about the Star Wars franchise. And if the teen in your house is too cool for school with Disney Infinity 3.0,

Star Wars Battlefront might be just his or her thing. On the heels of what is likely to be the biggest movie opening ever, you can’t go wrong with this EA interpretation of the classic interstellar battle.

Finally, the Forza series has a new offering: Forza Motorsport 6. Unlike other series, Forza is easily accessible for newcomers. This latest iteration adds in some gaping missing elements, providing night racing, weather elements and destructible environments—a dimensionality that will make racing more real than ever.

While you’re browsing through GameStop, Amazon or another purveyor of digital dream making, you’ll find that there are a lot of little stocking stuffers along the way to your big video game purchases. There’s Star Wars and Avengers collectibles, Batman socks and don’t miss out on the Iron Man action figure—he’ll give any Elf on the Shelf a run for his money.

Beyond the stocking-stuffers, the kids will want to dive into their digital world, and you’ll be happy to know that there’s a bevy of options for them to pursue—hopefully, with only tears of joy!


Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the executive director at STARRY in Round Rock.


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