Q. I have twin grandsons that are 14 and absolutely love playing video games. They're always playing games on their smartphones. Their parents are buying them a Wii U for Christmas and I want to have some games to give them as gifts, too. I just don't know what games are cool. I don't want to buy them any games they already have on their smartphones! Can you help me find some good games that are just for the Wii U?
-Roland, from Columbia, SD, listens to my national radio show on KSDN 930 AM.
A. Don't fret too much, Roland. Mobile gadgets and home consoles play very different games. So, it's almost impossible to mistakenly buy a game they already have on their gadget.
It's entirely possible to buy a bad game, though. With new games released every week, there are many more misses than there are hits on stores shelves. Since most games cost more than $50, you want to make sure your grandkids will enjoy them.
Two recently-released favorites are Assassin's Creed III and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Both involve amazingly-detailed graphics and hours upon hours of gameplay on the Wii U, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
However, both games are rated "Mature" and depict realistic war, killing and death. You'll definitely want to clear them with your grandsons' parents before you even think about buying them. I'd avoid them all together.
Click here for more information on the video game rating system and how you can test out games to make sure they're appropriate.
A safer buy would be Avengers: Battle For Earth. It's incredibly popular on the Xbox 360 and was recently released for the Wii U. Players assume the role of Spider-Man, Wolverine and other comic superheroes through motion gaming. Though there is some fighting game violence, it's very cartoony. That will be more age appropriate for younger teens. Plus, motion-gaming is a more interactive experience. If interactivity is a big selling point, check out Just Dance 4. It's available for all of the home systems and features 50 pop songs they can dance along with. Skylanders is another popular interactive game, though it's not a motion game. Instead, there are collectible toys that are teleported into the game. The latest version, Skylanders: Giants, adds new oversized figurines. Collecting all the Skylanders toys from both games can cost more than $1,000, but isn't necessarily required. Just know that it's a more long-term investment than most games.
The premier collect-them-all favorite, Pokemon, has new versions out for the Nintendo DS, too. However, Pokemon White and Black 2 have been out long enough that most kids who want it probably already have it.
As for the old standby Mario, he has a new game for the Wii U. New Super Mario Bros. U shows off most of what the Wii U is capable of. Other favorites like Sonic are making their way off of consoles and onto smartphones and tablets, though.
That's because mobile gadgets are replacing handheld gaming gadgets for many kids. You might want to look into buying them gift cards that can help them buy new mobile games. I'll show you how to do that in this tip.
The Wii U's stunning sales numbers show that games are still a hot ticket for the holidays. Here are three things to think about before you buy.