Roadtrip - Game on!

We're planning an 18 hour roadtrip to reach our favorite ski destination this year. We'll likely be traveling with 7 people - and three are my kids.  To make it a success, we decided that we will buy a gaming system for the car only. Since neither of us are gaming console afficiados, I've been researching what system we should acquire for the car.

Our criteria:

  • Must be multi-player games - we don't want the kids to be heads down lost in a PSP or a DS.  Plus, we want the gaming system to live in the car - only to come on after one hour of good behavior.
  • Should not encourage them to smack each other
  • Large library of not exhorbitant games appropriate for kids under 10

Obviously - must be car friendly for installation and durability.

I visited Best Buy, Audio Sounds, Toys R Us and GameStop.  No comparison in terms of useful information.  The first three told me that I could probably use a WII (I think it's cute and fun) but that any system would do.  GameStop was truly informed. 

The Nintendo WII

Very cute, age appropriate - but the WII just isn't a car gaming system - too many of the games require movement and are seriously less fun without movement.  If we wanted to have the system in the house and car, then we could have only the most sedentary WII games, but it would be silling to spend that much money on a system and on the games if it's only purpose is sedentary play.

The XBox 360

This is an excellent gaming console - but for older children. The games are expensive, complicated and often violent.  It can play movies - but we have DVD players in the car that are embedded into the screens - so we don't need that feature. It also doesn't like being shook up all that much and should be installed in such a way that it won't bounce.

The PS3

This is also a mature gaming console - with wireless controllers that will make the car less cluttered.  The games are as expensive, complicated and violent as the XBox 360.  We don't own BlueRay discs, so that's not valuable either. It does apparently travel better than the XBox.

The PS2

We have a winner!  The console is value-priced - appropriate for a car-only system for our young kids.  The games are abundant and there are plenty that are priced low because they're pre-owned, but fine. There are wireless consoles available (we bought two wireless consoles). It's hardy - you can toss it around on the floor of the car and it won't complain. Sony is committed to one more year of PS2 support AND GameStop is committed to another year after that.

By the time there's limited support for the PS2, the next generation of systems will be available and we can revisit, if necessary, what console to put in the car.  Personally, we had an Atari 2600 in the basement when I was a kid and that was our only gaming system for 10 years.  I suspect my kids will be using the PS2, in the car on roadtrips, for a long, long time. But don't tell them - they won't even see the system and initial games until Hanukkah - when they find out it's in the car!


Please don't stop the music

My music collection, never the edgiest, stopped growing a couple years after I graduated college. There was a sudden influx of new music when my son was born – nursery rhymes, Disney lullabies and other “appropriate music”. As I planned a party for my husband’s birthday, it was very clear that I neither knew any of the fun, cool music nor owned anything later than the early 90s.

It’s not my plan to be one of those parents who complains about my kids’ music. I never really cared if other people liked my music and I don’t need to fake affection for songs in order to fit in with my kids. But I like to dance and sing and I needed to update my music library.

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