Kickin' It Old School With Your Kids: Guide to The Perfect Retro Consoles for your Growing Gamer

So now you have kids... they are not really ready to rock your Next Gen Consoles, but you want to rock some gaming with them? This is the guide for you!

So, now you have kids. Time for video games is slipping away from you minute by minute, day by day. What if I told you it didn't have to be that way? Because it doesn't! You can turn around and get your fill of nostalgia 'til green mushrooms are falling out of your ears and spend some quality time with your kids. What's that? Is that you yelling to me "HOW!?"? 

The media and society at large push the latest and greatest consoles down your throat. It doesn't mean that you need to buy those! A little bit of old school for the generation of gamers-to-be is both exciting and easy for toddlers. With more and more games lacking local Co-Op, nothing makes my three year old happer then holding a controller just like daddy, with two simple buttons on an old NES controller. 

I have broken down some classic systems into age groups with my top five games, to resurrect some old memories for you and to create new ones with your kids. 

Atari 2600: Age 18 months - 4 years old

With a easy to use joystick and only one button to worry about your toddler can easily navigate these older games and do pretty well (for a kid!). All while you have to chance to revisit some of the classics that will make you appeciate that PS4 or Xbox One even more:

  1. Pacman
  2. Pong 
  3. Frogger
  4. Space Invaders
  5. Galaga 

NES: Age 3-5 years old

Ah, the original D-Pad controller that revolutionized video gaming for generations to come. Armed with that and it's two buttons, it is no wonder why this classic and first to many gamers, myself included, would be the perfect fir for young toddlers and those wishing to save the Princess just like they used too. So pull out that light gun and get zapping!

  1. Super Mario Bros 
  2. Duck Hunt 
  3. Guerrilla War
  4. Super Mario Bros 3
  5. Gyromite

Sega Genesis: Age 4-6 years old

We've graduated to three buttons! Let's pull out some of the classics here and help your toddler put on those bright red sneakers, because all of us with kids know that colors are what helps things go fast. Sit down and enjoy some good old Sega titles and drool over what we use to play:

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  2. Power Rangers the Movie
  3. Altered Beast
  4.  Ghouls n' Ghosts
  5. Great Waldo Search

SNES: Age 4-6 years old

Four whole buttons! Not that you will ever use all four... but it looks nice. Time to hop on Yoshi and start eating random things. Disclaimer: I am not responsable if your kids try and fit the eggs out of the fridge in their mouth, though I would love to see a picture when that happens. 

  1. Super Mario Bros
  2. Yoshi's Island
  3. Kirby All-Star
  4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past
  5. Tetris & Dr. Mario

Nitendo 64: Age 5-8 years old

Ah, we all remember swinging Bowser around in circles, but the more open world concepts that came with the N64 is sure to be a winner for your kids. I am sure even younger kids would enjoy running around in circles and exploring the worlds. Meanwhile, you get to look cool and show them all the secrets you remember and crush them in some classic Kart action, before you pwn them in some Goldeneye. 

  1. Mario Kart 64
  2. Super Mario 64
  3. Pokemon Snap
  4. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
  5. Golden Eye 007

Playstation: Age 6-10 years old

Time to bring out the big guns. Your kids'll be asking for your help on the harder games that you spent hours trying to figure out and remember because it is forever burnt into your memory. Then take them on in some classic Tekken action and wind down with some nonsensical Ape Escape craziness. 

  1. Metal Gear Solid
  2. Final Fantasy 7
  3. Tekken 3
  4. Soul Reaver
  5. Ape Escape

That's my personal breakdown, but your kids may be ready for more sooner.

What classic titles would you love to play with your kids?

All the images used are stock images, even the one with kids. Especially the ones with kids. Mine are filled with much greater awesome sauce. 


Marco Bishop... a man? A Legend? No just a man. Who happens to be a father, and freelance writer. His focus? Gaming with Children from the perspective of a Dad. Also anything that he thinks is spiffy and filled with awesome sauce. He is based in El Paso, Texas.

Published Dec. 30th 2013
  • Amy White
    Former Editor in Chief
    What a great idea! Yet more validation for the space I'm taking up saving the NES and PS1.

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