Fun handheld gaming devices for kids
by Phil Hornshaw
For people who are fans of handheld video gaming, these are arguably the best of times.
The rise of smartphones and mobile tablets has taken a big bite out of the traditional market for handheld game consoles, which Nintendo has dominated for years and Sony is working to take a bite out of as well. But despite business woes for the traditional game makers, mobile devices offer a ton of game options, especially for kids – often, they range from more mature titles to educational offerings.
Which video gaming option is best for your kids is dependent on what kinds of games they want to play, but shopping around can help keep the prices reasonable.
Mobile or consoles?
There are four major options to choose from when it comes to handhelds: Nintendo’s 3DS, Sony’s Playstation Vita (the latest versions of each company’s handheld line), Apple’s iPad or a device that runs on Google’s Android operating system. Nintendo and Sony’s options are more along the lines of traditional video games, including offerings like Nintendo’s Pokemon series and access to Sony’s Playstation Network.
Mobile devices such as iOS and Android tablets generally offer bite-sized games that cost less than what you’ll see on Nintendo or Sony’s devices. The cool thing about mobile devices is that they also offer a lot of versatility, with apps dedicated to education, web browsing and more.
Find the price for you
Handheld consoles and tablets have a lot of varying prices, so in addition to finding the one that fits your kids’ needs, shopping around can help you keep down your costs. Game consoles generally tend to be a little cheaper than tablets, and with a little diligence, you can help knock that price down further.
GameStop is a good place to start for handheld consoles, and offers as much as 2.5 percent cash back. Apple offers free shipping if you’re looking for an iPad (or an iPhone) and 1 percent cash back, and you can get most any tablet or console from Walmart, which offers 3 percent cash back, and Best Buy and Target, which offer 2 percent cash back.