PlayStation Compass is for PlayStation parents. It’s not a broad gaming site covering a wide range of platforms and a wide range of games. It’s a gaming site for parent gamers and parents of gamers who use PlayStation products. But why?
Parents: Video Games are a social experience.
Because video games can be—and should be—a social experience that can bring families closer together. As a gamer I’ve heard phrases like, “Oh my kids play games but I just don’t get it.” I spent my teenage and young adult years working retail, usually in electronics stores, where clueless parents bought the wrong game for their kids time and time again. Video games have never been a more powerful tool for bringing people together than they are right now, and that’s considering the substantial lack of local multiplayer options in today’s biggest and best games.
For me, it started with Skylanders Swap Force. I bought it for my then three-year-old son and we played through the entire game together. This sparked a love of not only video games but also playing games with dad. Now seven, he has his own PS4 and his own taste in games, but we still find time to play some Minecraft or whatever his new flavor of the month is.
For video games in a family to be a healthy habit I absolutely believe that both parents and children should be involved. Game time, even if it’s playing different games on different platforms, should be social and connected. Being able to say, “Wow, look at this cool weapon I just got!” and having someone respond with genuine interest and excitement is a huge part of social gaming.
Being involved also means protecting your kids.
Spend any time in a Call of Duty lobby with voice chat enabled and you’ll hear unsupervised kids screaming obscenities into their mics. You won’t hear their parents in the background. My mother and father believed asking me for a list of games I wanted on Christmas was enough interest in my hobbies. They even sometimes got me what I’d asked for!
The ESRB has a fantastic rating system for games. Violence, sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and language all contribute to a higher rating. As parents, we want to be informed about these subjects and the exposure our kids are getting, right? It doesn’t matter which side of the violence in video games argument you fall on—whether violent games cause violent behaviour in children. Parents have a responsibility to monitor and control negative influences wherever possible. But that doesn’t mean a blanket ban on “M” rated games for under 18s, or a blanket approval of “T” rated games for over 12s. There is a lot more to understanding the games kids are playing, and that brings us back around to why PlayStation Compass exists.
Gamer parents: you can share your hobby.
I’ve spent a lot of time focused on the “parents of gamers” side of the coin, but parents who are gamers are important too. If your kids see you playing video games, they will probably take an interest. If encouraged, this can lead to amazing experiences when you show them the games you grew up on and get to see a real-life reenactment of the Wild Gunman scene from Back to the Future 2.
PlayStation Compass caters to the gamer parents as well, providing recommendations, reviews, previews, and videos on games that you could play with your kids. A lot of the social experience of gaming can be applied to us as well, because the whole thing is pointless if game time means you have your headset on while your gamer child plays in his room.
An Introduction to some of the categories.
The Beacon: The Beacon is where you’ll find feature articles on a variety of topics, but mostly based on social gaming—or at least connected to it somehow. It’s where an in-depth feature about the ESRB might go, a profile of a game developer who focuses on children’s games, or a Christmas dos and don’ts list.
The Anchor: Weekends are a great chance to play games with our kids. Between swimming lessons and soccer practice, why not spend an hour on the couch relaxing with some local cooperative games? The Anchor focuses entirely on local co-op using a single PS4. Want your game featured on The Anchor? It needs to have local co-op and be appropriate for kids. Contact me at the social media links above or email me here.
Reviews: Game reviews are everywhere, but PlayStation Compass reviews include a discussion on suitability for children. Reviews will discuss the ESRB rating and the actual content, as well as a recommendation of my own for the age when a child should be exposed to or play the game. I will review “M” rated games because we still need games we can play by ourselves. “M” rated games will still include a suitability for children rating, but expect it to be similar for most of them. Want me to review your game? It doesn’t need to have multiplayer for a review. Contact me at the social media links above or email me here.
Videos: The PlayStation Compass YouTube channel posts videos of my kids and me playing games. Samples of videos could include kid guides to games, gameplay footage of good games to play together, or reaction videos. Many of the videos are the kids’ ideas, not mine. They receive payment in the form of Kinder Surprises and Hot Wheels cars.