“Role of Dad”

It’s every Dad’s worst nightmare when the kids go back to school after the Christmas holidays because without a doubt little Jimmy from down the street will have just received that latest Xbox One X thing for a present and it will be the next best thing since sliced bread and the immediate question will be “Daaaaaaaaaad, can we get one of these?! Can we?! Pleeeeeeeeease”.

So many different thoughts rush through your head but you just can’t help but give in to the idea that actually, it may just be good fun if we finally made the leap in to the gaming universe.

But don’t worry, you aren’t the only Dad to be in this position. I can guarantee, especially after Christmas, that almost 99.9% of the Male population that has at least 1 child over the age of 4 will be in this position.



Well, first things first, don’t just head to the nearest store to speak with a sales clerk about what would be the best console to have because 1. You haven’t read this post about buying your first console and 2. Well you better damn well hope the Boss has given you that seal of approval first! These things aren’t cheap so may be best to just share this with your partner first.


Prove Your “Dadness”

One thing you don’t want to do, is appear to your kids that you know absolutely nothing about gaming. They will pounce on this opportunity and take full advantage thinking that they know best. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!

You are the Alpha of the pack, all seeing and all knowing. Now is not the time to let that be taken away from you especially when you have the tools to remain all seeing, all knowing and after all you are the Gaming Dad that is Down with the Kids.

After reading through this post, let me reassure you, you will be certain of knowing which console to purchase best suited for your family and from where. You will have an idea of what accessories and what parts you will need to go with your very first console. You will have a basic understanding as to what games will be suitable for your first purchase and for your family to enjoy. We will also look in to the Security and Parental controls to make sure your kids stay safe whilst gaming, wouldn’t want them accessing any content that is not suitable for all audiences.

At the bottom of the article, I will include links as to where you can purchase the consoles online, just to make your life a little easier after this complete mind bomb of information.

Now, tie those laces and tighten that belt, you are about to set foot in to the greatest hobby this planet has ever seen…


The “Right One”

When it comes down to choosing the right games console, it’s like taking you back to that all-important moment of trying to choose the pram that had the cup holder but with the crappy wheels… or the easy fold away pram with the reclining seat? There are just so many choices to account for that at the end of it all, you are just left with a scrambled head and a desperate thirst quenching itch for a nice cold beer…

Let me break it down for you through this part of the article.

Below you will find some Pros and Cons of 3 leading Gaming Consoles that should open your eyes to which system will be best fit for not only your family but YOU also.


Nintendo Switch

Let’s start with the Nintendo Switch. This console was released with the full intention of blowing the audience away with a completely versatile system. Since release (3rd March 2017), Nintendo reportedly sold 80,000 units in its first weekend on sale in the UK, which was a pretty solid start for Nintendo.

With this being the first “Hybrid” style console of its kind, the Nintendo Switch really takes gaming to a whole new level. It is both a homebased console as well as a handheld console at the same time, pretty cool huh?

With its sleek and lightweight design, it makes gaming on the move, in the car or in the comfort of your own home completely seamless. The tablet style device has a docking station which will connect to your TV, can then be removed from the dock to switch to handheld mode as easy as that pun I just inserted for comical value.




There is a good reason as to why that is in BIG BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS and that is because I wanted you to see it clearly. As a parent myself, the last fear I need amongst everything else, is my son going on to content or viewing something he shouldn’t have access to.

This feature of the Nintendo Switch is crucial to any user experience but also a great addition to security for children users. Nintendo Switch has a parental control feature that let you set rules for using the system—so you can spend less time worrying and more time actually enjoying the family time. While some parental controls are available on the system itself, the free app gives you even more options. The best part is that like your smart device, this can also be controlled by a numerical PIN, so those little rascals will have to watch a fair few episodes of “Agatha Christie’s Piorot” before they gain access!

You can set essential time limits to how long or how late the Nintendo Switch console can be used each day. When the time limit has been reached, you will receive a notification pop up on your smart device, alongside a pretty loud alarm, to let you know that it is outside the set timeframe that is set.

If needed, you can always set the system to automatically interrupt the game when the time’s up. You can even pre-set age categories for what games they are able to play on the system. Only age appropriate games can be played without anything unknowingly being “accidentally” switched on…. There I go again, I’m sorry I just can’t switch it off!

You can disable play time alarms and game suspension features temporarily or for a full day using their PIN.

I have included a link directly to the website for further information:


The Nintendo Switch has a strong 1080p output, 60fps when in dock, connected to the TV. It packs a sturdy 32gb storage space, similar to that of an iPad or handheld device, as it is a ‘Hybrid’ machine, it cannot be compared to its competition, Xbox, PS4, but it is still holding its own out there.  You can purchase compatible external Micro-SDXC cards to plug inside.

It does harbour the USB-C connector for charging and in the dock, an upgrade from the micro USB but it is still something to watch out for as there are not as many accessories or ‘extended’ charging cables that will fit the requirements of the Nintendo Switch. It does pack Bluetooth 4.1 and Stereo speakers; a Headphone Jack is accessible but is only suitable for use in Handheld Mode. There are not any gaming headphones or attachments to allow for headset use in Dock Mode as yet but there are rumours of adapters to cater for this requirement.

One thing that Nintendo have held on to thoroughly through evolving from the Wii is the Accelerometer and Gyroscope built in to the console, this enables you to play some fetching titles with movement-based interaction and skill.

With a trusted 3 hour of gaming time and then a further 3 hours of charge time in Table Top and Handheld mode, the power of the Switch does stand a good chance at lasting through a long campout if staggered throughout the trip.

The blueprint of the Nintendo Switch is 102mm x 239mm x 13.9mm (with Joy-Cons attached) and the weight of the console is 297g (398g with Joy-Cons).

The Switch has two removable ‘Joy-Con’ controller sections which attach at either end of the Switch tablet. In this form, it really does look like a new and improved Gamepad. Once in the dock, you move them to the ‘Joy-Con grip’ to form a controller in order to play games as per usual.

The left and right Joy-Cons aren’t identical though. Not only do they have inverted button and analogue stick layouts, they include some different features.

The left Joy-Con has a Capture Button, used to share screenshots and video online, while the right includes an NFC sensor for use with Nintendo’s Amiibo figures, as well as an IR motion camera that can “detect the distance, shape and motion of nearby objects in specially designed games” – such as how far away a player’s hand is, or what rock, paper, scissors shape it’s making.

The Joy-Con controllers offer a 20-hour battery life which is pretty decent compared to most wireless accessories with that amount of tech inside. They take about 3.5 hours to charge (via the Charging Grip or when attached to the tablet).


Pro’s that will be of value to making the executive decision:

  • Easy to set up and Play
  • Perfect for a great, fun, Multiplayer experience
  • Easily accessible for younger audience
  • Portable (Great for when you still want to watch TV)
  • Parental security features are easy to set up and easy to use


Con’s that will help in the decision-making process:

  • Battery life in handheld mode seemed shorter than anticipated
  • Extra ‘Joy-Con’ remotes are expensive both individually and as a pair
  • There are very few titles to choose from currently
  • Portability means it is also susceptible to easy damage, potentially broken
  • The power supply lead is not long enough in comparison to the HDMI input



XBOX One / XBOX One S / XBOX One X

You have probably just looked at that title and though “What in the world are any of these? I’ve just got my head around the fact there are 3 different console manufacturers let alone different types of the same damn one!”

And you’re right, you should think that but by the end of this section I am sure you will get the idea of the different types and what will be best fit for you…


Original Xbox One was release on the 22nd of November 2013. It is the next generation console in the cycle after the long-lived Xbox 360, which I am sure you probably caught wind of at some point through its marketing life, and was president to a new frontier of console gaming.

It might look big and bulky next to its slimmer young buck, the Xbox One S, but these days the older Xbox One can be found for some temptingly low prices. If you’re willing to sacrifice the functionality 4K with the Xbox One S, then the Xbox One is still a great piece of hardware. Perfect for those young gamers wanting to start out.

Despite the new releases, there are still reasons to stay with the original Xbox One if the kids (or You) are a fan of Microsoft’s Kinect, the reason for this is that the Xbox One S doesn’t include a Kinect port on its rear, meaning that you’ll have to buy an adaptor if you want to use your camera accessory.

When unboxing, the first thing you’ll notice about the console when you get it out of the needlessly elaborate packaging is that it is on the rather large side for what is deemed a home entertainment system. It measures 332mm x 274mm x 79mm, making it longer and taller than a PS4 or Xbox One S.

Its massive size and black rectangular construction evoke brings back thoughts of an eighties style VCR or even better yet, a classic stereo tuner from the nineties. Its imposing bulk begs to be hidden away, with just its slot loading disc drive exposed, the little white Xbox logo glowing in lonely TV cabinet darkness…





Xbox One S is the next release to the series. This console was released 3 years after the Original Xbox One. Sadden to see the Xbox One set sail off along the sea of discontinue, it was time for a new age to step through.

To that end, games are upscaled to the new, higher resolution (a process which doesn’t look as good as the true or ‘native’ 4K performance on the Xbox One X), but movies will happily make the most out of the extra pixels whether you’re streaming 4K Netflix or playing an Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Amongst the 4K upgrades, there is also a memory boost. The Harddrive inside the console has now been increased to an impressive 2TB, that’s a vast improvement over the 500GB in the Original Xbox One. With the smaller shell of 11.6 x 8.9 x 2.5 inches, it does make the Original seem colossal.




Xbox One X has the horsepower matching close to that worth of a gaming PC, housed inside a deceivingly small package, the Xbox One X does what no console has done before: Native 4K HDR gaming. However, while games look absolutely stunning, with a fantastic level of detail accentuated by the console’s HDR support, their larger file sizes will mean that the 1TB hard drive fills up fast. Minor faux pas aside, the Xbox One X lives up to the promise of 4K HDR gaming and offers the most premium gaming experience on a console, bar none.

Beyond gaming, the console is also perfect for media junkies – there’s 4K Netflix on-board alongside a 4K app for YouTube, Amazon has also made its Prime Video app UHD compatible, there’s also a 4K Blu-ray player built into the box. A real boys toy if you ask me!

The noticeable yet slightly hidden disc tray not only plays Xbox One games, but 4K Blu-rays as well. This might sound sort of mundane if you’re not totally up-to-date on what 4K Blu-rays are, considering that Microsoft’s 4K console is the only ones on the market with that ability, you can understand why it’s worth pointing out.

In terms of console specification, compared to its two predecessors, the Xbox One X really does state “Alpha” of the pack. The more important comparison for the Xbox One X, and its therefor arch nemesis, the PS4 Pro. Sony’s system is a fairly competent competitor – The Xbox One X GPU has 36 compute units at 911Mhz that work in tandem with a 2.1GHz CPU and 8GB of GDDR5 memory. That memory runs into a tight squeeze at the buffer, which is limited down to 218GB/s, but it still puts out 4 Tflops of performance. I don’t expect you to understand all this jargon, but it is worth noting.

Where the One X falters, on its hard drive – a small 1TB drive that comes standard in every system. It’s also non-negotiable: the only configuration Microsoft plans on selling for the holidays is a 1TB system.






Again, the most important part in big bold capital letters. The Xbox One Range are impressively good at maintaining a secure and precise model when it comes to user security and parental controls. Permitting you don’t give little Timmy access to all of your credentials then I am sure even Poirot may struggle!

Once set up with your own user gamer profile, you are then able to add additional users to the console. From here, you are then able to implement the parental security features from the settings (this can be amended at a later date).

There are three types of content restrictions: Access to content and apps, Web filtering and descriptions in OneGuide.

Under Access to content and apps, you can choose Child Defaults, Teen Defaults, Adult Defaults or Custom. Clicking Custom will offer a wealth of options, and you’ll have to scroll to the right to see them all. There are too many possible protocols to list here, but you’ll be able to control whether your kids can purchase content, use Skype, access social networks or share their information with friends or random players online. The list is in depth and really does take full effect once implemented to protect your little Beta’s from the nasty business of the internet.

With these tools at your disposal, you can ensure that each member of your household has an Xbox One Range experience suited to his or her needs. Even better, unlike PS4 sub-accounts, which stay linked to a parent’s account in perpetuity, Xbox One accounts can be delinked once a child is ready to fly the coop.


Pro’s that will be of value to making the executive decision:

  • Easy to set up and Play
  • Can provide a surreal gaming experience for all ages
  • Easily accessible for younger audience
  • Parental security features have great depth

Con’s that will help in the decision-making process:

  • Standalone console restricts to single housed use
  • Restricted to certain style games
  • Features on certain models on work with upgraded accessories (4K/HDR)
  • Initially expensive to purchase
  • Specific gaming titles are released on Xbox



Sony PlayStation 4 Slim / PlayStation 4 Pro

Sony’s 4K-equipped monstrous machine, the PS4 Pro, established itself as the first Ultra HD console on the market.

With great power, comes great 4K capability… It did require the all-important television upgrade as well so like myself, if you’re not ready to upgrade to a new television just yet then the original PS4 is still an excellent machine, especially now that it’s been shrunk down into a new slim line model.


PlayStation 4 Slim was designed and was meant as the budget option alongside its “Alpha”, so there are a couple of compromises. You naturally won’t get any form of 4K output, and you’ll have to do without an optical audio output.

The PS4 Slim might have entered the race as Sony’s budget PlayStation offering, but that doesn’t mean it’s cutting back on its specs. In all key areas, it matches the original PlayStation 4 console, and at many points outperforms it too.

It’s also a far smaller console, shrinking the machine down by almost a third in volume, knocking 16% off the original’s weight and offering notable improvements in both power draw and noise output.

2016’s PS4 Slim retains the core visual identity of the first PlayStation 4, but shrinks everything down into a condensed parallelogram package, with soft curvy edges. The PS4 Slim is just 26.5 x 26.5 x 3.8 cm and its weight is comparably lighter, too.

Both 500GB and 1TB versions of the PS4 slim are available. If you choose the smaller of the two you might find your hard-drive fills up surprisingly quickly thanks to the console’s reliance on mandatory game installs, but thankfully it’s fairly easy to upgrade the internal hard drive or you can even install games to an external hard drive thanks to a recent update. ‘Hands raise to the ceiling’ Thanks you Sony…

The PS4 Slim doesn’t do, however, is offer a fight against the Xbox One S’s 4K Blu-ray player. It instead holds out with the original PS4’s standard full HD Blu-ray player. It’s still a strong competitor, but anyone looking to show off their 4K TVs (if you have made the upgrade) with the new PS4 will be disappointed.

All other streaming services and apps featured on the PS4 Slim. They include (but are not limited to) Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, as well as BBC iPlayer and TV from Sky in the UK, and HBO Go and Hulu in the US. Sony’s own movie rental platform is available too if you’re looking for the latest Hollywood releases. YouTube is available, as is Twitch game streaming, and a Spotify Connect-enabled version of the popular music streaming service, letting you control tunes on your telly from the comfort of your smartphone.


PS4 Slim



PlayStation 4 Pro is basically the Sony equivalent to the Xbox One X. With its power and magnitude towards gaming picture quality and HDR capabilities, the PS4 Pro is definitely one to consider in the race for the best console.

A year after launch, PS4 Pro is still an easy buy for newcomers to the world of PlayStation, PlayStation VR neophytes and 4K HDR TV owners. For everyone else, though, there’s a chance the Pro’s benefits aren’t worth the extra cost.

The PS4 Pro remains with the same PlayStation titles as the PS4. As much as Sony likes to brag that it is the next step in console gaming, the PS4 Pro can only compete as far as it’s HDR and 4K spec upgrades, the downside is that not all of the content for the PS4 Pro will be native 4K, but Sony has also implemented in a number of clever upscaling technologies to the new console to act as a stopgap until the next update or generation release.

So compared to the original PS4’s package, the PS4 Pro will take up a bit more shelf space – 29.5 x 32.7 x 5.5 cm (W x L x H), to be exact. Once you have found a place for it to live, it’s probably best that it stays there for a while.

One final point here, while the exterior is nice, Sony has spent more time working on the inside of the console. Inside you’ll find the 1TB hard drive, which is 500GB more than you’ll find inside of the original PS4 or the base model of the PS4 Slim. There’s also an improved Wi-Fi antenna that uses dual-band 802.11ac wireless and Bluetooth 4.0 instead of the previous 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1.

While swapping out of a Wi-Fi antenna may not seem like a big deal, it helps the PS4 Pro download games at a much faster rate. A 160MB game downloaded in under a minute on a 15Mbps connection, if your broadband speeds are anything like what ours is then let’s just say, you will be extremely grateful.





Sony are very good at restricting what can be used on the system. If children will be using the PlayStation 4 system, parents or guardians can restrict access and play of content which may not be suitable. You can adjust these restrictions by selecting the correct option from the settings menu.

Features such as, starting applications and playing content, playback of Blu-Ray movies and DVD’s, the use of search engines within the system, the ability to log in to other accounts on the system and then also restrict log in access from other users that are not set up directly on the PS4 system. It’s pretty much “Log In” proof.

You can set these restrictions from the settings on the PlayStation 4 system, once in place, the kids will be good to go. I have included a link below to refer to, for further information:


Pro’s that will be of value to making the executive decision:

  • Easy to set up and Play
  • Can provide a surreal gaming experience for all ages
  • Easily accessible for younger audience
  • Parental security features have great depth

Con’s that will help in the decision-making process:

  • Standalone console restricts to single housed use
  • Restricted to certain style games
  • Features on certain models on work with upgraded accessories (4K/HDR)
  • Initially expensive to purchase
  • Specific gaming titles are released on PlayStation


“Dad Decision”

Ok Dad, so you now have the ammunition to fire away with. You have enough basic knowledge here to make an executive decision on which console you think would be best for the family home. With Specifications and Parental Controls outlined, I think it is safe to say, you will make the right choice here.

With the Nintendo Switch, it is an all-round family experience with great titles that will keep both yourself and the kids entertained. The only trade of with this is that there are very few titles that offer realism in gaming unlike the Xbox One Range and Sony PlayStation 4 Range.

I trust that you will make the right decision but, in the meantime, if you only take one thing away from this post, make sure it is this:



I’ve been your Local Friendly Neighbourhood Gaming Dad, thanks for reading!




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