Hi Pixelkiners!

There’s nothing worse than putting on a movie you wanted to watch with a kid, only to be surprised by sudden beheadings and blood sprays. Ugh. Well, video game violence is just as complicated, and it runs the gamut from zero to outrageous. Figuring out where a game falls on the violence scale is easy if you understand the ESRB ratings, so we put together a useful manual to help you do just that. It includes some questions you can ask before you buy or ban a game—every family is different when it comes to violent media. There are lots of possibilities, so check that article on the site.

Unless you accidentally hit someone with your controller, Just Dance 2015 is a game you won’t have to worry about violence in. We reviewed the game this week, and it’s a solid addition to the Just Dance series. It contains a mix of old and new songs from famous artists, and some really weird dance moves— think somersaulting over your friends. You can set up playlists to dance to for fun or fitness, with up to four players, and there are also options for people who want to sit it out. Read our review on the site.

Sony recently released the PlayStation TV, which isn’t a TV after all but a miniature console that hooks up to your television. With the PlayStation TV you can play select PS Vita games, as well as games from Sony’s older handheld consoles like the PSP. If you have a PlayStation 3 or 4, you can use the PlayStation TV to stream your console’s games over wifi to any television in the house. The graphics for the handheld games aren’t that great on the big screen—images tend to get fuzzy when you blow them up from five inches to fifty— but it is a cost-effective way to play, especially if you want to try out some older games.

If you’re torn between Disney Infinity and Skylanders, you’re not alone. Each toys-to-life game comes with what can seem like millions of fun extras to buy. If we’re being completely honest—most families can only afford one of these games. So which one? On the surface they seem pretty similar, but there are big gameplay differences that set Disney Infinity and Skylanders apart. Check out our video comparison of Disney Infinity Marvel Superheroes and Skylanders: Trap Team to learn which one is right for you.

Some school districts are now getting funding to provide students with tablets to use at school and at home. If you’re concerned about screentime, this can seem like a blessing and a curse. Tablets can be great learning tools, but it means your kids might end up sitting in front of screens all day long. Megan Peters talks about the strategies that she’s going to use to make sure her kids get a healthy amount of screentime–including how they’ll work family gaming time into their lives. Read more about her plans for incorporating educational tablets into her home on the site.

That’s all for now! Remember to subscribe to this channel for all the best family gaming news.


This article was written by

Simone de Rochefort is a game journalist, writer, podcast host, and video producer who does a prolific amount of Stuff. You can find her on Twitter @doomquasar, and hear her weekly on tech podcast Rocket, as well as Pixelkin's Gaming With the Moms podcast. With Pixelkin she produces video content and devotes herself to Skylanders with terrifying abandon.