There’s nothing more palpable than the excitement opening a new console on Christmas day, followed by the dread of that one forgotten oversight for the gift.
Did you remember to get batteries?
Do you have to charge it before use?
Are there additional things you need before you can use it?
For gaming particularly, gone are the days where you could just plug in and play. My first gaming Christmas present was my Super Nintendo console, complete with ‘Kid Klown in Crazy Chase’. It was an interesting experience for sure, and probably explains my lack of patience in life. That intro music also still haunts me to this day.
But these were simpler times. Getting a game that was pre-PS3 or Xbox 360 was great – you’d unwrap the thing, beam with excitement, and then run off to your console, forgetting all about the T-shirt that Grandma got for you that still sat under the tree as you popped that new cartridge or disc in and play until you had to be somewhere. Gaming sure has changed and grown – and with it, so have we. So how do you make sure that Christmas morning remains to be as special as it used to be?
1. SETUP THE CONSOLE
All new consoles come with a plethora of the latest updates to improve stability, unlock features or work at their best. If the youngsters of the house are getting a brand new console, they’re going to want to play it as soon as they possibly can – but fresh out of the box isn’t going to help.
That’s where you, the tech-savvy parent, can come into the mix – by carefully opening the console and setting it up for them, not only can you ensure that it is ready to go out of the box, but you can also add parental controls or account details that only you will know. Bonus points for pre-installing games on the console too, so that you can play them right off the bat.
2. CHARGE EVERYTHING UP
This is probably handier for portables or wireless things – but out of the box, most accessories will have a bit of battery time that will likely need charging ASAP. Provided that you can open them carefully without damaging the packaging, plug them in and have those batteries ready to go.
This especially will work wonders with the Nintendo Switch, as you can complete step 1 and 2 at the same time (and earn some well-deserved quiet time after Christmas lunch or dinner).
3. UPDATE EVERYTHING
The biggest part of games these days is updates. They can literally be 2-4gb for a console update and anywhere from 5gb to 50gb for a game update. The last thing you want is to be stuck updating games or consoles on Christmas day, so turn that console on and check for any system updates. You should then put any games you’ve purchased into the console and updates should automatically start updating.
4. ONLINE CAPABILITIES
So your new console can get online; but is it going to cost you? The last thing you want to hear from the kids is “We can’t play online with our friends because it costs more!” Unfortunately everything requires an online subscription these days (except PC gaming, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish) and I can guarantee that if your kids have been asking for a console, they want to play with their friends online.
Now is the PERFECT chance to make sure you grab an online subscription – or do a bit of research into it so that you can test the free trial that most of them offer. It also means you can keep an eye out for Boxing Day sales, where sometimes the companies will offer a discounted subscription pack. Both Xbox and PlayStation’s online services come with monthly free games to download too, meaning you do get value out of them. Nintendo Switch Online also comes with free SNES and NES games so you can live out your own childhood playing some retro games.
Now that you’re across these things, you should be ready to go come Christmas morning! And if your kids don’t react with the same amount of excitement as the Nintendo 64 kid below, well… next year they can get coal instead!