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The world of gaming can seem really daunting if you’re just getting into it, or trying to find the right gift for a friend or family member who plays them regularly. There are different game consoles that each have their own library containing hundreds of titles, and it can be hard to separate the gems from the duds.

To help, we’ve broken down all of the most important information about how to pick video games in general and recommended a top-tier title for the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

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By the end of our guide you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which games are age-appropriate, whether the games you want require an online subscription, and a lot more.

What You Need to Know Before Buying Video Games

There are many factors to think about when choosing the right Nintendo video games for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.

Platforms: There are three major video game platforms: Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch. We chose the best game from each to help give you a jumping off point for your library. Many game publishers release the same game on multiple platforms, but all of our picks are exclusives. That means you’ll only be able to play the game we recommend on the specific platform its on.

Microsoft and Sony have said their next consoles (the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X) will feature some level of backwards compatibility, which means the games you get now will be playable on the new systems. Nintendo hasn’t announced its next generation console, but the game we recommend can be played on the original Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite.

Genres: Different types of games appeal to different people, so we’ve made sure to include titles from the biggest genres: action adventure, fighting, racing, and simulation.

ESRB Rating: The Electronic Software Rating Board determines which games are appropriate for which age group. It’s the equivalent of movie ratings like G, PG, PG-13, etc. Our guide contains games that span that spectrum, but make sure to call out why each game has earned the rating it did.

Multiplayer vs. Single Player: We made sure to balance out the games in this guide so that single player and multiplayer games are included. If you’re the only one in your household who plays games, the single-player titles we’ve chosen will last hundreds of hours but can be played in smaller chunks of time. If you want to play with friends and family, our multiplayer selections can be played over and over again without getting stale.

Online Play: Some games we chose require a subscription to a console maker’s online service (Nintendo Switch Online, Xbox Live, or PlayStation Plus), to play with friends remotely. These games will work without an online subscription as well, but some functionality may be limited.

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