Interview with VGPodcasts Lloyd Hannesson – Family Gaming
Every Thursday, Games Reviews will feature an article on gaming, family life, and parenthood, something I’m very familiar with. I hope to feature discussions on what passes as acceptable for children and teens when it comes to games content, interviews with various media members, and much more. This is a platform to discuss ways in which families can sit down and play together. Some Thursdays will have reviews of family friendly games rather than an article.
This week I was going to dive into some of the issues brought up in last weeks interview with @gamerparent. Instead, I’ve found some similar ideas and themes present in an interview I was saving for next week. So this week again will be an interview with one of my favorite media personalities, Lloyd Hannesson from VGPodcasts. Here is what @dasme had to say about the roll of video games in the family.
First, tell us a little about yourself. What do you podcast about about and where? Give us some insight into your podcasts.
Hello, my name is Lloyd Hannesson (@dasme on Twitter). I’m a life long
gamer and podcaster. My kids are 7 and 8 years old, and game with me
constantly. I started my gaming career with an Atari 2600 that I
received for Christmas when I was in grade 1 (Yep I’m old, I’ll be 40
in a few years) — and I haven’t stopped. I’ve pretty much owned every
major console through the years, and still have a large collection of
my favourites. (and a retron5 to play many of them!)
I run VGPodcasts.com, a network of gaming podcasts. DeREZD is our
weekly gaming news show, Nintendo Pulse is our nintendo podcasts and
the Touch of Gaming is focused on iOS and Android gaming. I’ve been
podcasting for nearly 10 years, it’s been a fun hobby! Oh, I also run
DisneyInfinity.tv with my partners, so I have lots of love of family
friendly games as well.
What are some of your favorite games to play with your kids / as a family?
I think that the biggest game in the house at the moment is Minecraft.
I’m sure there are many other parents in the same boat as me. Over the
holidays I setup a separate gaming station for my kids with their own
TV and my old PS3. They are on that thing all the time. When not
crafting and mining we play a fair bit of Skylanders and Disney
Infinity together. The kids love building structures and having
My son who is 8 is starting to be a FPS fan as well. So we play Plants
vs Zombies: Garden Warfare together. He is also a bit of a Halo nut,
playing some of the older games with me in Co-op.
How do you approach mature titles in regards to your family / children? What passes as OK now? What about in the future. Would you allow your mid-teens to play M games?
I play a lot of M rated titles, but not the kids. Well, except for
coop in Halo 2 or 3 with my son I guess. Any M rated title is played
after they have gone to bed. To be honest I have a bigger problem with
bad language in games then violence. My son has joined me for some
flying in GTA or running through Saint’s Row IV with full super
powers, but with the sound off. We love checking out the new
graphically intensive games together, but with heavy moderation.
Do you feel major gaming websites drop the ball when it comes to discussing gaming as a family?
I don’t know, it’s tough. I can see why the big sites aren’t focusing
on the family gaming environment. It’s not their target
demographic.Things seem to be getting better with coverage of more
family friendly games. Most sites talk about Skylanders and Disney
Infinity when news hits, which is nice to see. Part of the reason why
I jumped on board with the DisneyInfinity.tv crew was to help create
more family friendly gaming content and discussions online. We’ve
gotten many great comments from parents who appreciate our family
If you could rank the home consoles 1-3 taking family into consideration, how would they rank? Why?
Well if I rank them with only my kids in mind it would be:
1. PS3 – Minecraft is their #1, so the system they play it on would
have to follow that.
2. 3DS – They each have their own portable consoles and play them frequently
3. PS4 – We play skylanders and DI on the PS4 so it gets the third most play.
If I was thinking as an industry though it would have to be
That’s where all of the kids games and movie tie ins seem to hit the hardest.
The Wii U has been unofficially pegged as the family gaming console? Is this a fair statement?
I think that would be a fair comment to make. Things have really
slowed down with the third party market, so most games that hit are
family friendly. There are a few exceptions, Bayonetta comes to mind,
but mostly all of the great kids titles can be found there. The game
pad is a great feature for the family as well. The ability to play
games on it while the TV is otherwise in use has been loads of fun in
Subsequently, are the PS4 and Xbox One pegged as hardcore consoles, and would you consider that a fair statement?
Overall yeah, there would be a higher percentage of Mature titles in
the XBOne and PS4’s libraries than the Wii U. IN my house we play the
most child friendly games on my PS4. Between LEGO games, DI/Skylanders
and some older PS3 games we play through PSNow it’s great.
I know you have a PS4. What would you say to the people that say PS4 is not child friendly?
A console is what you make of it. Some use theirs as a COD/Madden box,
some play only Disney Infinity. The first party titles skew more
mature except for Little Big Planet, but there are plenty of kid
friendly games available.
Do video games provide a different kind of bonding moment between you and your kids, or is just another way to bond (in general), like throwing a ball around or going to the beach?
Gaming is a huge part of my life, and I love sharing this love with my
kids. We play outside, read, play board games, watch movies and
everything else, but always come back to gaming. It’s a passion of
mine, and the kids don’t seem to mind.
In your opinion, what is the biggest hurdle for parents who don’t play video games when it comes to purchasing hardware and software for their kids?
There just isn’t a good source of info out there for everybody, no two
households are the same. We have family friends who greatly limit
“Screen Time” with screen coupons, and others who don’t believe in
gaming at all. There is no way one source of info would cover all of
those particular needs. Things can be confusing out there for parents
who don’t follow the industry, and many game stores don’t help clear
things up either — trying to get the sale instead of help.
Nintendo does a good job with their website to help educate parents
who aren’t as involved, though. So that’s where I always direct people
looking for more info.
The bigger issue are the pre-teen kids I see in local stores who
somehow convince their parents to buy them Call of Duty or GTA.
Households that use games as a babysitter, well.. that’s why you hear
of problems and articles in the news about kids playing violent games
That’s it for this week. Next week I will dive into some of the key points brought up by our last two interviews. Until then, have a good week!