The 10 Best Olympic Video Games for Kids

Has Olympic fever hit your house? If your kids are ready to jump into the action, here are the best Olympic video games from Common Sense Media.

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics
Rating: Ages 7 and up -- ON
Dueling mascot game franchise scores a gold with this entry.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS
What parents need to know: Parents need to know that Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics is the latest entry in the sports game series that unites video game mascots from rival companies. The game, officially licensed by the International Olympic Committee, features traditional sports from the Summer Olympic games like equestrian competitions, swimming, and running, as well as zany mini-games that are more familiar to fans of Sonic and Mario. The mini-games contain cartoon effects like bright explosions, "dizzy stars," and comedic power-ups, but none of this mild violent content is above and beyond what anyone would expect to see in a Sonic or Mario game. Read more. 

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
Rating: Ages 7 and up -- ON
Favorite gaming icons compete in a lackluster Olympics.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS
What parents need to know: Parents need to know that other than some comic mischief, you won't find anything questionable or offensive here. While some characters are apt to get a boot to the rear end now and then, "Mama Mia" is as close as you get to cursing. Read more.

Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games
Rating: Ages 7 and up -- ON
Sports-themed party game is active, educational, and fun.
Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii
What parents need to know: Parents need to know that this Olympic-themed party game is safe fun for the whole family. Aside from some mild cartoon shenanigans -- such as shooting turtle shells from a hang glider -- everything in Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games is safe for consumption by children. It also provides an opportunity for players to get active as they wave their arms about in motions mimicking the action on screen or lean back, forward, and from side to side on a Wii Balance Board (note that a Balance Board is not required to play). Plus, kids will have an opportunity to learn a fair bit about the Olympics, its events, and the host city of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games as they spend credits earned in the game on books at the in-game Olympic Village library. Read more.

Michael Phelps: Push the Limits
Rating: Ages 7 and up -- ON
Motion-controlled swimming game provides unique experience.
Platforms: Xbox 360
What parents need to know: Parents need to know that Michael Phelps: Push the Limits is a swimming simulation game featuring Olympic Gold Medalist, Michael Phelps. It will indeed push the limits of players who feel the need to set new records and grab as many gold medals as possible. Players get to 'travel' to all kinds of pools and stadiums around the world and ultimately work to compete in the "Annual Games" against the best swimmers in the world. Although Michael Phelps has not always been a good role model in the press, in this game he appears as an inspiring athlete and encourages players along the way. Read more.

Deca Sports
Rating: Ages 7 and up -- ON
A polished collection of simple sport simulations
Platforms: Nintendo Wii
What parents need to know: Parents need to know that Deca Sports is a collection of accessible sport simulations. It's good, clean fun for the whole family, and can be played in groups of up to four players. It provides a diverse selection of playable athletes from which to choose; both genders are represented, along with varying body types and races. Younger players may glean some insight into the rules and objectives of a few relatively uncommon sports, including curling and archery. Read more.

Shawn Johnson Gymnastics
Rating: Ages 7 and up -- ON
Great active game for players interested in gymnastics.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii
What parents need to know: Parents need to know that Shawn Johnson Gymnastics lets players follow in the footsteps of a young world-class gymnast and participate in their own competitions. Players can rise up the ranks from amateur athlete to global champion in a story mode that encourages practice to become the best you can be. The game also rewards players for good performance with unlockable content from Shawn Johnson. It is geared toward players with a genuine interest in gymnastics but can be enjoyed by anyone who wants an active gaming experience. Read more.

We Ski & Snowboard
Rating: Ages 7 and up -- ON
Fun but unoriginal arcade sports game for the family.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii
What parents need to know: Parents need to know that this is a sequel to last year's We Ski, but that there isn't much new. If you own last year's We Ski, you can skip this one. This game does make use of the Wii balance board, if you have one, but you can play it without. There isn't any controversial content in this video game. It is all about having fun virtually skiing and snowboarding. Read more.

Beijing 2008
Rating: Ages 8 and up -- ON
A surprisingly deep (and hard) track & field game.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
What parents need to know: Parents need to know that this game is directly tied to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and is, as a result, squeaky clean. Indeed, the only thing likely to offend anyone is the game's surprisingly high level of difficulty. Players with weak fingers and thumbs may find the events that require rapid button tapping or control stick swiveling to be all but impossible. You should also be aware that the game supports online play. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for children under 12 years of age. Read more.

London 2012
Rating: Ages 8 and up -- ON
Average Olympics sim might get kids off the couch.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
What parents need to know: Parents need to know that London 2012 is a sports simulation of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. It encourages players to take pride in their country's athletes by competing under a national flag of their choice, and promotes physical exercise not just through the depiction of dozens of events but also the option of motion control, which gets players up off the couch. Some players could be frustrated by the need to learn new controls for each event. Parents should take note that an online mode provides support for open voice communication with strangers. Read more.

Vancouver 2010
Rating: Ages 8 and up -- ON
Average Olympics game has nice graphics but not many events.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
What parents need to know: Parents need to know that Vancouver 2010 is a standard Olympics game branded to help promote the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Its modest selection of events will likely prove educational for players unacquainted with the rules of sports such as bobsledding and snowboard cross, and the brief bits of trivia regarding past medalists that pop up during loading screens are informative. The game also shares the Olympics spirit of friendly, bond-building competition, allowing multiple players to compete in each event. Note that online play exists, though at the time of this writing we were unable to fully explore its functionality. Common Sense Media does not recommend open online play for pre-teens. Read more.

Find Olympic video games for tweens and teens at Common Sense Media

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