Press Released: Kiddie Games

Press Released: Kiddie Games

Sean Sands suggests you step away from the Dora the Explorer and start playing something with your kids that doesn't insult their - or your - intelligence.

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I applaud you for exposing your child to games that are actually good games.

Though I have to say, I don't know if a Kindergartner will really care about the quality of a game; it's more the "I'm playing a game!" factor that makes it fun. I played lame, condescending "edutainment" games at a younger age, and while I see now that the quality of those games was less than good (in most cases, less than mediocre), I still remember enjoying them.

That being said, if you're going to play some games with your child, playing ones that actually deserve playtime is always nice.

When my little cousins invade my house and rush to the PlayStation or Wii, they don't particularly care what they play. Though that said, they will get bored of games that involve thinking in ways which don't involve immediate results (i.e. Any RPG or game where easy difficulty can be challenging at times to casual gamers).

Super Smash Bros (with continual mashing of the large A button) and car racing (where brakes rarely have meaning) are amongst the favourites.

Though of course, they are also interested by what you hide from them. I was once playing an FPS on my computer and had to stop play while they walked in to do what kids do. They then refused to leave me until I played the MA15+ game in front of them, which naturally I didn't.

But really, any game which a child can enjoy can be just as good for an adult. It's only teenagers that mock people for playing 'kiddie' games because they're street-cred would be mocked otherwise.

It's funny; I've been a gamer since the age of five but I've never actually imagined playing with my own kids (whenever they shall arrive). I skipped the edu-tainment altogether when I was growing up, but I wonder if that's because I was a part of the NES generation and there wasn't a dramatic separation between childish and adult games.

I don't expect my kid to watch me play Final Fantasy XVIII, but hopefully they'll be a suitable Mario Bros. out.

Or we'll just play the old one. Instill the importance of the classics.

It's a pity, I thought the Dora & Diego franchise could be strong enough to teach kids Spanish at an early age. I already know "Vamanos!".

Just remember kids, when you see a new version of Star Wars, say "Lucas, stop swiping!"

A good article. I'm a bit concerned that some people want to make sure everything their kids do has some educational value, why not just let them muck about for a while?

When I have kids i'm keen to play games with them, and Lego Star Wars would be an excellent one to go for. Even my girlfriend likes playing Lego games!

For simple action/adventure for the young set, yeah, Lego Star Wars is great. My son also had alot of fun with the millions of Sonic games. But for actually good games for kids, they seems to be pretty much limited to the PC. Crazy Machines is excellent, as is Pinball Science. Gary Gadget for car enthusiast kids. (Maybe not for 5. My son started that kind at age 6 I think.) For the preschool crowd, skip Dora and Diego. Go get Livingbooks' interactive fiction. Dr. Seuss and Stellaluna were big hits at my house.

Gaming is supposed to be educational? I guess I missed that debate when I was a kid playing Super Mario Brothers, Bomberman, Hack, Space Invaders, Super C, and Link's Awakening for about as many hours per day as I could possibly fit in. When the rest of a kid's day is spent at school or outside (I spent copious hours TRYING to get lost in a national forest next to my house), or watching the entertaining crap they call kids' TV, why would people even want to set tedious learning methods (Dora games) as a goal? Are James Paul Gee, Henry Jenkins, and David Shaffer the only people who appreciate the Montessori-like benefits of non-educational gaming?

As TheWickerPopstar mentioned, I also recommend trying NES and SNES-era games with them. Unless your kids have been playing Crysis and Gears of War, they won't mind the graphics shortcomings, and you do want them to understand the classics, right?

Unless your kids have been playing Crysis and Gears of War, they won't mind the graphics shortcomings, and you do want them to understand the classics, right?

I actually wonder if they do care. If I remember correctly, there was an editorial on this site that told the story of someone's son trying GTA and deeming that it wasn't fun. I think fun is really the only motivating factor for children and the simplistic fun of "retro" games is undeniable (seriously, it's against the rules).

Besides, you learn things from those games. Like...what a goomba is.
...Actually, what is a goomba?


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