• arrow
    LOG IN 
    • Log in using an option below.
      Forgot password?
      Login with Facebook
      Sign in with Twitter

Shop Contact Us Submit Videos Who Are We? Hall Of Fame Advertising With PG Games Archive
Best games on iPhone Best games on iPad Best games on Apple Watch Best games on Android
Best free games on iPhone Best free games on iPad Best free games on Apple Watch Best free games on Android Competitions
iPhone game sales iPad game sales Apple Watch game sales Android game sales
Latest iPhone game updates Latest iPad game updates Latest Apple Watch game updates Latest Android game updates
New iPhone games New iPad games New Apple Watch games New Android games
PG.biz PG FRANCE PG GERMANY PG Game Guides PG GameHubs PG Connects
AppSpy 148 Apps Android Rundown iPhone Quality Index iPad Quality Index Android Quality Index Swipe Magazine Best App Ever Awards
Pocket Gamer on NewsNow
UK Mobile Pages Directory
Skinflint Price Comparison

What the kids really think about kids' games

Experts on being young talk to Pocket Gamer
True Multiformat, thumbnail 1
We journalists might appear wizened and ravaged by age, but we're young at heart. We remember what it was like to be kids, when handheld gaming meant bringing a bag of marbles into school, and multiplayer video games was just fighting over a SNES controller.

Youngsters today (inevitably) don't know how lucky they are: bright colours, smiling characters, and the most exciting technology getting cheaper all the time. But equally, kids don't have it quite as easy as we did, back then. For one thing, our marbles weren't branded with the latest grinning animals off the TV. And we never had the grisly prospect of kicking turtles and stomping on mushrooms censored for us.

For a hobby that's supposedly childish, real child gamers have quite a hard time of it. When they're not having every avenue of fun scrutinised for nasties and bad influences, they're often being sold game ideas that were boring and old even when we were young.

A world of his own

Andrew is a ten year-old DS owner, and he likes science lessons, Friends on the TV and Sonic. "It's quite fun, really," he says as he fiddles with the DS menu, "And I like how you pick characters that work together."

He shows me a level in Sonic Advance 3, and then embarrasses me by playing too fast to keep up with.

Andrew has had his DS for almost two years now, and his family play on it with him so his collection of titles has games like Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training as well as the usual Spectrobes and Mario Kart.

"I don't like Braining Training," Andrew confesses. "It's like learning, really, like school."

Even though Nintendo's Touch Generations titles are aimed at all ages, you just can't make sudoku as fun as jumping on evil robots for gold rings. The problem, though, might not be the learning itself, but rather the appearance of learning, because the next game Andrew shows me is Animal Crossing, one of the games we picked as being good for your brain in our feature on brainy non-training games.

"This is probably my favourite game, it's so cool," says our accidental boffin.

Apart from the over-abundance talking animals, we're a world away from Sonic now. Calm, peaceful and simple.

"This is so great, you get to dig for things, sell stuff, live in a house. I've almost paid off my whole mortgage." Of course, mortgages won't be as fun in 20 years, but Andrew takes great pride in his personal world. He believes it's definitely "a kids game", which is surprising given its popularity across age ranges.

Child's Play

Polly, aged 11, is another young gamer, this time a PSP owner. She's been playing with Sony's portable PlayStation for about a year, and her jet black handheld has quite a collection of puzzlers on it.

She picks out LocoRoco first. "It's mad, but I really like it. It's not just about explosions." We play LocoRoco for a bit, and she explains that she used to have a Game Boy Advance. "I borrowed my brother's and played Pokemon a lot. I used to have a Tamagotchi so it was like having virtual pets again."

Now she has a PSP, the games she plays have changed. Polly gets out her latest purchase, Puzzle Quest, and loads it up. What does she think about games? Are they too old for most children?

"I think a lot of games are good for kids, but if they're too young they won't always get it." (I don't mention that Puzzle Quest is too complicated for me to 'get'.)

"Some games for kids are rubbish though," Polly adds. She shows me her brother's copy of Alex Rider: Stormbreaker, and explains that he completed it in a day. "Plus it's kind of boring, but I guess maybe it's a boy game."

Both Polly and Andrew both agreed that there were more good games for kids than bad overall, but most of the games they showed weren't just for kids at all. This betrays the difference in perception between parents and their children. Most of them aren't looking for the same old killing. Instead, they want something that genuinely entertains them.

That's not to say that youngsters can, or should be able to, choose whether a game is suitable for them or not. Grand Theft Auto is still about stealing cars and shooting people, and whether it's for kids is a decision for parents and censorship bodies to make. But the young gamers of today probably know more than some give them credit for, and they aren't falling for movie-licensed marbles.

Reviewer photo
Mike Cook 1 June 2007
Have your say!