MindWanderer

Name some good games for small children

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I took my 4-year-old daughter to MagFest this last weekend and gave her the chance to play a bunch of different games.  The clear winner, surprising me, was Spyro, which she spent almost 2 hours playing.  I had to help her a lot, but she did much better at it than at other games she tried.

In retrospect, I shouldn't have been surprised.  The platforming is generally very forgiving.  Spyro has only two attacks, both of which have very generous hitboxes.  And his glide means that he'll go forward if you hit the jump button in midair, which makes simple jumps onto higher platforms easier.  Compared to something like Mario games (which I tried her on), there's a lot less coordination required.

Anyone have any other suggestions along those lines?  Cute aesthetics, low precision requirements, minimal reading required, nothing that really requires explanation?  I have the Spyro trilogy (just have to install a PSX emulator), but some more options would be nice.

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Sonic Adventure and Bonk are both precision platformers.  They're very unforgiving when it comes to movement.  And they both have rather complicated movement that you need to get around at all.

Mr. Do is too cerebral.  Trying to explain the logic behind digging channels underneath the heavy objects and then cutting to the side after luring enemies into its path is a couple years out at least.

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I really enjoyed the Sly Cooper series as a kid. It's very funny and creative with some solid gameplay. Other than that, Pokemon (minus the Mystery Dungeon spinoffs) and Kirby are obvious choices. I remember loving Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 as a kid (it's still my favorite game series).

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I wasn't thinking of point-and-click, although I suppose I will have to train her on the mouse at some point.

Sly Cooper and Kingdom Hearts are way too hard, and Pokemon and Kingdom Hearts are way too complicated.  Decent choices for older kids, but definitely not for preschoolers.  Kirby's a good choice for an early platformer; she might be able to handle that in a year or so.  It still has a lot going on.

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6 hours ago, MindWanderer said:

I suppose I will have to train her on the mouse at some point.

Lol I love your choice of words here. Like you're preparing her for some heavyweight championship.

6 hours ago, MindWanderer said:

Sly Cooper and Kingdom Hearts are way too hard, and Pokemon and Kingdom Hearts are way too complicated.  Decent choices for older kids, but definitely not for preschoolers.  Kirby's a good choice for an early platformer; she might be able to handle that in a year or so.  It still has a lot going on.

Most older, classic games, especially platformers, are hard as balls by today's standards. Games like Spyro would be exceptions to the rule. The issue is, thinking of games "like" Spyro that are as forgiving is proving difficult. Honestly I think your best option here is really just to look up games that are very specifically made for young children.

Most of which I doubt any of the 30+ year olds who still hang out here are likely to know. 

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Yeah, most modern games that are made for young children are for mobile.  She's quite proficient at those.  She's doing the Advanced difficulty levels in a couple of puzzle games.  But she can't handle an analog stick or D-pad to save her life.  I had to gently steer her away from any games where it was easy to fall in a hole and die, and firmly steer her away from any game where she could fall in a hole repeatedly and game over.

Older (pre-iOS/Android) kids' games are mostly either point-and-click or complete rubbish.  That's why Spyro was such a pleasant surprise and why I'm looking for suggestions.  Chibi-Robo looks promising, but it's hard to get ahold of legally.  Same for Kirby Air Ride, looks like $40 used is the best I could do, and that's a bit steep for an experiment.

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On 1/10/2019 at 8:07 AM, AngelCityOutlaw said:

Lol I love your choice of words here. Like you're preparing her for some heavyweight championship.

Most older, classic games, especially platformers, are hard as balls by today's standards. Games like Spyro would be exceptions to the rule. The issue is, thinking of games "like" Spyro that are as forgiving is proving difficult. Honestly I think your best option here is really just to look up games that are very specifically made for young children.

Most of which I doubt any of the 30+ year olds who still hang out here are likely to know. 

 

Maybe I'm just a freak or something but I mean when I was 4 I had an NES with SMB1, SMB3, Adventure Island and a Sega Genesis with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and a couple other games. Older games are hard as balls by todays standards but they were still games and still played by us back then. Children will rise, or not, to your expectations of them. They want challenges and genuine achievement rather than games that give you wins for free and make it all super easy for you. The first time I ever actually beat Sonic 3 entirely on my own was an incredible feeling.

Remember we're the generation that grew up with childhood games like The Lion King and those insane moon logic LucasArts and Sierra adventure games. Nobody told us that was "too hard" so we just kept trying until we beat them. Kids have a superpower, limitless potential growth as long as nobody tells them what they're doing is impossible.

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5 hours ago, Shadowe said:

 

Maybe I'm just a freak or something but I mean when I was 4 I had an NES with SMB1, SMB3, Adventure Island and a Sega Genesis with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and a couple other games. Older games are hard as balls by todays standards but they were still games and still played by us back then. Children will rise, or not, to your expectations of them. They want challenges and genuine achievement rather than games that give you wins for free and make it all super easy for you. The first time I ever actually beat Sonic 3 entirely on my own was an incredible feeling.

Remember we're the generation that grew up with childhood games like The Lion King and those insane moon logic LucasArts and Sierra adventure games. Nobody told us that was "too hard" so we just kept trying until we beat them. Kids have a superpower, limitless potential growth as long as nobody tells them what they're doing is impossible.

Same.

and it's for those last two lines that I probably just wouldn't let my kid play video games at that age in general tbh.

But for the OP, I'd agree: Trial by fire — give her SMB1. I mean, you don't want your daughter to grow up to be a filthy casual right?

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Hm. I have Katsuma Unleashed for 3DS. It's an easier, slower platformer aimed at a young audience. There are large hit boxes when using the twirling tail attack and the character's jump feels slower than in Mario Bros. But the precision is likely too advanced for her until she's a year or two older; plus, there's some sort of power or character switching you can do after the first few stages that you'd have to explain to her. Here's some gameplay of it. Note that the player is moving quickly, but you don't have to since the enemies are fairly slow. Take a look. If you'd like it, let me know. :) I wouldn't ask money for it. (I believe I bought it for $4 dollars CAD.)

 

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Yeah, no, not so much.

However, with all the hours I spent on it myself, I'm surprised I never thought of Mario Maker!  The Easy levels are really, really easy (as long as I can teach her to recognize automatic levels).  I think I'll wait for Mario Maker 2 in June so I don't have to mess with the Wii U again, but I have high hopes.

Might also get her started on Amazing Tales (a basic P&P RPG ) sometime soon, too.

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My son is 3 and enjoys Super Mario Odyssey. We have been playing it on Assist mode and getting some good results, since it's fairly forgiving. My friend's 3-year-old likes Yoshi's Woolly World too. Both games should have settings that would make it a bit easier for little kids.

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