January 27, 2005

Games for children

Writing about web page http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20050119/parmenter_pfv.htm

Writing video games for young children is both unfashionable and tough, which may explain why there aren't many of them. Tone down the violence, lose the rap soundtrack, eliminate all criminal behaviour, and what's left? Nintendo do a good job on family-friendly titles, but there aren't many third-party producers doing the same. So I found this write-up on the making of Ty the Tasmianian Tiger 2 pleasingly insightful. It touches on some technical problems – streaming level data in, frame-based versus delta-based game timings – but much more interesting (to me, at least) is the commentary on how you (a twenty or thirty-something developer) make a game for young (six to twelve-year-old) children. Sample quote:-

There's a difference between making a great game, in general, and making a great game for younger kids. We may be kids at heart, but we are still adults. Sure, we like giant robots, we've got Transformer action figures all over our desks and have Nerf wars through the workplace, but there aren't many of us that burst into tears when you can't jump over a fence that LOOKS like you can due to invisible collision, or get scared because the spiders are too life-like.

At the very least, it's made me want to pick up a copy of the game for when my son is a few years older.


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Steve Rumsby

    My kids keep asking about getting a "playstation" (by which they simply mean "games console" of course) because many of their friends have them. When I look at the games available for these things, though, I'm very surprised. The majority of the games involve either football, cars or guns. For the Gamecube and the X–box, that seems to be about it. The Playstation has a much better range of child friendly titles available, but they are either aimed at really young kids (Finding Nemo, Shark Tales, etc.) or young–ish girls (Barbie). I'd never looked until recently, but always assumed there would be suitable stuff available for most age ranges, because I knew so many families with these things, and I was surprised at what little I found. Maybe I'm odd in looking for something non–violent? Am I just not looking for these things in the right places? Is there a supply of child–friendly games I just haven't spotted yet? Or am I really just odd:–)

    At the very least, it's made me want to pick up a copy of the game for when my son is a few years older.

    And in the meantime, you'll just have to play it yourself…

    27 Jan 2005, 14:40


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