Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Year-End, GameFly, and Parenting Young Gamers  

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Games: Although it's a touch late, GameCritics.com’s Year-End Wrapup and Games of the Year coverage is now up, and you can check it out here. It's all condensed for easy reading, and we won't make you click through twelve pages of ads to read three pages of content.
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Take a look, and let me (or us) know what you think… if nothing else, I guarantee that there will be a few games on our short list that you probably won't see on anyone else's top ten.
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Games: Anyone else out there getting a little frustrated with GameFly? I've had nothing but good things to say about their service since I joined up with them, but I've got to say that their ability to ship out games over the holiday season has been less than satisfactory.
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They allow up to fifty selections in each person's queue which is just fine, but it's a little annoying to have Gears of War 2, LittleBigPlanet and Prince of Persia at the top of the list, only to keep getting things from the bottom. I don't think I've gotten anything ranked higher than number fifteen on my queue since November, and I’m getting more than a little tired of it. It's pretty obvious the demand for the “big” games is there, and running out of those is going to piss customers off faster than having a long delay for Red Bull BC One or Pipe Mania.
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Parenting: My son Rhys is seven, and he’s just now getting to the stage of development when he can fully process what’s going on in video games. Along with the increased cognition ability, he's now got the manual dexterity needed to perform basic functions like hitting the right button at the right time, and so on. It's been very satisfying to see his development and witness how his skills have increased over the last few years. He's always been interested in playing games and the wife and I are only too happy to accommodate him, but frustration in the early years was a big deterrent in addition to the fact that it's pretty damned hard to find quality games that are appropriate for younger players.
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good for kids
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Right now we've got him on Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus for the PS2. It's a great game (just like every game from Sucker Punch is a great game) and it's one of the very few titles that I feel sports a high level of quality along with being accessible and interesting to younger players. He had a bit of trouble here and there (the vehicle sections tend to be too hard) but the combination of combat and platforming is superb, and I don't feel like I'm giving him something completely dumbed-down.
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I'm glad I had a copy of it on hand because it seems like this kind of software is becoming extremely hard to find. I can appreciate a mature-oriented title just as much as anyone, but I don't really want to leave development of family-friendly games up to Nintendo or the tard-tastic Wiimote flailfests that have been clogging shelves lately. We need more varied developers to step up to the plate and remember that we don't get more adult players unless we cultivate the younger players, and we can't cultivate younger players if all we have to choose from are bloody shooters, MMOs, RTSs and text-heavy RPGs.
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good for kids
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For someone like me who has a pretty healthy game library to draw from, it's not a problem to go back and dust off Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario World, Sly Cooper, Ratchet and Clank, Jak & Daxter, and the sorts of things that as a parent, I would want my son playing. However, I doubt the average parent has quick access to most of these titles, and these games don't stick around forever at retail.
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not good for kids
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Without solid development houses creating new quality platformers and other kid-friendly titles that don’t treat players like hydrocephalic morons, I think parents all across the country are going to have some problems… and a big P.S. to the parents out there who don’t take the time to do their due diligence- GTA’s not a good fallback.
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3 comments: to “ The Year-End, GameFly, and Parenting Young Gamers

  • Anonymous

     

    That sucks! I feel ya. I remember in the early days of renting there'd be some slows down. But last year or so has been stellar.

    I looked at it this way. Some months when I don't have a lot going on i'll motor through 5-6 games. Then I get busy and I'll play 1-2 games. Over the year though, I always try / play 25- 30 games.

    Now of course, I'd never buy all those games, but that's the point. But if I did, i'd pay probably somewhere around $1000, give or take a couple hundie, depending on whether I bought them new or used. So you see why we rent. $200+ gets us all those games for the year.

    I do buy a few from g'fly though. but i get them for cheap and can sell them back to gamefly and get subscription credit once I get bored of them. I did that with bioshock and gta4.

  • Hargrada

     

    The big holiday release from Sony, Little Big Planet, is a very family friendly platformer that could be something along the lines of what your looking for. It sports local multiplayer with customizable avatars, as well as a large amount of downloadable levels online. I've seen others talk about playing the game with their kids so you may want to give it a try at some point.


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    Once Gamefly sends the damn thing to me, I'll be quite glad to give it a whirl. = /