Tuesday, March 21, 2017

E Games Are Not Meant for Toddlers

Are today's E games made for kids under the age of 8? And I'm asking that as a serious question after reading this Kotaku article by Mark Serrels, asking why is it difficult to make games for kids. We're talking about the pre-school/toddler age children, whom are still learning some of the basics when it comes to reading and word comprehension. Mario Party, Little Big Planet 3, and Madden NFL are all in the E category but you certainly would not give these games to a 5 year old.

The E rating has become more sophisticated over the years. While the meaning behind it hasn't changed since the ESRB was enacted, games that fall into this category have grown up with their audiences. Mario games have elevated themselves from flat-screen platformers to puzzles and battle epics in 3D environments. Games like Frogger, with it's easy concept that even a child straight from the womb could understand, has gone nuts with it's content. Frogger 3D for the Nintendo 3DS offers more challenges and requires quick reflexes that only a seasoned gaming veteran can keep up with.

E games are not for kids any longer. Not when the likes of The Legend of Zelda have taken over that category.

So where is one to go for games that are appropriate for their 8 and under team? Truthfully, I'd look to education stores or companies like LeapFrog. Yes, they are games meant to teach kids and some may find them dull. But these are games meant FOR the younger crowd. Super Mario was not developed to be played by a 5 year old. Fisher-Price is. They're a well-known brand not for their marketing, but for producing products that works best for young children.

Today's E-rated games are not made for children, nor are they geared toward that audience. To assume otherwise is a bit overzealous. Now this isn't to say that all kids can't play an E game. Some have the mental and physical fortitude to play. But some do not. This isn't developers cheating out the kids. They are making games for the audiences that they know will play, and pay, for their product. And younger children do have loads of alternatives through VTech, Little Tikes, and ABCmouse - all companies that produce video games specifically aimed to 2-8 year olds. They're not Mario, that's all. So let's not bash developers for making E games that are more kid-friendly in controls and game mechanics. Developers are making the games that they want to make.


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