Easy Mode: “Kids” Games

My husband and I have a very eclectic gaming collection. We have our fair share of straight up shooters, some shooter/RPG action crossovers, a pretty substantial number of JRPGs (all mine), and a ton of action/adventure games. There are even a few in there that I’m not too proud of, as they’re there solely for the purpose of padding my trophy score (*cough* My Aquarium *cough*). The games getting the most attention from me recently, however, have been LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 (going for my second platinum!) and Pokemon Black and White 2. And although they are beloved members of my gaming collection, they don’t really fit into the RPG/action, JRPG, or really any of the other categories; and if they do, then they are a much softer version, mostly because they are tailored for a younger audience.

I’ve been asked before why I play “kid’s” games, things like Professor Layton, Pokemon, and the LEGO franchise that don’t pose the same challenge something like Mass Effect or Dishonored would provide. Wouldn’t I prefer a challenge? Wouldn’t I rather play something at “my level” or “not for babies”? These games are admittedly more PG; there’s no blood and violence, people faint instead of die, and the levels don’t usually leave you pulling your hair out in frustration (well, except some Layton puzzles – seriously, I get hardcore stuck on those sometimes). But I wouldn’t choose to not play them just because they are geared to be kid friendly.

1. Kid friendly does not equal for kids

LEGO, Layton and Pokemon games are appropriate for kids, but not exclusive to them. There are elements in each that make them more challenging for more experienced or older players. LEGO games have the challenge of collecting all the characters, and gold and red bricks; Pokemon‘s “gotta catch ’em all” mantra couldn’t be more epic with their numbers now at 649 (!!!!); Layton…well, if you’ve ever played one of these games you KNOW some of these puzzles can lead you straight to the internet. They may not have explosions and intense graphics, but the inherent challenge is present, and in some of these cases, even more challenging to complete. In the end it comes down to your personal experience. If you are having fun and enjoying yourself, who cares what the rating on the case is – you are playing for your own fun times.

2. I’m a scaredy cat

I really enjoy watching my husband play games like Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed and Dishonored. The storylines are intense, the graphics are amazing, and they are action packed. Put the controller in my hand, however, and I get anxiety. The fear if someone sneaking up on me, killing me, or jumping out of nowhere has my eyes darting and my palms sweaty, and I just can’t enjoy them like I do when I’m merely observing. LEGO Harry Potter doesn’t do that to me. It makes me smile, and occasionally laugh, and I can play it for hours and have a really good time. I’ll still play some action games (Borderlands 2 has taken hours of my life) but they still scare me a bit, and I usually prefer to play co-op, or at least have someone in the room to keep me safe.

3. The nostalgia factor

I am a part of an evolving generation, one that grew up in its entirety with video games. Not only do I understand how they work (remember trying to tell mom you needed a save point?), I also have played them my entire life. Games like Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. MADE my childhood. I just can’t help but want to pick up the newest Pokemon experience, and complain about the changes from Red and Blue and the ridiculous number of Pokemon that now exist. No matter how unchallenging the game might be, the experience is still there, and will always be something I reach for off the shelf and thoroughly enjoy playing.

There are a couple games out there that are intended solely to be for kids. Kinect Sesame Street TV probably doesn’t have big challenges in it, and won’t be something you see many adults out there playing. And at the same time, I can guarantee you that there is at least one grown adult out there right now, having a time playing through this game, without any children in sight.

Share your favorite “kids” games to play in the comments below!


Pokemon and Layton are definitely my favorite "kids" games, as well...I'm playing Pokemon Black 2 and just preordered Layton and the Miracle Mask. Actually, everyone in my apartment (all of us are either in college or recent grads) loves both those series. The LEGO games are fun, too. Can't wait for LEGO Lord of the Rings to come out.