281: Rated E for Everywhere

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Rated E for Everywhere

The worlds created in children's games are as rich as those in adult games, but adult players don't always see that richness.

Read Full Article

One seeks in games what one can't get in real life. What most of us can't do in real life? Exactly. Disembowel and decapitate our neighbors and/or enemies. And there you have violent games.

Lord_Gremlin:
One seeks in games what one can't get in real life. What most of us can't do in real life? Exactly. Disembowel and decapitate our neighbors and/or enemies. And there you have violent games.

Well you can't dodge giant frosted donuts in a candy factory floating in the sky in real life either.

*Clap, Clap, Clap* Masterfully done.

HankMan:

Lord_Gremlin:
One seeks in games what one can't get in real life. What most of us can't do in real life? Exactly. Disembowel and decapitate our neighbors and/or enemies. And there you have violent games.

Well you can't dodge giant frosted donuts in a candy factory floating in the sky in real life either.

Well, the natural human desire is not to dodge food, but to eat it. Just as lust for blood and violence is also natural to humans. Although the latter is socially unacceptable and punishable by law.

Wow. What a load of hypocritical bollocks.
Would you kindly knock it off calling everything that doesn't involve guns "childrens games"?
That offends me as a "gamer" and it reinforces the retarded mindset that "games are for kids" that brought those self-imposed limitations of the medium you are complaining about into life in the first place.

But maybe it only goes to show the stupidity behind the term "hardcore" and "core gamers".
Yes, most egoshooters are unimaginative, same-y crap. Congrats for finding that out, sherlock.
However that does not mean games that dare and have colors other than brown like psychonauts, plants vs zombies or okami are "just for kids".

I find this argument slighty odd, every series has an ammount of expectation behind what it can and will be. Saying the "non childrens games" are dvoid of any veriety or innovation is simply WRONG. Or to put it in more detail is simply as wrong as saying that everything for the Wii/ Kinect audience is a mini-game fest of submediocrity. The majority IS. But the majority does tend to be slightly bland and crappy in most mediums.

You couldn't show a person a screenshot of STALKER and have them think it was Cod. You certainly coudn't show someone a screenshot of TF2 and have them think it was CoD. Infact there are hundreds of games like that; from the cell shaded RPG infusions of Borderlands to the Sci-Fi hills of Halo (M rated game, NO ZOMBIES!) there is a lot of veriety even in just the FPS genre.

This isn't even mentioning that bastion of colour; JAPAN. Are you going to sit there all call Beyonetta (m rated game, no zombies) destaurated?, Persona 4 (M rated game no Zombies), No More Heroes (M rated game, no zombies) hell even FF14 are all fgames that are busrting with vibracy and almost surreal design.

"Fantasy-themed games aren't much better. They all tend to look like minor variations on Tolkien's Middle-earth by way of the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual" Yes, if you just look at those games as a definition of "fantasy". There was this one series, you knoe people quite like, long history i don't know FINAL FANTASY.

Im not even going to go into M rated indie games.

Bottom line; Rated M does not mean less innovative, colourful or imaginative.

Scrumpmonkey:
I find this argument slighty odd, every series has an ammount of expectation behind what it can and will be. Saying the "non childrens games" are dvoid of any veriety or innovation is simply WRONG. Or to put it in more detail is simply as wrong as saying that everything for the Wii/ Kinect audience is a mini-game fest of submediocrity. The majority IS. But the majority does tend to be slightly bland and crappy in most mediums.

You couldn't show a person a screenshot of STALKER and have them think it was Cod. You certainly coudn't show someone a screenshot of TF2 and have them think it was CoD. Infact there are hundreds of games like that; from the cell shaded RPG infusions of Borderlands to the Sci-Fi hills of Halo (M rated game, NO ZOMBIES!) there is a lot of veriety even in just the FPS genre.

This isn't even mentioning that bastion of colour; JAPAN. Are you going to sit there all call Beyonetta (m rated game, no zombies) destaurated?, Persona 4 (M rated game no Zombies), No More Heroes (M rated game, no zombies) hell even FF14 are all fgames that are busrting with vibracy and almost surreal design.

"Fantasy-themed games aren't much better. They all tend to look like minor variations on Tolkien's Middle-earth by way of the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual" Yes, if you just look at those games as a definition of "fantasy". There was this one series, you knoe people quite like, long history i don't know FINAL FANTASY.

Im not even going to go into M rated indie games.

Bottom line; Rated M does not mean less innovative, colourful or imaginative.

Are you really going with the argument that M rated games that involve killing things that aren't zombies counts as innovative???

goliath6711:

Scrumpmonkey:
I find this argument slighty odd, every series has an ammount of expectation behind what it can and will be. Saying the "non childrens games" are dvoid of any veriety or innovation is simply WRONG. Or to put it in more detail is simply as wrong as saying that everything for the Wii/ Kinect audience is a mini-game fest of submediocrity. The majority IS. But the majority does tend to be slightly bland and crappy in most mediums.

You couldn't show a person a screenshot of STALKER and have them think it was Cod. You certainly coudn't show someone a screenshot of TF2 and have them think it was CoD. Infact there are hundreds of games like that; from the cell shaded RPG infusions of Borderlands to the Sci-Fi hills of Halo (M rated game, NO ZOMBIES!) there is a lot of veriety even in just the FPS genre.

This isn't even mentioning that bastion of colour; JAPAN. Are you going to sit there all call Beyonetta (m rated game, no zombies) destaurated?, Persona 4 (M rated game no Zombies), No More Heroes (M rated game, no zombies) hell even FF14 are all fgames that are busrting with vibracy and almost surreal design.

"Fantasy-themed games aren't much better. They all tend to look like minor variations on Tolkien's Middle-earth by way of the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual" Yes, if you just look at those games as a definition of "fantasy". There was this one series, you knoe people quite like, long history i don't know FINAL FANTASY.

Im not even going to go into M rated indie games.

Bottom line; Rated M does not mean less innovative, colourful or imaginative.

Are you really going with the argument that M rated games that involve killing things that aren't zombies counts as innovative???

Im going with the argument that innovative M rated games are innovative. There can even be innovative games that are M rated and DO involve killing zombies.

Adam Greenbrier:
Rated E for Everywhere

The worlds created in children's games are as rich as those in adult games, but adult players don't always see that richness.

Read Full Article

I think the principal mistake they are making is calling these "games intended for children." The "E for Everyone" is an attempt to fix that, but they just can't seem to get past the notion of it being a "kid game."

In Western culture, anything that requires or speaks to imagination is for kids. Imagination itself is treated as a childish luxury. Adults have forgotten how to imagine, and thus have forgotten that it is not a luxury, but an essential life skill. It's like chopping off your fingers because they don't seem as useful as the thumb...

Take some random stranger as an example. Let's say this guy is successful at his job, he pays his bills on time, he loves his wife and kids and spends good quality time with them, and is a fine upstanding member of his community...

...and in the evenings, to relax, he plays with action figures. Oh, now he's a weirdo! There's something wrong with him! He's doing something that requires imagination (and is thus "for kids"), so we look at him slantwise.

Even I do it. Like right now, I feel a compelling need to qualify this statement by saying I do not play with action figures at 28 years old. Because I do not want people to be under the impression that I'm "that guy." I feel it, too, even though I can't pinpoint anything in particular that is wrong with "that guy." We shun imaginative people as childish, regardless of the evidence.

What makes a guy that goes to a sporting event wearing his favorite player's jersey and shoes, cheering the team and yelling, "WE won, WE won!" any different from the guy that goes to a Star Wars premiere dressed as a Wookiee? The usual answer--one is imitating a real person that makes real money, and the other is imitating an imaginary character. Okay, what makes sports so important? It's entertainment. A game. It serves no functional purpose in society, so it's just as frivolous as a movie. It's just that it doesn't require imagination (and you can bet money on it), so it's "grown up."

Imagination is a critical thinking skill. Without imagination, it's a lot harder to solve complex problems. How can you solve a word problem if you're not able to imagine the situation the word problem describes? How can you develop spatial reasoning skills for geometry-heavy jobs (like carpentry) without the ability to imagine complex three-dimensional figures and perform operations on them in your head. Yeah, it's possible, but it's a lot slower. Lacking imagination robs you of that mental flexibility.

How can you empathize with someone without being able to imagine yourself in the same situation and decide how you'd feel? How can you effectively communicate with someone if you're not able to do that? Wonder why so many people are so awful at communicating or arguing in any reasonable way? That's why--they are fundamentally incapable of imagining themselves on the other side, dealing with any abstraction.

This same logic applies to video games. For some reason, those that imitate real life in some way (and space marines are still imitations of real life, so most sci-fi games are in this boat) are considered more valid, more grown-up. Games that are more abstract and imaginative (look at Limbo for a quick example of an imaginative game clearly not meant for little kids) are written off as "kid games" or "casual games," or some other title that indicates they're just junk food without any real meat.

As we forget how to imagine (as a culture), we'll be less accepting of these imagination-based games. And as a result, the obedient market will make less of them, further leading us to forget. This downward spiral in an unfortunate product of a culture that forgets that the currency of the world isn't the dollar (or pound or Euro, to be fair)--it's the idea.

Teach kids how to manipulate money, and the world becomes the machine world of the Matrix without even having to make the machines. Teach kids how to work in ideas, and the world can improve. After all, how do you create a better world if you can't even imagine what that better world would look like?

I've been replaying through the first Spyro game on the PS1, and I must say, the worlds are just far more charming and interesting then worlds in games today.

In Spyro there are four worlds, each with their own enemies, levels and art style. And its just fantastic. The game itself isn't too hard, but I don't mind, its funny, fun, and just a blast to play. The worlds are colorful and unique, the enemies are varied and fun to fight, the music is diverse, and its just a fantastic experience.

And then there's Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, and plenty of other "kiddie" games that are all better then most "mature" games. Mainly because they're definition of "mature" is serious situations rather then swearing a lot and cleavage.

Scrumpmonkey:
I find this argument slighty odd, every series has an ammount of expectation behind what it can and will be. Saying the "non childrens games" are dvoid of any veriety or innovation is simply WRONG. Or to put it in more detail is simply as wrong as saying that everything for the Wii/ Kinect audience is a mini-game fest of submediocrity. The majority IS. But the majority does tend to be slightly bland and crappy in most mediums.

You couldn't show a person a screenshot of STALKER and have them think it was Cod. You certainly coudn't show someone a screenshot of TF2 and have them think it was CoD. Infact there are hundreds of games like that; from the cell shaded RPG infusions of Borderlands to the Sci-Fi hills of Halo (M rated game, NO ZOMBIES!) there is a lot of veriety even in just the FPS genre.

This isn't even mentioning that bastion of colour; JAPAN. Are you going to sit there all call Beyonetta (m rated game, no zombies) destaurated?, Persona 4 (M rated game no Zombies), No More Heroes (M rated game, no zombies) hell even FF14 are all fgames that are busrting with vibracy and almost surreal design.

"Fantasy-themed games aren't much better. They all tend to look like minor variations on Tolkien's Middle-earth by way of the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual" Yes, if you just look at those games as a definition of "fantasy". There was this one series, you knoe people quite like, long history i don't know FINAL FANTASY.

Im not even going to go into M rated indie games.

Bottom line; Rated M does not mean less innovative, colourful or imaginative.

There's a difference between games being devoid of innovation, and games being devoid of imagination. Zombies were once imaginative. They were the result of a thought experiment, sort of a "what would happen if..." And, man, what a compelling thought that can be! There are so many ins and outs to imagine and work your way around. It's really the ultimate doomsday scenario.

But games now? It's not about problem solving or imagining. It's about killing zombies when you've got pretty damned unlimited weaponry. These aren't zombie survival, they're zombie hunting games. Which puts the focus on the hunting, rather than the zombies, which isn't imaginative at all.

The problem isn't that games lack innovation--new game mechanics are popped out with every game on the shelves--it's that they tend to dismiss imaginative elements as "childish" or "immature," the sign of a bad game or a game meant for a lesser audience. But even this is just the symptom of a cultural problem, where people are forgetting the importance of imagination (see my post above).

its a shame that something that looks "kiddie" cant get more respect.

but the weird thing is that its the kiddie looking games that can be the darkest and most disturbing because they look some colorful and lighthearted, like Im playing tho an old ds game called Magical Starsign and I just had a char commit suicide because she was depressed and had been abused. If the game looked like dragon age I probably wouldnt have cared but because its got this colorful atmosphere it comes off as pretty damn depressing and has a big impact

Worgen:
its a shame that something that looks "kiddie" cant get more respect.

but the weird thing is that its the kiddie looking games that can be the darkest and most disturbing because they look some colorful and lighthearted, like Im playing tho an old ds game called Magical Starsign and I just had a char commit suicide because she was depressed and had been abused. If the game looked like dragon age I probably wouldnt have cared but because its got this colorful atmosphere it comes off as pretty damn depressing and has a big impact

Look into the pen-and-paper RPG Little Fears. Highly-imaginative, centered around kids, but quite dark and disturbing.

Can anyone recommend a children's games for the DS that gives a sense of adventure, does not require reading and is actually good?

dastardly:
I think the principal mistake they are making is calling these "games intended for children." The "E for Everyone" is an attempt to fix that, but they just can't seem to get past the notion of it being a "kid game."

As TVTropes informed me, the G rating for movies was supposed to mean "General Audiences", AKA acceptable viewing for all ages. Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Star Trek: The Motion Picture were originally given G ratings, despite some pretty horrifying things in all of them. But G has come to mean "Grandmas and Babies", so even largely inoffensive animated or kids' flicks will throw in a "damn" to bump themselves up to PG. I imagine a similar mindset is at play here.

dastardly:
In Western culture, anything that requires or speaks to imagination is for kids. Imagination itself is treated as a childish luxury. Adults have forgotten how to imagine, and thus have forgotten that it is not a luxury, but an essential life skill. It's like chopping off your fingers because they don't seem as useful as the thumb...

This. I read adult fantasy fiction fairly religiously in my teens and early 20s, but dropped the whole genre because every author was trying to be Tolkien, or worse, a "grim and grittier" version of Tolkien. This was around the time the Harry Potter books were building steam and prompting a whole new wave of children's and young-adult fantasy. And because they were "kids books", the authors were able to take chances and break away from the Tolkien formula. That saved the genre for me.

dastardly:

Adam Greenbrier:
Rated E for Everywhere

The worlds created in children's games are as rich as those in adult games, but adult players don't always see that richness.

Read Full Article

I think the principal mistake they are making is calling these "games intended for children." The "E for Everyone" is an attempt to fix that, but they just can't seem to get past the notion of it being a "kid game."

In Western culture, anything that requires or speaks to imagination is for kids. Imagination itself is treated as a childish luxury. Adults have forgotten how to imagine, and thus have forgotten that it is not a luxury, but an essential life skill. It's like chopping off your fingers because they don't seem as useful as the thumb...

Take some random stranger as an example. Let's say this guy is successful at his job, he pays his bills on time, he loves his wife and kids and spends good quality time with them, and is a fine upstanding member of his community...

...and in the evenings, to relax, he plays with action figures. Oh, now he's a weirdo! There's something wrong with him! He's doing something that requires imagination (and is thus "for kids"), so we look at him slantwise.

Even I do it. Like right now, I feel a compelling need to qualify this statement by saying I do not play with action figures at 28 years old. Because I do not want people to be under the impression that I'm "that guy." I feel it, too, even though I can't pinpoint anything in particular that is wrong with "that guy." We shun imaginative people as childish, regardless of the evidence.

What makes a guy that goes to a sporting event wearing his favorite player's jersey and shoes, cheering the team and yelling, "WE won, WE won!" any different from the guy that goes to a Star Wars premiere dressed as a Wookiee? The usual answer--one is imitating a real person that makes real money, and the other is imitating an imaginary character. Okay, what makes sports so important? It's entertainment. A game. It serves no functional purpose in society, so it's just as frivolous as a movie. It's just that it doesn't require imagination (and you can bet money on it), so it's "grown up."

Imagination is a critical thinking skill. Without imagination, it's a lot harder to solve complex problems. How can you solve a word problem if you're not able to imagine the situation the word problem describes? How can you develop spatial reasoning skills for geometry-heavy jobs (like carpentry) without the ability to imagine complex three-dimensional figures and perform operations on them in your head. Yeah, it's possible, but it's a lot slower. Lacking imagination robs you of that mental flexibility.

How can you empathize with someone without being able to imagine yourself in the same situation and decide how you'd feel? How can you effectively communicate with someone if you're not able to do that? Wonder why so many people are so awful at communicating or arguing in any reasonable way? That's why--they are fundamentally incapable of imagining themselves on the other side, dealing with any abstraction.

This same logic applies to video games. For some reason, those that imitate real life in some way (and space marines are still imitations of real life, so most sci-fi games are in this boat) are considered more valid, more grown-up. Games that are more abstract and imaginative (look at Limbo for a quick example of an imaginative game clearly not meant for little kids) are written off as "kid games" or "casual games," or some other title that indicates they're just junk food without any real meat.

As we forget how to imagine (as a culture), we'll be less accepting of these imagination-based games. And as a result, the obedient market will make less of them, further leading us to forget. This downward spiral in an unfortunate product of a culture that forgets that the currency of the world isn't the dollar (or pound or Euro, to be fair)--it's the idea.

Teach kids how to manipulate money, and the world becomes the machine world of the Matrix without even having to make the machines. Teach kids how to work in ideas, and the world can improve. After all, how do you create a better world if you can't even imagine what that better world would look like?

Very well said, thank you :)

I just want to add one thought in regards to this topic that always bugs me as well: In my (admittedly only anecdotal) experience, people who treasure and nurture their imagination might like those games intended for children for their imaginative ways, but they still tend to appreciate the other, "mature" stuff as well and enjoy both types without excluding one or the other.

At least this is how I tend to do it: I really enjoy some of the "wacky", colorful games supposedly intended for children and think they are a wonderful addition to my gaming experience, even if they might have some sort of "childish" background and may not be very challenging (which is good for me anyway, I am getting too old for this ;). However, I also can simultaneously enjoy the slick, mature and somewhat generic Space/Military/Whatever game, especially if they are particularly good in their execution of "universe realism" (meaning they might be in some non-realistic setting, but fill that setting believably and internally consistent).

Sadly, my experience says that the other way around is much rarer: The "mature/realistic" crowd seems to shun and even ridicule other games types, so they never get to experience then. It also seems that it is always this way around, I think I have never met a grown-up gamer still enjoying supposed "children games" who does so exclusively, they all dabble in other games and genres as well.

For me, that is the much better and richer gaming experience and I always found it sad and kinda infuriating that people from the "mature/realistic" camp were so dismissive about other games without even really trying those games out and being unwilling to broaden their horizon. Again, this are only my personal anecdotes, but that always bugged me.

Boemmel:
- snip -

In addition to being able to enjoy two different types of games (the two you listed), I imagine you also find you're able to enjoy each of them differently because of your more open tastes. That is to say, there are things in the "realistic" games that you can appreciate on a different and deeper level because you're more open to the whole experience, not just "the business."

Falseprophet:

dastardly:
I think the principal mistake they are making is calling these "games intended for children." The "E for Everyone" is an attempt to fix that, but they just can't seem to get past the notion of it being a "kid game."

As TVTropes informed me, the G rating for movies was supposed to mean "General Audiences", AKA acceptable viewing for all ages. Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Star Trek: The Motion Picture were originally given G ratings, despite some pretty horrifying things in all of them. But G has come to mean "Grandmas and Babies", so even largely inoffensive animated or kids' flicks will throw in a "damn" to bump themselves up to PG. I imagine a similar mindset is at play here.

dastardly:
In Western culture, anything that requires or speaks to imagination is for kids. Imagination itself is treated as a childish luxury. Adults have forgotten how to imagine, and thus have forgotten that it is not a luxury, but an essential life skill. It's like chopping off your fingers because they don't seem as useful as the thumb...

This. I read adult fantasy fiction fairly religiously in my teens and early 20s, but dropped the whole genre because every author was trying to be Tolkien, or worse, a "grim and grittier" version of Tolkien. This was around the time the Harry Potter books were building steam and prompting a whole new wave of children's and young-adult fantasy. And because they were "kids books", the authors were able to take chances and break away from the Tolkien formula. That saved the genre for me.

Indeed. Adults are stubborn. They know what they like--and they like what they know. Some people think we appear to lose our imaginations because, as we mature, we become less prone to flights of whimsy and have a firmer grasp on reality. I think it's nearly the exact opposite. As we grow, we put aside imagination... and as a result, we can only grasp an inflexible view of reality, because we are no longer able to imagine it any other way.

http://img49.imageshack.us/i/conker3fd0.png/

Picture of conker bad fur day to emphasis the other people point about the fact that ''mature'' game can be just as innovative and imaginative as kids games. The problem isn't the labeling anyway the problem is that developers themselves SUCK BALLS recently and Im craving for good games... My god its been a long time since I felt good playing a GREAT game. Something truely new and not something to make more cash and more cash... f$?*"%g developers.

PS: Can anyone tell me how to insert a picture in this forum, the classic image Doesn't seem to work.

Call Of Duty should have a hallucinatory experience where you find yourself battling through waves of flower-toting Care Bears.

I think I would pay good money for a shooter that uses a children's game back drop. It always worked for Judge Dredd comics. They pulled that gag more than once.

Scrumpmonkey:
Bottom line; Rated M does not mean less innovative, colourful or imaginative.

I agree. My point was more that the inverse is true as well: Rated E doesn't mean bland, boring games without anything to interest adults. The settings in kids' games are just one of the things they have to offer.

dastardly:
Take some random stranger as an example. Let's say this guy is successful at his job, he pays his bills on time, he loves his wife and kids and spends good quality time with them, and is a fine upstanding member of his community...

...and in the evenings, to relax, he plays with action figures. Oh, now he's a weirdo! There's something wrong with him! He's doing something that requires imagination (and is thus "for kids"), so we look at him slantwise.

Even I do it. Like right now, I feel a compelling need to qualify this statement by saying I do not play with action figures at 28 years old. Because I do not want people to be under the impression that I'm "that guy." I feel it, too, even though I can't pinpoint anything in particular that is wrong with "that guy." We shun imaginative people as childish, regardless of the evidence.

I don't know what your situation is like, but I've found that having a child has made it easier to embrace things traditionally set aside as being "for kids." Part of the inspiration for this article was a realization that I didn't have any video games in my collection that I felt comfortable playing in front of my son. I'm a huge fan of horror games, but I didn't want him watching me play Dead Space or Silent Hill; that's just not something I'm comfortable with. I started looking into E-rated games in an effort to find something that I would be comfortable playing with him when he's older, and what I found were some startlingly imaginative games I would have otherwise overlooked.

I don't know that I would have explored those games before my son was born. Any that I did play (like Super Mario Galaxy), I felt the need to qualify with praise for its mechanics or justify by way of my history with the franchise. I was concerned that people would assume that I was immature, and I was concerned that I was somehow supporting the notion that video games are just for kids. I now have a ready-made excuse ("It's for my kid"), but I don't need it. I'm comfortable now in anticipating Epic Mickey and Dead Space 2 equally in the same way that I don't have any problem reading both Watchmen and Calvin and Hobbes. It's on the observer to decide how to judge me.

Falseprophet:
I read adult fantasy fiction fairly religiously in my teens and early 20s, but dropped the whole genre because every author was trying to be Tolkien, or worse, a "grim and grittier" version of Tolkien. This was around the time the Harry Potter books were building steam and prompting a whole new wave of children's and young-adult fantasy. And because they were "kids books", the authors were able to take chances and break away from the Tolkien formula. That saved the genre for me.

If you haven't read it and don't mind starting series that haven't been finished, I highly recommend Clive Barker's Abarat books. Look for the editions illustrated by his paintings. He's created a fantasy world almost entirely divorced from Tolkien's legacy, and it's wonderful.

Adam Greenbrier:
I don't know what your situation is like, but I've found that having a child has made it easier to embrace things traditionally set aside as being "for kids." ...

Oh, definitely. It's like that for me, too (just with nieces and nephews). It's just, for me, it's a bizarre cultural force that compels me to feel that I need that excuse in order to not seem like a whack-job. I ignore it and do as I please, generally, but it's still there as some vestigial "red flag" that once warned my distant ancestor.

...I started looking into E-rated games in an effort to find something that I would be comfortable playing with him when he's older, and what I found were some startlingly imaginative games I would have otherwise overlooked.

And it's incredible how many people still do. God help us, we need to play more as adults. My like-minded friends and I routinely engage in games of Creationary--which is essentially Pictionary with LEGOS--and have an absolute damned blast. We've collected (and subsequently modified) a collection of Nerf blasters, with which we occasionally bombard each other. We find ourselves enjoying recreational props that most people would call "toys," and you know what--screw it--they are toys. And we enjoy them. And we're better people for it.

Video games prove that imagination isn't quite dead yet. I mean, people don't mind stepping into the shoes of a space marine. It's just that they tend to stay in the shallow end of the pool. "I'll pretend to be some other realistic or believable-humanoid person, engaging in activities that are at least facsimiles of real-life activities... but don't ask me to step any further outside the box, please."

And the big studios aren't doing much to challenge those players. For everything imaginative that comes out, there's five of the same-old simulation titles, because that's what makes them money. And because the market's full of them, the people have no reason to challenge themselves--there are just so many of the familiar options readily available, so why risk it?--so the cycle persists.

And I really believe that we're hemorrhaging potential as a culture because we keep letting the skill of imagination slip away.

Well done, excellent article. I was under the impression that very few games actually tried to deliver a worthwhile experience for children, here defined not as 'an experience tailored for children' but as 'an experience that is adequate for all, including children'. I was under the impression that the Mario games were the only franchise to do so. I'm glad that I was wrong. Wow, there's a Boy and his Blob game on the Wii? It came out last year? There might be hope for the game industry yet.

And I know where all this is coming from. Even though the gaming industry is built on the violence of Doom and Duke Nukem as much as on the flights of fancy of Mario and Sonic, games always have and continue to be seen as children's toys. So we, serious gamers, feel the need to straighten our berets, sip our wine and state that we are making mature games, and you can see that they're mature because they deal with mature themes like tits and blood. The people who are developing games nowadays are those that took it up during the nineties, when it was a weird thing for children and childish men, and they're desperate to prove it isn't. Unfortunately they haven't got a real grip of how. Sometimes they put out things like Bioshock and Assassin's Creed that scratch at the edge of what real mature works are, but mostly they just make sure that every corner of the game is full of sex and violence so that no one can be mistaken that these games are not for ADULTS. And so they are as much for adults as porn is for adults, as opposed to how intelligent movies are for adults.

I thought about this for a while, and I have a theory. Any form of media in which it's as easy to create fantastical world as it is to create lifelike worlds is seen as childish, due to the aforementioned association of imagination and childishness. So movies aren't seen as childish because it takes considerable more work to create an imaginary landscape than a real one (you can just shoot a real landscape, but you need to create an imaginary one from the bottom up). Meanwhile in a game it doesn't matter if you're creating an inch-by-inch simulation of Manhattan or the planet Florp of the flying donut dragons, you're starting from the first polygons up. The same is true for graphic novels - it takes as much work to draw a man as an elf. Only classical art gets off the hook on this one, since people have thousands of years of proof that they can be serious, so they don't wave off Salvador Dali.

But, just like those people making games for we grown up hardcore teabagging experts will turn to the same motifs over and over and over and over, the people making games for children will, even if not turn to the same motifs, certainly to the same gameplay. If you take a pile of all games rated E for the last two generations I bet the Mario 64 clones (clumsy platformers about jumping over stuff) will outnumber everything else. And on the Wii poor controller waggling 'party' games will as well. And there's a reason for this. Devs know that children can't complain about games. When they hear about something they want they'll ask for it to their moms, and their moms will buy it not being really sure about what it's like, and if the game is a piece of shit the child will have nothing to do but pout, especially if they're not rich/spoiled enough that their mom will just buy a new one. So the quality of kids' games is lower because devs know they can get away with it. (And maybe because devs think it isn't 'real' gaming, like Dudebro II: My Shit Is Fucked Up So I Got To Shoot/Slice You II: It's Straight Up Dog Time[1]) And that's horrible, because as we gamer grow up and get jobs and get elected to Senate and die, who's gonna replace us, if the children don't know what real gaming is about because they're only allowed to play crap? Are we forced to choose between letting our children play Gears of War if we want them to know what real level design is like or making them safe with another Looney Toones games that not even toddlers can enjoy?

Not to mention, of course, that having a clear definition between kids' games and adults' games will help to some extent getting moral guardians off our backs. No one complains about Buchowski's books because a kid might think it's Harry Potter. The reason why so many people are up on our grill is - well, it's because gaming is the next ball to sink, but also because you look at a top ten games list and nine of them are going to be about people exploding bloodily.

If having children is one of the signs of maturity, wouldn't making a piece of art that speaks honestly to children without being inappropriate one of the main signs that gaming is a mature art form?

[1] A game that apparently was created solely so people like me would no longer need to come up with crazy names for generic action shooting game with grimdark protagonists. Which is how its name was created, incidentally.

Wow, people are calling "games for children" imaginative and innovative when 99.9% of them are the crappiest movie/cartoon/merch licensed dross ever? Seriously? I think we're picking out the VERY BEST non-violent games and comparing them to mainstream games that are particularly boring retreads. Genre ruts and copycat games are hardly a problem only in the testosterone segment.

Yeah, I admit the recent crop of brown shooters is really wringing the genre dry, but FPSes were quite innovative at one time. Some of us really do want games that are gritty, bloody, and dark. I'd like more "mature" ones that demonstrate the results of one's actions better, too, like having to live with the consequences of killing. You know, as in actually mature, not just with the trappings of such. If people are arguing that games aren't innovative enough, I agree. If people are arguing "all ages" games are better, I don't think I'm very convinced.

I appreciate a good all-ages friendly game once in a while. I liked Psychonauts, Okami, and some others. Overall, however, I think kid stuff is boring. A lot of kid games are full of insane grind and highly repetitive unchallenging gameplay even if they have cute trappings (see Shamus Young's recent rant on Animal Crossing). Ceteris paribus, I would vastly prefer a game with a violent theme over one that is more all-ages friendly. I stopped reading children's books when I was in 4th grade and never looked back. I hated being a kid; I like being a bitter old man. Don't take my videogame guns from me. And git off mah lawn.

I don't consider most of the games/movies you mentioned to be solely made for and targeted to kids.

beema:
I don't consider most of the games/movies you mentioned to be solely made for and targeted to kids.

I think there is a complete disconnect here about the difference between a target audience and a rating. A lot of E games are not necessarily made for kids, but are appropriate for kids. Family games don't always cater to the lowest common denominator, but they can be enjoyed by the younger games. I don't agree with this article in most respects. And if you want to see diverse adult games, stop hanging out in FPS sphere and check out independent titles which can certainly reach adult type ratings.

This made me think about some of my game choices in a new way.

Would I buy Mario Galaxy if I didn't have a history with the series? I really don't think I would. An ugly fat little dude, simplistic mechanics, no deep or interesting plot like what I normally enjoy. As an adult I consider Mario an enjoyable pick-up-and-play game for short bursts, but I have no idea if I would find it as enjoyable if I weren't 'trained', as it were, to do so.

Scrumpmonkey:

goliath6711:

Scrumpmonkey:
I find this argument slighty odd, every series has an ammount of expectation behind what it can and will be. Saying the "non childrens games" are dvoid of any veriety or innovation is simply WRONG. Or to put it in more detail is simply as wrong as saying that everything for the Wii/ Kinect audience is a mini-game fest of submediocrity. The majority IS. But the majority does tend to be slightly bland and crappy in most mediums.

You couldn't show a person a screenshot of STALKER and have them think it was Cod. You certainly coudn't show someone a screenshot of TF2 and have them think it was CoD. Infact there are hundreds of games like that; from the cell shaded RPG infusions of Borderlands to the Sci-Fi hills of Halo (M rated game, NO ZOMBIES!) there is a lot of veriety even in just the FPS genre.

This isn't even mentioning that bastion of colour; JAPAN. Are you going to sit there all call Beyonetta (m rated game, no zombies) destaurated?, Persona 4 (M rated game no Zombies), No More Heroes (M rated game, no zombies) hell even FF14 are all fgames that are busrting with vibracy and almost surreal design.

"Fantasy-themed games aren't much better. They all tend to look like minor variations on Tolkien's Middle-earth by way of the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual" Yes, if you just look at those games as a definition of "fantasy". There was this one series, you knoe people quite like, long history i don't know FINAL FANTASY.

Im not even going to go into M rated indie games.

Bottom line; Rated M does not mean less innovative, colourful or imaginative.

Are you really going with the argument that M rated games that involve killing things that aren't zombies counts as innovative???

Im going with the argument that innovative M rated games are innovative. There can even be innovative games that are M rated and DO involve killing zombies.

But I still get to kill zombies, right? It's hardly worth playing if I'm not killing zombies.

(Yeah, I'm a mindless hype-slave that follows every trend and can't see a bandwagon without jumping on it.)

In all fairness though, I agree with the idea that M-rated games don't have to be less innovative. My question, though, would be: is it true that all, or even most, "E"-rated games are shunned by adults / the "hardcore" gamer set? There are a lot of games that are obviously (and fairly exclusively) aimed at kids, true, but they tend to be for a couple of specific platforms (hello, Nintendo Wii / DS) and marketed in a certain way.

Case in point: the "Tycoon" games were suitable for "everyone". Would anybody call "Transport Tycoon" - a colourful game if ever there was one - something that's only marketed at the kids?

And come to think of it, isn't the so-called "hardcore gamer" a very specific minority in today's market? I play a lot of FPSs (although I haven't bothered to try any of the "Medal of Honor", "Call of Duty" or "Modern Warfare" series, I'm more of a Bioshock / Fallout kinda guy myself) but there's no way I would call myself "hardcore". And that's despite the fact that I probably average several hours a week playing videogames of some kind or another (I know, compared to the biggest WoW or FPS junkies that's a pittance, but I have a full-time job as well).

Yeah... I gotta go with the naysayers on this one. What the author seems to be arguing here is that a very specific subset of gamers - which is a VERY small percentage of the whole - who are into a certain kind of thing, are in some way deficient because they're ONLY into that certain kind of thing. Well, everyone has different tastes, I won't stop you from doing what you want if you don't stop me from doing what I want, etc, etc. I don't think it's a problem.

Well I guess I may have found one of the reasons why I prefer kids games.

Interesting article, a nice addition to this week's issue. I've noticed that I personally play different genres for different reasons, but the games that simply engage me in a 'child-like' fantasy world are often the games that I have the most fond memories of. I loved the challenge of F-zero GX, I adore the fun of Mario Kart, I had a great time with Timesplitters, but it are games like The Windwaker and Mario Galaxy that pop in my head when I'm asked for my 'best game experiences'.

Hmm, maybe I should ask a Boy and his Blob for Christmas.

Scrumpmonkey:
Halo (M rated game, NO ZOMBIES!)

Halo has zombies.

Fck that most games not only look the same they play in the same generic and bland way.....

I still consider Spyro, Oddworld, Crash Bandicoot and Psychonauts some of my favourite games of all time. To this day, I'll go back and play Jumping Flash from the PS1. I know I'm not the only person who still plays and enjoys family games.

It is a bit of a shame, though, that a lot of modern family games are things without any kind of coherent plot or story, like PopCap casual games, the Sims, Kinectimals, etc. Maybe I'm just blind and can't see them when I walk into stores, but it almost seems like there are an awful lot less (proportionately speaking) family games of the varied and interesting variety coming out now. That's not to say that they aren't there, but I can just name a lot more high quality kid-friendly franchises I used to play growing up than I can think of that are running now.

badgersprite:
I still consider Spyro, Oddworld, Crash Bandicoot and Psychonauts some of my favourite games of all time. To this day, I'll go back and play Jumping Flash from the PS1. I know I'm not the only person who still plays and enjoys family games.

It is a bit of a shame, though, that a lot of modern family games are things without any kind of coherent plot or story, like PopCap casual games, the Sims, Kinectimals, etc. Maybe I'm just blind and can't see them when I walk into stores, but it almost seems like there are an awful lot less (proportionately speaking) family games of the varied and interesting variety coming out now. That's not to say that they aren't there, but I can just name a lot more high quality kid-friendly franchises I used to play growing up than I can think of that are running now.

For many of us, the games we grew up with and the kid-friendly games of today are mostly the same franchises. The franchises that survived since our childhoods can be looked down upon for the developers creating more games inside the same series instead of branching out...but the point of this article is why I still love the new entries in the game series of previous generations. Here's a kind of short list of games from this generation that I either own or wish I owned that I think are both good and suitable for children:

Wii:

a boy and his blob
New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2
Punch-out!!
Sonic Colors (From what I've seen, this is the 3D Sonic that the fans have been waiting for)
Mario Kart Wii
Mario Party 8
Super Paper Mario (this guy does get around when it comes to genres)
Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Kirby's Epic Yarn
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Wii Sports Resort

I do not own a PS3, so I'm sure I'll miss most of its examples:
Little Big Planet, Little Big Planet 2
Ratchet and Clank franchise
Fat Princess

360:
Several, but I can't think of any exclusives...so they'll be covered in other lists

PC:
Minecraft
...don't hurt me, PC fans. I'm more of a console gamer, so I can't think of many PC exclusives from this generation that are kid friendly.

Multi-platform:
The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess
Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
Portal
Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing
Street Fighter IV
Okami
Hard Corps: Uprising
Guitar Hero, DJ Hero, and Rock Band franchises
NBA Jam
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1
Megaman 9, Megaman 10

Re-releases:
Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection

Mario All Stars (re-released for the 25th aniversary)
Pikmin (updated for the Wii...had the 30 day timer removed, I think)

Everything on the Virtual Console, a good chunk of XBL Arcade, and (I'm assuming) some great games re-released on the PS Home (not to mention, I'd guess some of the PS2 games appropriate for children were given the blue-ray makeover treatment)

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here