132: Play Like a 3-Year-Old

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Play Like a 3-Year-Old

"Did you know you can win the first level of Star Wars just by standing in one place, turning in constant circles and holding down the "X" button? Aunt Wendy got something right. He was thrilled. And when he heard the cheerful chimes, a signal to those of all ages that you've won something, there was jumping around and fists in the air and lots of shouting I didn't understand.

"But then the next level came up, and things started to go downhill. The instant it began he looked confused. It took him a few seconds to put it into words, but then he said it. 'I already won this level.'"

Wendy Despain cleanses her doors of perception, and sees games as they truly are: fun or not.

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Marble Blast Gold and nanosaur 2 are pre installed on macs. I know because my school as some macs and everyone just plays marble blast.

Beautiful article! Absolutely brilliant. If more incidents like these happen, please post them. It is nice to see how really narrow-minded designers (and players alike) have become. This article revealed things I haven't thought of before and I will make sure to think about them further down the road.

Hope you make more experiments on your relatives!

Great article, i can really relate to that situation.
When I gave my Gamecube to my younger brother (4 at the time) I was surprised at how frustrated he got at supposed 'kids' games like Mario Sunshine and Sonic Adventure, in fact he demanded we got his Mega Drive back so he could play 'real Sonic. I often find myself feeling the same way, games just aren't fun anymore, but that doesnt stop me buying all the ultra hyped 'next-gen' titles :(

Haha, Sonic for the win. Games used to be all about holding down right and pressing the jump button. Now they're about holding down everything but right and pressing a billion shooting buttons! :P

That was a really great article. Actually, that's one of the most annoying things in games, cinematics that can't be skipped. What the hell?

The writer of this article is a liar. There is no way to beat Star Wars Battlefront by turning in constant circles and pressing the X button. If you do that you'll be out of ammo in about ten seconds and you'll be dead about ten seconds later and you'll lose the level to the AI in a few minutes - even on the easiest difficulty setting.

As for the second level looking like the first, that can't happen either. The levels all look very different from one another. The only way it can look the same is if you set the game to give you the same level over and over again.

Somehow I think this writer is hoping that her readers have never played Star Wars Battlefront. Well I have, and it's a classic game that deserves better than to be outright LIED about.

Sorry, but if you're going to write an article, base it on some game's REAL flaws. Making up nonsense about a game you've obviously never played is called LYING. If you lie about the first game in your article how can I expect you to tell the truth about the second, third and fourth? How do I know your whole article is not just a big lie?

I haven't played the game myself, but whether it was creative license or not doesn't really matter. The point still stands. I'm sure all of us can think of a game or 12 where the difference between level 1 and level 2 is primarily map layout and the enemies being a bit faster/tougher/more accurate.

The writer is outright lying about the game. You cannot do what she says you can do to win the level. It can't be done! The point DOESN'T still stand because her 'point' is a LIE. She assumes that SW:BF allows you to have unlimited ammo and she assumes that you don't have to capture victory points. Clearly she's never played the game and she doesn't know what she's talking about. Even if you stand at a victory point on top of an ammo station you STILL can't beat the game by circling and pressing the fire button because even if you survive the AI will take all the other VPs and you will lose.

This is a clear example of a writer cynically writing an article based on fantasy because she doesn't have enough real examples from which to draw.

The rest of her article is on thin ice too. I mean cutscenes have been an accepted part of gaming for years. They are a way to carry the story forward. I personally welcome well-made cutscenes and intros because they set the scene. I love Assassin's Creed for the way it FORCES the player to watch every cutscene. I hate games where the developer thinks so poorly of the game's story that they allow the player to skip them. If a player doesn't have the patience to watch a cutscene he shouldn't be playing the game - games shouldn't be all about all-action all-the-time or maximizing the player's score. Players need to understand that games sometimes need to force the player to sit back and enjoy a cutscene just for its beauty and so he can gain a deeper appreciation for the story. Because that's what games are - stories. Sometimes it seems to me that some gamers want to remove the story altogether so that they can just shoot all the time, but to me that would just make games grindfests. Where's the fun in that?

Finally, I'm not a three year-old - I'm 45. I do not want the games I play to be designed for a three year-old. I have a four year-old daughter myself and she is lacking a lot of the dexterity and intellect that I have at my disposal. I doubt I'd find much of interest in a game that she would find challenging. Her favourite game right now is Backyardigans Mission to Mars. Somehow I don't think I'd find that too taxing, or much fun.

This is an excellent concept, but I'm not sure I share all of the conclusions.

Long intro cut scenes for example... much as I don't want my games to be movies with minimal interactivity this can be a great way to set the scene. To insist that a game has no scene setting at all seems wrong to me. Some games need it. Likewise with the idea that a game can be picked up and played with no instructions.

Now sure, if I was designing for three year olds then these would be essential factors, but the games being played don't fall into that category.

Example from my own experience: one of my kids at age four was playing Armadillo Run and became frustrated at the tendency of long cloth strips to break. Does that make this a misfeature which should be removed? No, clearly not. It just means Armadillo Run is not ideal for four year olds.

Um, Beery, you seem to be getting a little over-agitated at the implication that someone is "lying" about a game that is near and dear to your heart. It's one thing to call someone on "hey you may have gotten this wrong", but it doesn't accomplish much to pitch a fit at a percieved inaccuracy.

I think the point of this article is a good one. Just because something is "the way it's always been done", doesn't mean that it shouldn't be questioned. The untrained eyes of a 3-year-old don't know that games are SUPPOSED to have lots and lots of movie-type cutscenes, or that all these other little conventions exist. While the most immediate conclusion that you might draw is "keep this in mind when making a kid's game", there'd be merit to keeping this in mind when making games for [I]anyone[/i].

It's true. Experienced gamers that have been hammering away at the controlpads and keyboards for years are just going to gloss over rough spots that a non-gamer wouldn't notice. We've gone from hold right and press jump to... other stuff? A function for every freakin' button on that control pad, argh. So many games these days have complicated control schemes, and they operate under all sorts of assumptions that would make a non-gamer go "meh". It would do everyone some good, longtime gamers and newbies alike, if designers could take an association-free perspective when making games. There's merit in expanding the ol' market, right? Isn't the Wii proof of it?

I'm not getting over-agitated. I'm just getting agitated enough. The game she's talking about doesn't behave the way she claims it behaves. This calls into question her entire premise. I mean if she's wrong about that game doesn't that suggest that she might be wrong about other things?

While I'm sure there are games that fit her critique, why does she choose a game that clearly doesnt? I'll tell you why - it's because she's committed herself to her conclusion and she's willing to lie in order to support it.

The thing is, her conclusions may be correct, but lying about games is no way to prove her point. For a skeptic like me such underhanded tactics make me think twice about accepting what she says. Others may be more gullible.

Beery:
Words. Not once, but twice.

OK, we get it, you disagree and can't be bothered to change much anything of your posts in the interim. Do us all a favor and at least vary things if you're going to attempt to take up one-third of the thread for its remainder.

Also, maybe you're just not very good if a 3-year-old can do it and you can't.

If you can't see that when an article lies it shouldn't be taken seriously I have a bridge to sell you.

And if, on a forum, a person can't respond to multiple posts with multiple posts then maybe it shouldn't be called a forum. I don't think a person should be berated on a FORUM for the amount of stuff written (especially by a person who has 890 posts under his belt). It's not as if I'm writing the equivalent of War and Peace in each post, and contrary to your assertion my posts all say different things. Read them and you'll see that.

At this point, you're the only one saying anyone's lying, and given your vehemence, you're just coming off like you're upset someone found a flaw in your favorite game. I think it's the multiple uses of the word "lie," since calling someone a liar is pretty much the internet equivalent of an 18th century challenge to a duel. Getting so binary about one level in one game (when God knows there's a plethora of games with this problem, and Battlefront isn't exactly a pinnacle of level or AI design) betrays some deeper emotion here. Or a lack of ability to see the big picture.

Look, if she's not telling the truth about a game, that makes her a liar. I'm sorry that you don't like the word, but when a person lies I'm not going to use some lesser word for it. Political correctness is not my strong point.

Battlefront may not be the pinnacle of game design, but if the writer wants to make a point about that it should be based in fact, not in falsehood. If there are a plethora of games that meet her description why didn't she choose one of them?

If she's telling the truth about the game, show me how it's true because I simply don't see how what she says can be done can possibly be done in the game.

Beery:
Players need to understand that games sometimes need to force the player to sit back and enjoy a cutscene just for its beauty and so he can gain a deeper appreciation for the story. Because that's what games are - stories. Sometimes it seems to me that some gamers want to remove the story altogether so that they can just shoot all the time, but to me that would just make games grindfests. Where's the fun in that?

Chess doesn't have any cutscenes and it's pretty fun. According to your logic here, a game of Battle Chess with a story line is better than a regular game of chess.

Actually, according to your statement "...that's what games are - stories" chess and checkers and poker and backgammon aren't even *games*

So ah, what are they? :-D

Not to mention I don't remember any cutscenes or significant backstory in Beserker or Robotron, and those were *great* games.

You should be a little more open to the fact that not everyone plays games for the story every single time they play a game. There's plenty of fun in what you're calling a 'grindfest' for plenty of people. You just have to realize that your personal preferences are not the measure of all others.

The article makes an interesting point, but I'm not so sure my fundamental rule of gaming needs to be "intuitive enough a 3-year old can enjoy it." Yes, too many current games are caricatures of the "let's fit 200 different controls on a 15 button controller and another 25 icons on the screen" mode of game design, that many of us long for the days of "run,jump,shoot" (and has made the Wii so popular) and extravagant cut scenes and excessive loading times have often ruined games ever since the days of grainy FMV on Sega CD. And of course game play issues, where failure and constant frustration is part of the equation - i.e. dying 50 times to beat a level or not being able to save a game in any place you want, thus forcing you to to take 20 minutes to replay a section of a game you've beat already, etc. have also made current games not as fun as they could be. But let's not throw out the baby with the bath water.

When done right, its possible to create a complex gaming experience that's also not needlessly complicated. Can a 3 year old pick up BioShock and enjoy it? Should they? Many consider it the best game of 2007, but I don't think it matters whether its "better" than say a classic game Space Invaders. I've had fun playing both, they are just different experiences. A good game doesn't need to cater to all - I'm perfectly happy with the occasional easy-to-pick-up game with simple, arcadey controls and other times I'm looking for something that takes a little longer to master, but might provide a more realistic or more intense experience.I'll play Burnout and Forza 2 or even go back to RC Pro Am. I'm really into NHL '08 now, but I'll go back to NHL '94 on genesis every now and then. There are games when I played when I was maybe 5,6 years old that I was content with having ran around the first level or so, that I've gone back as I've gotten older and beaten the difficult levels. Although I still can't beat Eco the Dolphin.

I think a lot of time, game makers get into trouble when they try to be all things to all people. Which unfortunately becomes the case when there is so much pressure to maximize profit as games become so expensive to make, and small developers are swallowed up by huge corporations. Sometimes choices, when possible, make a game better but plenty of times uneven difficulty levels, or sometimes just the overwhelming variety and # of decisions in a game leads to a poor overall experience. (It's like going into a restaurant with 100 different things on the menu, when all you really want is one good piece of steak.) However, diversity among games in the gaming market is good. Although I can certainly understand how many of today's games are imposing on young kids or older gamers who haven't really played since the days of Pac Man. (Try even explaining the xbox 360 controller to a non-gamer for instance.) Maybe it was a luxury for many of us, who grew up learning games within the confines of 2-dimensions and simple control pads like atari, nintendo, or in the arcades. Maybe the Wii is a good return to that.

But for me, I'll play games that are fun to me - not necessarily to a 3 year old or to a 30-year old reviewer. If anything, gamers should be demanding games are fun for themselves, and thinking critically about it, rather than trusting the industry or the gaming press to make their choices for them.

Beery:
Look, if she's not telling the truth about a game, that makes her a liar. I'm sorry that you don't like the word, but when a person lies I'm not going to use some lesser word for it. Political correctness is not my strong point.

...

If she's telling the truth about the game, show me how it's true because I simply don't see how what she says can be done can possibly be done in the game.

The problem here is that you're equivocating when it comes to the word 'true', between truth as 'the opposite of a lie' and as 'a correct statement of fact'.

A lie is more than making an incorrect statement of fact. It implies some lack of a belief on the part of the person making the statement as to whether the statement is correct.

So just because "she's not telling the truth about a game" that does not necessarily entail that she is a "liar." If she truly believes what she wrote--even if what she wrote is not the truth--she is not a liar. She is mistaken, but not a liar.

So one does not have to 'show you how it's true' to claim she's not a liar. One simply has to show that, although things are as you say they are, she honestly believed things to be as she stated them.

I wouldn't worry so much about the fact that "[p]olitical correctness is not [your] strong point" when it seems your real weakness is your understanding of the words you are using.

I think a lot of time, game makers get into trouble when they try to be all things to all people.

This does say a lot. While game designers should not feel obligated to make everything they create simple enough for a 3 year old, they should try to remember to not overcomplicate matters, either. We old-timey gamers DO have the luxury of having all these years to adjust to more and more buttons, more complex modes of play, and repeated tropes that seem to exist from one game to another. And y'know, it works. We old-timey people who grasp the medium (and hug it and love it and call it George) have created a market for some fantastic games that yes, have complicated control schemes and cutscenes and no end of fiddley-widdly stuff. Bioshock? Oh hell yeah, that's great. But not every game is Bioshock, and not every game has to be Bioshock. There's room in the lives of hardcore gamers to peel back all the layers of cruft and knowledge, and both play and make games that are free of that.

I got a few giggles from this artical. Well done.

I play COD like a three year old, and get my arse handed to me. >:U

Thanks Lampdevil. Game publishers are constantly looking for that holy grail of mass appeal. But in my 20+ years of gaming, I could probably count on one hand (or less) the number of games that have succeeded on a layered level, being just as fun whether you're 5, 15 or 35, but providing nuanced appeal for more sophisticated and experienced gamers. (Think similarly the Beatles being equally loved by critics as well as 12-year old screaming girls) The gaming landscape is littered with blockbusters that have tried and failed, and every once in a while a Guitar Hero comes out of nowhere that a young kid can pick up on easy, and a hardcore gamer can spend hours thrashing away on expert. (And both can play at the same time in co-op play.) But that's extremely rare. More often than not, we get dumbed-down gameplay to appeal to the lowest-common denominator or big and bloated high budget games with a myriad of half-baked "new" features and tack-on extras.

Ace331:
Thanks Lampdevil. Game publishers are constantly looking for that holy grail of mass appeal. But in my 20+ years of gaming, I could probably count on one hand (or less) the number of games that have succeeded on a layered level, being just as fun whether you're 5, 15 or 35, but providing nuanced appeal for more sophisticated and experienced gamers. (Think similarly the Beatles being equally loved by critics as well as 12-year old screaming girls) The gaming landscape is littered with blockbusters that have tried and failed, and every once in a while a Guitar Hero comes out of nowhere that a young kid can pick up on easy, and a hardcore gamer can spend hours thrashing away on expert. (And both can play at the same time in co-op play.) But that's extremely rare. More often than not, we get dumbed-down gameplay to appeal to the lowest-common denominator or big and bloated high budget games with a myriad of half-baked "new" features and tack-on extras.

I think it's sufficient to have a variety, and we're not THAT far off on that count. Take movies for example: No Country for Old Men is not a movie that a 3 year old would enjoy (even if you ignore the violence). 300 doesn't really have "nuanced appeal for more sophisticated and experienced [movie watchers]". Ratatouille isn't going to appeal to the frat-boy demographic. There's some crossover appeal there, but all three of those movies know firmly who their target audience is.

I think the author's real problem is that she either doesn't own a game that a 3 year old will enjoy (since she's not a 3 year old), or didn't go digging through her collection for one. That's not an indictment of the author or the game industry; she'd have the same amount of trouble finding a DVD a 3 year old would enjoy.

This is why I like Lego Star Wars...no particularly long cinematics, no dialogue whatsoever, and on top of that Lightsabers+Force=win. (what 3 yr old doesn't love lego star wars?)

wow, you know, I don't think I've thought like a three year old in a long long time. I even remember being really frustrated by how much time it took between the end of a level and mario walking into the pipe. Seriously. How bizarre is that? It just goes to show that games targeted towards children need to be filled with something to do.

Our generation became so jaded by impatience, ADHD, and broken game design, that we've forgotten what its really like to be a kid.

"Pursuit of happiness" is right.

I can loan you my 3-year old Wendy if you'd like to do more research on this - she absolutely adores Mario in Super Mario Galaxy - to the point where she giggles uncontrollably and jumps about in excitement at the mere mention or hint of me turning on the game. She sits right next to me clutching her Wiimote collecting star bits for me and directing me on which way SHE thinks I should go - more often than not resulting in my horrible death. I honestly can't think of any game that has held her interest like this one, and that has her inter-acting with me as well. It's GOTY in our household that's for sure. And no, I do not work for Nintendo, but kudos is warranted to them for this little gem of a game.

The only problem is that if I get stuck on a level she gets bored very easily and wants me to go to a different level.....for about 5 minutes.....then a different level again....for another 5 minutes. Argh - I can't get any stars this way but still it's oodles of fun.

Beery:
I love Assassin's Creed for the way it FORCES the player to watch every cutscene. I hate games where the developer thinks so poorly of the game's story that they allow the player to skip them. If a player doesn't have the patience to watch a cutscene he shouldn't be playing the game - games shouldn't be all about all-action all-the-time or maximizing the player's score. Players need to understand that games sometimes need to force the player to sit back and enjoy a cutscene just for its beauty and so he can gain a deeper appreciation for the story. Because that's what games are - stories.

games are stories? like gran turismo and dead or alive? i play those for the gripping narrative. you, sir, are a LIAR. lol

and i HATE the fact that you can't skip the cutscenes in assassin's creed. i will patiently sit thru cutscenes the first time thru because i want to know the story when story is involved, but when replaying the game a second time you still cannot skip the cutscenes- WHICH SUCKS. so i played the game about half as long as i would have if replaying the game wasn't such a hassle. devs should not be so strictly forcing story down the gamer's throat. if the gamer doesn't care, then so be it. let us get to the fun if that's what we want.

interesting article. now i want to play battlefront.

For the record, I didn't use any poetic license on this article. For reals, my nephew won the first level of Star Wars Battlefront entirely on his own, with the unusual strategy of standing in one place (right where he started), turning in circles and firing constantly.

I was as shocked as anybody when he was victorious.

This is how it happened. Yes, your opponent AI are presumably out there trying to "capture the flag", but on the easiest easiest settings you're also given some pretty darn good AI on your team, and they will go out and do everything for you. He did run out of ammo, but not long before the friendly AI captured the necessary bases.

Levels one and two look different to me too, but only because I'm a jaded old gamer who... um... appreciates the minute details. But really, it's just another red/brown city. (On the settings I was using.)

And absolutely, if I had much warning I would have rented some games more on his level. That's why it took me a while to think of playing video games. I didn't have any (finished games) that were made for 3 year-olds.

Also for the record, I don't hate cut scenes. I rather like cut scenes. I kind of wanted to know what the reasoning was behind the pterodactyl with the laser weapons.

But not enough for me to fire it up and watch it without a 3 year old around. Sorry.

And please don't think I'm picking on Battlefront. I happen to love that game. That's why it was on top of my pile.

I was just so struck... Something is wrong if hunting worms is more fun than video games. After a rainy night you just have to step outside my back door and pick up twenty. There's not much thrill of the chase involved.

And no, I don't think every game should be fun (or played by) 3-year olds, but I think maybe we as developers would be better critics of our own work if we stopped and played like (or with) 3 year-olds for a bit. Just to remind us of what's fun about games.

Aunt Wendy, who can't figure out how to log in with the same username as this thread was begun with.

I sum it up into one word: PURPOSE.

Adults want to feel a sense of it. Kids have no need of it.

Everything that people say is bad about a "sandbox" environment, where you can almost do anything you want but you don't really know what to do next is exactly the kind of that kids like; they invent their own reasons. They're playing for the love of playing. We're playing to figure out why we should keep playing, instead of doing other, more important things.

It's a nice enough article to look at as a guide for designing a game that's going to be rated E, but if it's rated T or above then you really need to think of other things.

Nanosaur 2 is kind of a bad example, as the game is only good in that "Holy shit this is so horrible it's hilarious" way. I mean, working at my school's computer sales department at the bookstore during the summer, my co-worker and I watched the intro and laughed our asses off, then continued to laugh at the game itself. It's supposed to be a demo, but it's a bad one.

The Marble game is just fucking awesome, though.

I think what needs to be done first is that developers need to think of games that will be interesting for kids, but don't necessarily have to be rated Teen. Everyone's making platformers to mimic Mario 64 for kids, but no one's thinking "y'know, why not just make the next Mega-Man?" and work on a third person shooter with lock-on abilities where robots fight robots or some shit. Closest thing is Custom Robo, and even that has awkward controls at times (and it might be rated Teen).

Developers need to think about what they want their kids/nieces/nephews/grandkids to play, not just what they want to play and make. That's something this industry needs badly, and if a developer has a personal reason to make an E-Rated game good (if I were to make a game for my niece, I'd want to make sure it was good), then it'll likely come out fun like Mario Galaxy.

BTW, no one I've met yet can stand the opening cut-scene in Mario Galaxy, especially since it is unskippable. The funny thing about Mario games is that they are recognized as being all about play first, so the idea that it needs a story -- and an elaborate setting -- is ridiculous to them. Really. They almost made it swap it out for something else (and sadly it would have been faster than waiting for the opening to end).

The flaw of your article is that you set it on Easy. Of course it is easy to beat BF by turning around and holding X.

That being said, the rest of the article is quite well. Man, I wished I was a 3-year old when I played OoT. Maybe I could have saved Hyrule by not entering that Temple of Light as a kid, and instead just went out fishing.

Great article, Wendy. Smoothly written and insightful. I loved the Spiderman bit. Just got done posting about kid logic over in the "Little Girl Games" forum thread.

It is fascinating what kids will find compelling and what they won't. I recently was on an airplane with a little girl whom I think was really too young to be flying alone (she claimed to be 5, but neither I nor the flight attendants thought she really was). The Happy Meal they'd gotten her during her layover kept her occupied through the ascent, but about ten minutes into the flight she got seriously agitated and started crying. I was able to calm her down a bit by talking to her, but that alone wasn't going to cut it, so I pulled out my DS. It is fascinating to see a child that age (no reading ability) navigate a game, basically moving through and getting a great deal of enjoyment just out of the interactivity of touching something on a touchscreen and getting a response. PictoChat and Electroplankton kept her busy for a little while, Rune Factory was a complete bust, and the semi-old build I had of GoPets was most successful of all of them, which was satisfying. But there is a simple zen to the way kids approach games.

(Sorry, but I am naturally long-winded, I apologize if this post sucks! n_n;
And these points aren't just being tangental, as I'm trying to voice my opinion about things that have been said in this topic so far.)

I really don't think this article is so much about suggesting that all games should adhere to kid logic so much as it goes to show how enlightening a childs simple, narrow logic can be to someone who has been conditioned into having a wider mindframe... Trust me, this is not an insult. A child will often ask questions of things we are made to ignore, and when we hear their way of thinking, it sometimes becomes a subtle reminder of exactly how we have changed in mere decades.

There are pretty much two camps of normal game players:
~ Games can be and should be art, and if that means forcing a player to see a cut scene to start enjoying the game as an artform, then so be it. After all, especially in these latest years where graphics and audio quality comes close to being capable of emulating the appearance of realism, we have heard brilliant musical scores, deep and moving storylines, and countless memorable moments... So why NOT take advantage of the fact that a player has to fight to get further along the story, to further deepen the emotional connection between the player and the main character?
~ Games are made for enjoyment, if I wanted a deep story, I'd read a book or watch a movie. As well, games are an interactive media, so having too many moments that take away the players ability to cast spells, fire machine guns, or command armies is wasting the potential of video games. After all, if you only get the full experience of a story or plot event once, what good is it to buy a $50-60 game if the only reason you have to replay it is being constantly interupted by the story you already know?

My main argument against this article is that while 3-year-olds can see flaws nearly immediately where it would take us much longer to notice, it is mainly because the mind of a 3-year-old is very different from that of an 18 or 23-year-old. They can get enjoyment out of very dubious things, it isn't because their minds have a more subtle yet advanced understanding, they just don't know, haven't seen, haven't heard the things we have... What child have you heard of can truly enjoy the nuances of a deep and interesting story (Can you point one out that would cry at the end of Disk 1 fo FFVII, if you needed an example)? Of course a child won't like a long intro movie, they want to kick ass and take names, anything that gets in the way of that is merely an obstacle (Sure, they SEE what they want to do, but in a video game, they want to be controlling the mayhem, not watch it)... So I honestly don't think the child was making some deep revelation when he said the game was just a movie. For them, there are no two camps, because they have pretty much just started thinking thoughts other than those of basic survival and communication... TMNT didn't have a story as far as I cared, the turtles kicked ass, so I watched, and it was only later I figure out about the mutation (I ignored the mutant part, they were just talking turtles), Foot Clan, and other parts of the story. Dora the Explorer doesn't have a main plot, but hey, I helped Dora fend off Swipper and get her to her house before dinner, I'm not sure, but I think I'm starting to understand some of the weird words she's saying, too!

ErinHoffman:
It is fascinating to see a child that age (no reading ability) navigate a game, basically moving through and getting a great deal of enjoyment just out of the interactivity of touching something on a touchscreen and getting a response.

my sis and i loved elevator buttons when we were kids. anything with buttons that respond when pressed is quite thrilling to a kid, i figure.

I thought this article was pretty interesting. Obviously, not all games should be made in order to appease 3 year olds, but when a completely novice gamer can spot some basic flaws-in this case, removing interactivity, or fights you can't ever win-there might be something to reconsider in how games are made.

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