153: MMOGs Are For Kids

MMOGs Are For Kids

"Many kids Will's age play MMOGs, but these worlds aren't always hospitable to children. Fortunately, more enlightened attitudes now prevail, both across the industry and especially among companies seeking to attract precisely this younger audience. They comprise a growing list that includes a number of very prominent names, including Disney, the creators of Toontown Online and Pirates of the Caribbean Online, aimed at children and teens respectively. ... Likewise, Mattel's Barbie Girls and Nickelodeon's Nicktropolis each attempt to provide a safe online environment for kids to interact - both with each other and each company's respective brands."

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Odd thing about this article. Years ago, I had gotten thinking on how a Poke`mon MMO could be designed, but after I had come up with a lot of ideas, I came under the realization that most of the features were great for older players, but "dumb little kids" would ruin it. This actually has given me a lot of ideas on how to make such a game still work, and for all ages.

Nice article.

i think that its pretty sad that devs ruin mmogs just to make it better for pants on head children

I sort of liked where the article was going.

But then it was too pro-kid, or at least what people in the industry think kids need.

Now I don't know if it's right or it's wrong, but I've seen plenty of kids in the 10-12 range playing PvP games (Halo 3 comes to mind) and they seem to act like everyone else playing Halo. Now whether thats 12 year olds acting like 20 tear olds or vice versa is beyond me. But the same thing applies to MMORPGs.

Kids play WoW. In fact, kids play WoW on PvP realms. So why do they need to be babied so much? Because it doesn't seem like it's the kids that the devs are pandering to, it's the uppity over protective parents.

I mean, the 6th or 7th High Warlord (Horde-side top PvP title) on my WoW realm started off 12 and turned 13 while he was grinding.

Well, Congress in ye olde America is looking at a Cyber-Bullying law right now. H.R. 6123

"Digitally communicating with a person with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h6123ih.txt.pdf

Picking on little kids might not fly so well once that thing is on the books.

crepesack:
i think that its pretty sad that devs ruin mmogs just to make it better for pants on head children

I think it's pretty sad that wank-cramped gankers ruin games just to make it worse for everyone else.

-- Steve

The point of the article, as I understood it, was about the design of MMO's targetted at children. Naturally the creators of such worlds and systems are going to be 'babying' the consumer, it's what the person buying into the software is looking for. If a kid wants to play WoW - disregarding the rating violations etc etc - then that's their decision... as it says at the end of the article, going for a game targetted for an older demographic will largely expose the child to something they shouldn't be privy to... if they can handle it, though, then more credit to them. It doesn't mean such experience should be 'forced' on them. It's back to the censorship issue, in a way.

Basically, somebody making a animated movie for kids isn't going to pay much attention to the wants and needs of a late teen / twenty-something audience. This is the same thing, only on a much larger scale. Once it becomes an interactive experience shaped by the actions of those around you as much as your own, a billion different issues come up. If you're dealing with children, then the responsibility is there to ensure the game does not move to places the age demographic shouldn't be going.

I agree that games for children have different needs from games for adults, but I question what those differences are.

Is it really bad for a 12 year old to play a game that involves killing goblins with swords? Does removing the blood and dead bodies "santize" this in some way that makes it safe? Escapist recently had articles saying that showing the blood, death, and all the negatives of violence was actually better for kids because it showed them the consequences of their actions. They realized that it was fun to imagine, but they couldn't do it in reality.

Without contest, ganking is a video game version of bullying. It beyond frustrating to the person being ganked, defeating the purpose of enjoyable entertainment. I agree whole heartedly that any activity, child or adult, should come from consent, and that especially includes even playful violent behaviour.

But it takes it to a whole new level to say that losers should be rewarded. Do we really want to tell children that losers win? The point of a game is that is should be enjoyable even if you lose, but that doesn't mean you always have to win. It means that, win or lose, their should be something enjoyable about playing. For most people, it's the challenge: it gives you a goal to strive towards. When I played sports as a kid, some games we lost and some we won. The days we won were exhilirating, but the days we lost never made me want to quit. It hurt a bit, but you learned to realize when you were playing poorly and when you played well but the other team was better. And there's nothing wrong with that.

In the bid to protect children from harsh reality, adults in every walk of life are making children's entire lives so unrealistic that they never learn how to deal with reality. It's not surprising that we have an entire generation of people from 10-30 that all think the world owes them something -- they've been brought up believing that everyone is a winner. They don't know how to handle personal conflict, peer pressure, bullying, or even the disappointment of losing.

I don't think children, especially very young children, should be bombarded unaccompanied by the woes of the world, but a key part of development as a person is to come to terms with reality and learn how to deal with it. Shielding kids away from the world until their 18th birthday doesn't do this. Kids need to be allowed to explore these things, allowing them to "take the gloves off" every now and then. They should be able to experience socialization, including its ups and downs.

And their should always be an adult there ready to step in when things get out of control. As any WoW player will tell you, there are so few GMs available to police things that the game amounts to anarchy. You're lucky to spend less than a couple of hours waiting for a GM, in which case your corpse may be camped, a vendor blocked, your target perpetually killed before you can target them, and the spoils of your accomplishments stolen out from under you. This is beyond acceptable for even adults and kids have that much less tolerance for these kinds of impositions. Having sufficient GMs is key in a world where few people have developed the morality to keep themselves on the straight and narrow most of the time.

Every game should be fun -- if it's filled with unrelenting bullying it will not be fun and fails to be a source of entertainment. On the other hand, children are constantly learning about the world around them, including social interactions, and santizing these to the point of sterility doesn't give them the opportunity they need to learn and grow. Kids should be allowed to explore these avenues on their own terms in a way that allows them to have fun while taking risks that are essential to proper development.

I should add that every child has a different level of maturity and every parent has a different idea of how they want their kids to be raised. From the ESRB ratings to game restrictions imposed by game developers, applying to a wide audience often means appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Instead, parents should have more control over what they deem appropriate. At a technological level, this may mean providing options that parents can set as to what types of content they don't want their children to experience. Of course, these options needs to be made clear to the parent -- perhaps asked when the game is installed, rather than hidden away 3 menus deep in an options dialog. At a personal level, parents need to take responsibility for parenting their children. That means learning about the games their children play. It also means playing with children, monitoring their actions and providing guidance when their child is faced with a difficult situation or when they feel their child is being abusive.

ESRB ratings and parental controls don't take the place of real, human parenting. Jack Thompson can yell and scream about game producers placing adult content in games that are unsuitable for children, and the ESRB can slap M and AO ratings on games, but if parents buy them without thinking and let their children play them without looking over their shoulder, it is the parents who are to blame.

I've played a few of these games, along with my kids. We all enjoy them. In defense of the game designers, they simply can't show blood & gore or they'll get slapped with an ESRB "T" rating, which kills the product's viability with the kids' market. Disney's "Pirates of the Carribean Online" presents this dilemma in the extreme. The game involves LOTS of swordfights and pistol shooting, but there's never any blood. The action is such that you don't "kill" a British navy soldier with your sword, you simply clang swords with him until he falls down and disappears. And you aren't permitted to use your pistol on human NPCs, only on the undead and on various critters like giant crabs. It's rather funny how closely the game straddles the line between the "E-10" and "T" ratings. Since it's "E-10", they can show TV commercials for it 50 times a day on Cartoon Network. If it were "T", they probably wouldn't be able to do that.

I don't think these designers should feel obligated to show "death" or punish them severely for losing. The game has no moral responsibilty to teach children about winning and losing -- believe it or not, even the most sheltered kids get plenty of real-life lessons about that. Kids are mostly casual players -- many of them just want something light, not overly difficult, and always fun, nothing heavy.

If you don't want to get ganked in mmo's then don't join a pvp server, hell the hints in the title, player versus player, I got ganked lots of times levelling up and found that it was alot of fun rallying people in an area to deal with gankers, normally you would end up with a raid of lowbies all teaming together to deal with someone much higher. And if it happened to me while playing as my alts after i'd get my main and wipe the floor with the gankers....generally hard in that case till they spirit ressed and hearthed.

I also hunted my fair number or newbs and noobs in my time too, hell we used to play some mean tricks, hiding on top of buildings in lowbie zones, sitting on the bridges of the horde base in thousand needles, going to the barrens and taming a boar then hiding in a bush and waiting for someone to attack it so it would tag them for pvp, I always used to stop at 3 kills though if it was just one on one.

But the game was Wow and what does WoW stand for World of WARcraft, yup kids war, that's half the point, i did not like the factions being all nice and friendly, it was supposed to be a war and i intended to do my bit to make it feel like one.

The most enjoyable thing about gaming is the competition... as someone said some you win... some you lose but taking the ability to even compete or compete/experiment in a totally controllable environment away doesn't make it a good experience but dulls it down and makes it boring for everybody...

Why do you think that some of the most played Online Games ever are Online-Shooters & Strategy, in which you can measure your skill against other players? Sure it might get frustrating at times when you lose and you might throw your controller or keyboard down and do something else, but in the end that's what makes gaming fun... if there'd be a game in which I'd instantly win against my opponents I'd throw it away so fast you couldn't say "Wai..." before I do it.

My most enjoyable MMO-experience to date was probably and still is Ultima Online, which I played first before I was 16 and had complete World PvP and also Corpse Decay and full "Looting" rights for everybody... that means outside of city-boundaries (cities were protected by guards) you could kill anyone you wanted and then even take everything he had on him, also it wasn't a "Level-based" game but you had to increase your skill by doing specific things like fight with your sword (then Swordfighting would go up) or using Magic (and Magery would go up).
Sure it was more than frustrating at first till you learned your lessons and travelled with other people or did it carefully, it was the most exciting MMO I played to date... there was always a sense of danger when you ventured outside a city... because you knew not only could you be killed but also lose your entire equipment... the worst thing that can happen today is maybe that you are being teleported to a resurrection point.

It's kind of what happened with chemistry-sets, years ago before all the "safety-regulations" and everything it was one of the most exciting things to get, but they dumbed it down so much with laws, rules, regulations and what-not it's simply not interesting anymore and less and less people will later go into that part of science...
http://www.pbs.org/kcet/wiredscience/video/82-dangerous_science.html

Aren't there enough games already catering to care bears?

Don't take the fun away out of yet another way to enjoy yourself because of reasons of "safety", even though nothing can even happen to you behind a computer screen.

A few points:

#1: Pick the right game and the right server. Generally speaking it seems pretty dumb that a 9 year old was in a PVP game or playing on a PVP server of this sort. I might have missed it but I notice nothing says which game he was playing. Bottom line one would assume the parents of a 9 year old would at least have been involved in helping him pick a game and set it up.

#2: In a lot of MMOs most of the trouble makers ARE kids. Granted there are immature adults, but as another responder pointed out, it's not uncommong for WoW "High Warlords" and their ilk to be young children.

Indeed one common thing players notice is that some of the more obnoxious players oftentimes have to retire because School, or the reality of working suddenly takes too much of their time for them to keep playing at a high level.

The guys who do the massive grinds, well some of them are adults, but most are kids and teenies who have that amount of time.

#3: Depending on the game, sometimes I (as a 32 year old disabled adult, with a lot of time on my hands) will intentionally target the youngsters when I identify them to try and chase them off, because frankly I don't want to deal with them. Like everything there are exceptions, but trust me, as most adults can tell you, it can be a bloody nightmare if your forming a PUG to begin with and some guy who joins your group is 9 years old. Most won't play well, and those that do tend to leave in the middle of groups for reasons like "Ooops have to log, Daddy is calling for dinner".

We can discuss resposibility and RL vs. Gaming in situations like this back and forth to an extent, but RL takes priority, but kids have too many RL responsibilities regulated by other people to belong playing MMORPGs for the most part. So getting rid of these guys can be helpful so you don't get gimped by them later on down the road.

Not to mention it's the kids who think it's "fun" to flag PVP for example in WoW and then put your Tauren over a quest NPCs or dungeon entrance so people will accidently click him and the rest of the 6th grade geometry class can gank people.

So yeah, a lot of kids are chased off to an extent. It might not be "right" but the bottom line is they don't belong in these games.

Like many subjects I've become a hater over a period of time. Ironic since I started playing these games as a teen myself.

I tend to make exceptions if your a kid I get to know for a while without knowing your age. But in general if I find out your a kid I tend to groupkick you, and have been known to be less than tolerant in other ways.

I've always thought of MMOs in general as games for kids. It's always seemed like an incredibly unsophisticated genera to me. Take WoW for example. There isn't actually any game involved. It's simply about getting certain numbers bigger than other numbers, and often determining the difference between several different rates. It could easily be used as a foundation for roleplaying or other things that qualify as gaming but most people don't use it that way. As imaginative as kids are often credited as being, most younger kids that I know don't really have the patience to participate in collaborative storytelling, which is what I've long felt the idea of the MMO should focus on. Since they don't, MMOs seem to me like games for people don't want anything more sophisticated than extremely complex number counting and item collecting. Making them less or more violent doesn't really affect anything, other than making them appeal to kids with squeamish parents or kids who don't tell their parents what kind of games they play and who think fountains of gore are the other main reason to play a game (besides numbers).

I sort of liked where the article was going.

But then it was too pro-kid, or at least what people in the industry think kids need.

Now I don't know if it's right or it's wrong, but I've seen plenty of kids in the 10-12 range playing PvP games (Halo 3 comes to mind) and they seem to act like everyone else playing Halo. Now whether thats 12 year olds acting like 20 tear olds or vice versa is beyond me. But the same thing applies to MMORPGs.

Kids play WoW. In fact, kids play WoW on PvP realms. So why do they need to be babied so much? Because it doesn't seem like it's the kids that the devs are pandering to, it's the uppity over protective parents.

I mean, the 6th or 7th High Warlord (Horde-side top PvP title) on my WoW realm started off 12 and turned 13 while he was grinding.

They need to be babied so much because parents are idiots and I'd say it's a safe bet to say there are lots of parents making games now. Just look at the video game = violence wars which have been raging for what feels like eternity or censorship of 'bad words'. Parents refuse to believe that their precious children will ever grow up ignoring that most kids could write a dictionary of hundreds of swears and bypass swears by the end of elementary school just like they refuse to believe that violent video games don't create violent personalities. Also what's with this 'OMG Save the children!!' Adults have to put up with harrassment too, whether from other adults or from sodding 9 year olds.

In regards to the ganking however it depends entirely on the situation... One game I played was in a state of constant PvP where someone from the opposing nation could fly by and hit your level 20 with their level 60 E-drills at any time. However the game's primary focus was PvP and there were safe places you could go if you just wanted to grind. The game also had skill based combat where a level 20 could take out a level 60 if they were skilled enough. However in another case I was playing a RO pserver, I logged in after the install and immediately got ganked with a LoV, respawned and it happened again, and a third time only with Meteor instead and at that point I went to a different server. That was highly frustrating. I like a game with pvp that doesn't have to be agreed upon so long as there are measures within the game to give the lower player a chance to at least run away or fight back, it makes it feel more realistic and while realism isn't all that important I think of having only mutual pvp as akin to 'invisible walls' .

I don't mind so much the existence of kiddy games as I mind how kid friendly features keep creeping into the games that I play. Censors are on the top of that last, there's few things as irritating this in mid battle "Fini*****!" "???" and it's even worse when non-english swears are added to the filters making it nearly impossible at times to communicate without a thesaurus or "H.e.y. G.u.y.s." However there were a few things that just made me stare in a mix of horror and disbelief rereading them several times.

To encourage it, he believes in rewarding both the winners and the losers, although the latter to a far lesser extent.

This is terrible... they pull that crap with schools and sports and it completely and totally ruins the point of competing as you end up with a winner and a slightly lesser winner... just try to explain that with any form of logic. It doesn't work and all it does is teach children to be lazy rather than work harder if they want to win while at the same time telling the winners that hard work doesn't matter because you'll win anyways. I'd fully agree with a raid by the less 'mature' denizens of the internet against any such title purely on that alone.

And their should always be an adult there ready to step in when things get out of control. As any WoW player will tell you, there are so few GMs available to police things that the game amounts to anarchy. You're lucky to spend less than a couple of hours waiting for a GM, in which case your corpse may be camped, a vendor blocked, your target perpetually killed before you can target them, and the spoils of your accomplishments stolen out from under you. This is beyond acceptable for even adults and kids have that much less tolerance for these kinds of impositions. Having sufficient GMs is key in a world where few people have developed the morality to keep themselves on the straight and narrow most of the time.

This is true. However the problem comes in that companies are unwilling to do the same in game as they do with their forums, that's right moderation. No matter how much a company wants to patrol the game they simply can't reasonably have enough GMs on pay roll to do that and they need to start looking into 'half-GM' positions. A forum run purely by a few trusted admins will not work after it grows beyond a small community and the same is true of a game.

At a personal level, parents need to take responsibility for parenting their children.

image You're a funny guy I like you...

It's kind of what happened with chemistry-sets, years ago before all the "safety-regulations" and everything it was one of the most exciting things to get, but they dumbed it down so much with laws, rules, regulations and what-not it's simply not interesting anymore and less and less people will later go into that part of science...
http://www.pbs.org/kcet/wiredscience/video/82-dangerous_science.html

Reminds me of BB guns... you hardly hear of kids getting a red rider for their B-day or X-mas. Heck I think I'm the only person around my age I know that had one as a kid...

Wow, doesn't anyone read the article anymore?

The point isn't "They're making games kids-friendly", ie. making existing games safe for kids, but "They're making kid-friendly games", ie. developing new games that are friendlier for kids and the article highlights the unique challenges envolved. Increased monitoring, restricting PvP, less grittier settings, etc.

Guess what: children are actually children. Their needs are different from adults. Most in-game policies are "If it can be resolved using in-game means, the admins aren't touching it until it gets out of hand". There's a reason why teachers don't use that policy.
Adults have learned various psychological coping mechanisms to deal with good times and bad, when which response is appropriate, what is achievable and what is not. In MMOG's that unfortunately translates into a dog-eat-dog world or general aloofness towards each other. A kid's still learning: Do you really want a kid to expect that behaviour is normal in the real world?

And now, unto various posts:

Now I don't know if it's right or it's wrong, but I've seen plenty of kids in the 10-12 range playing PvP games (Halo 3 comes to mind) and they seem to act like everyone else playing Halo. Now whether thats 12 year olds acting like 20 tear olds or vice versa is beyond me. But the same thing applies to MMORPGs.

Just because the cool kids jump off a bridge, doesn't mean that jumping off bridges is ok. In before Godwin's Law.

There isn't actually any game involved. It's simply about getting certain numbers bigger than other numbers, and often determining the difference between several different rates.

Standard hand gun deals x amount and has an y fire rate. BMFG deals x+10 damage, and has an y-6 fire rate. My health needs to be bigger than his health. My jump has to be bigger than that gap. All games basically boil down to that.

Adults have to put up with harrassment too, whether from other adults or from sodding 9 year olds.

See my above points, also look up Child Development.

This is terrible... they pull that crap with schools and sports and it completely and totally ruins the point of competing as you end up with a winner and a slightly lesser winner... just try to explain that with any form of logic.

Teams get relegated to a lower division, top teams get sponsorship deals, gold medals are, in the end, the only things that really count... Yeah, they totally did that in sports.
Schools: Because getting the highest GPA doesn't matter for colleges. Yeah, right. Are you missing the "too a far lesser extent" there?

However the problem comes in that companies are unwilling to do the same in game as they do with their forums, that's right moderation.

Forums is not the same as the game.

You're lucky to spend less than a couple of hours waiting for a GM, in which case your corpse may be camped, a vendor blocked, your target perpetually killed before you can target them, and the spoils of your accomplishments stolen out from under you.

PvP times out, even in ghost form. Unless you're on a PvP server: You get what you asked for. If it's on a PvE server: What are you doing with PvP toggled on?! Vendors are not unique. Basics of tagging a mob: damage it. Ninja's, avoid them.

It's kind of what happened with chemistry-sets, years ago before all the "safety-regulations" and everything it was one of the most exciting things to get, but they dumbed it down so much with laws, rules, regulations and what-not it's simply not interesting anymore and less and less people will later go into that part of science...

BECAUSE STUFF BLOWING UP IN YOUR FACE IS FUN!

Aren't there enough games already catering to care bears?

We're talking about kids here. K-I-D-S.

I don't really concern myself with how MMORPG worlds deal with bullying. If it's a truly immersive world then it should deal with it in it's own way right? Let Blizzard solve it.

I don't think it's become a recent thing, I just think I notice it more. Everyone wants to solve their problems with new laws. Pretty soon you'll be fined for breathing the wrong way. :/

My first games were Super Mario World, Starfox, Contra3, YsIII. Amazing games.
... exept for that last one. :/
But my little brother is over here on my gamecube playing Spongebob's latest adventure to collect all the glowing dots... Give them some level of complexity though! They're minds are just starting to grow so don't baby them! Make them work for it. Sure they suck now, but they'll get better. And usually kids have longer attention spans than adults.
After some coaxing to play a real game my Brother put 30 hours into Final Fantasy Tactics!
And not just screwing around. He's got his team pumped. assasins with instant KO moves. his main melee characters are doing double the damage the AI is doing so they're capable of doing it.
He ran through Contra3 with me. It didn't scar him for life. :/
He didn't go kill anybody.

I think the big threat to kid gamers right now are the really crappy games (spongebob) that use tell-tale name-brands to suck kids in and play up the whole "safe game" angle to buy the parents. Remember the Succubus episode of southpark? that's right! it's going to eat their minds!!! O_O
they'll be little Nickelodian minions!!! don't let it happen to your child!!
have you ever tried to watch nickelodien. :/
it's just as bad as the games. the TV industry is being hit too. but the problem is there is nowhere for normal kids to turn for entertainment. When I was little there was a gradual progression from kid to adult for entertainment. now there is baby shows. and adult/frat shows. but none of this really matters TV wise cause it all sucks.
Just leave it to the japanese market to make games for all ages cause they still know how to do it. Kingdom Hearts, Mario's latest adventure is pretty amazing. I'm about 50% through that. Katamari Damacy... XD
Legend of Zelda is starting to be considered too violent. :/
didn't that get a teen rating?

wow... I rant a lot. :/
this is my first post too... maybe I should introduce myself or something.. do you do that here?

My name's Raurik. ^_^
nice to meet you.

Standard hand gun deals x amount and has an y fire rate. BMFG deals x+10 damage, and has an y-6 fire rate. My health needs to be bigger than his health. My jump has to be bigger than that gap. All games basically boil down to that.

Well sure there are number systems in all games, and indeed you can "boil down" any game to the numbers. The point I was trying to make is that WoW doesn't need to be boiled down to become nothing but numbers. You have to strip away a whole lot to get a game like KotOR down to nothing but numbers but there isn't much in WoW that isn't numbers but is actually important to the game. Some FPS games do still use the fairly outdated numerical hitpoint system, but at least there are reflex and tactics to think about. Plenty FPS games are also making more of an effort to hide the numbers that lie beneath the game, such as not having a health bar or not showing you the HUD all the time. COD4 is one example. WoW doesn't try to hide it behind an interesting story or reflex-based gameplay.

Raurik:
I think the big threat to kid gamers right now are the really crappy games (spongebob) that use tell-tale name-brands to suck kids in and play up the whole "safe game" angle to buy the parents. Remember the Succubus episode of southpark? that's right! it's going to eat their minds!!! O_O
they'll be little Nickelodian minions!!! don't let it happen to your child!!
have you ever tried to watch nickelodien. :/
it's just as bad as the games. the TV industry is being hit too. but the problem is there is nowhere for normal kids to turn for entertainment. When I was little there was a gradual progression from kid to adult for entertainment. now there is baby shows. and adult/frat shows. but none of this really matters TV wise cause it all sucks.
Just leave it to the japanese market to make games for all ages cause they still know how to do it. Kingdom Hearts, Mario's latest adventure is pretty amazing. I'm about 50% through that. Katamari Damacy... XD
Legend of Zelda is starting to be considered too violent. :/
didn't that get a teen rating?

Ignoring G. for a moment since he said a whole lot of nothing, I agree with you there. There are far greater dangers to children than swears, bullies, and alien carcasses. The babying or shielding we're giving to children these days is just absurd, innocence is a nice thing however we just dote all over it to the point where it will end up harming the child. Let's say you eliminate all negative social interactions between children what's going to happen to them when they grow up and go to high school, or enter the work force, or go out in public at all for that matter. They'll be completely unprepared like a deer frozen in the headlights destined only to become a hood ornament on a 87 chevy. Life, even beyond childhood, is a learning experience, sheilding a child from negative experiences isn't going to do them any favors.

That's not to say I think throwing them right out into reality is good, even adults emerge themselves in fantasy to escape. However the most vital aspect which is not being taught, likely due to the horrible 'parenting' which seemingly plagues these times, is the difference between reality and fantasy. I remember when I was little I got an N64 for X-mas and the first game I played was Banjo Kazooie. It was my first realistic 3-D game and in the second level there was a shark which would attack any time the bear met water. I would physically back off from the TV in a panic at such times thinking it would come for me. My parents got a good chuckle every time I did it, coaxing me back to playing and as time progressed I stopped running away realizing that the shark wasn't real. I would say that is when fantasy and reality began to seperate for me, where I could realize that though I was so emersed that I could make a bear run around a field at my whim it wasn't real and what happened on the screen stayed on that screen.

The article is, of course, a well-written, good one, but my comment is more directed towards the subject, really.

I honestly think the distinct problem is that the MMOs mentioned where children have had a negative experience, aren't really children's games. They're aimed at a target audience older than the children mentioned in this article, and not just because of content.

Like others, I'm concerned about why Seth got into the situation he was in in the first place. There's a certain level of education with regards to knowing what you are purchasing for your children to play. Parents who let their kids run amok in these games without knowledge of what they are doing are only asking for their kids to have a bad experience in them. The Internet is, as they say in Monty Python's Holy Grail, a "silly place".

It's nice to see a children's MMO market, but - call me an old fuddy-duddy (I'm in my late 20's) but I'd rather see this generation's children going outside, having fun with friends face-to-face, and doing the things you normally expect kids to do during the summer. I don't want to perpetuate, more than it already is, the "stay inside" culture of sitting at a computer all day and creating pseudo-social interactions - especially at such an early age.

This article made me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. I have always been a very non-competative person who gives up at the first sign of resistance. If somebody would come into my room and smash my carefully LEGO creation if I failed an arm-wrestling match against them I wouldn't be to happy about it.

Let kids be kids, teenage life is for growing up.

the problem that i have is with games that are contemptously created for kids. lack of depth, repetition, and bare minimal functionality are not game aspects that appeal to kids. kids just put up with that crap to enjoy their favorite intellectual property.

if Nintendo can build accessible yet deep games then why shouldn't we expect this from other games geared towards children?

in the end, most of these children MMO's are just going to be a quick cash in scam if they can't develp any interest beyond the attraction of their given IP.

fsanch:
Like others, I'm concerned about why Seth got into the situation he was in in the first place.

Most likely he had a friend who played and was initially drawn to the game for that reason.

I'd rather see this generation's children going outside, having fun with friends face-to-face, and doing the things you normally expect kids to do during the summer.

I think you're forgetting how much free time kids have. My kids do go outside and play. And they play computer games. And read. And play boardgames. And draw. And cook. And still have time to complain about how bored they are and collapse in front of random TV. (At which point I discover they still haven't done their homework...)

I don't want to perpetuate, more than it already is, the "stay inside" culture of sitting at a computer all day and creating pseudo-social interactions - especially at such an early age.

Firstly, nine is not an "early age". It's a great time to be learning about social interaction.

On the subject of which, there is nothing "pseudo" about social interactions online. In fact in many ways online interactions are better. The main problem being particular forums where spam and profanity are the only content. This being exactly what these online services are seeking to prevent.

Look at the flip side. AoC was suppose to be for adults only. But there is a ton of children out there playing it. It comes down to parents actually readingthe labels on games and taking an active interest in their gaming experiance. I would not want my children playing AoC, 8 or 18. When they are out of my house, then I have no control over them.

Because parents either a) are too busy (or not wanting to) to be involved in what their kids are doing is the reason we have 6 years in WoW ganking. I mean, they should not be there in the first place. Spending long hours in front of the computer leveling and learning bad habits from 19 year olds who are barely adults themselves.

I like the idea of a children's MMOs, and I am glad that someone is taking the responsiblity to control what children see.

Good article.

Nobody enjoys playing with kids on MMOGs that I've played. The more that quit, the better.

I think kids should GTFO of MMOGs.

And I'm 14.

So you'll all probably tell me to GTFO,

but considering how I spend a good at 8 hours of the day at a PC,

I know how to deal with trolls. And appropriately behave in Raids. And how to gank all of the ages 1-16 who DON'T dedicate their life to PC living who need to GTFO.

Go ahead and troll me, I still win.

Edit:

Once a teens voice drops a few decibels, THEN they are ready to play MMOGs. I 100% agree with adults that most children make a gameplay experience suck. Wether it's their belief that we want to hear their voice in vent or their ADHD chat spamming, I believe that any non-dedicated child is a nuisance and should leave.

Edit2:
Ganking is part of the game- it happens to everyone. It just so happens that younger kids get frustrated and ragequit quicker.... except they press Esc > Quit > Exit game instead of Alt+F4.

Really, whoever ganked him needs a medal for making me lul so hard.

not much to add as its all being said. Except my 2 cents, games made for specifically for kids
seem to be actually made for parents expectations and really only (you may call it cynicism) increase product loyalty.

if your interested in the topic see http://www.marcprensky.com/

Look at Club Penguin....
Plz tell me it's awful......

bloodsheddragon:
I think kids should GTFO of MMOGs.

Edit2:
Ganking is part of the game- it happens to everyone. It just so happens that younger kids get frustrated and ragequit quicker.... except they press Esc > Quit > Exit game instead of Alt+F4.

Really, whoever ganked him needs a medal for making me lul so hard.

Actuallly, I made a Ragequit Macro in WoW before it was nerfed. What it did was charge my target, Bladestorm, then quit. What was cool was that the damage would continue until they died. I never saw it, but the effect was frapped by my guildmates.

On Topic: My two year old watched me playing WoW for a bit, and wanted to try it. So I set her up on a nearby computer (meaning a laptop right next to me) and helped her learn the game. She's two, so she didn't have a long attention span, and she didn't quite grasp the controls. So when she hit level 20, she had too many abilities for her to comprehend, so she got bored and stopped playing.

She handeled the game rather maturely. I was always either sitting right next to her supervising, or standing next to her in-game on my Warrior. She was ganked in a few zones, like all players are, but she mostly just stuck her tongue out at the big cow man who was running away from her corpse. Although, maybe I was being immature by killing the poor cow a few minutes later (Level 80 vs Level 45 FTW).

While she played her mage, she had fun playing, and the game wasn't intense in any way. I don't know why kid-specific games need to be made when they're all crap. I know some kids who play Club Penguin, or Webkinz, or PotCO, and they always say the same thing: "I'm bored".

As kid-friendly as a game can be, you have obviously done something horribly wrong when your target demographic says this. You can be as safe and secure as you want, but a game developer can't ignore the only law of gaming: It has to be fun. Why are over-protective parents always looking for a safe game for their kids, or a game that their kids can play without worry of something bad happening? What bad thing could possibly happen in a game? You die? You stop playing?

If my two year old can handle World of Warcraft, why can't other parents realize that they're not giving kids enough credit. And of course, banning your kids from playing Warhammer, or AoC, or WoW while simultanously letting them play GTA4 is nothing less than abso-fucking-lutley retarded.

bloodsheddragon:

If my two year old can handle World of Warcraft, why can't other parents realize that they're not giving kids enough credit. And of course, banning your kids from playing Warhammer, or AoC, or WoW while simultanously letting them play GTA4 is nothing less than abso-fucking-lutley retarded.

I have to give it to you. You're right. People should not let their child play such games as CoD MW2 and GTA IV if they're not going to let them play WoW or Warhammerjust because it requirs playing with other people. GTA IV and CoDMW2 are even worse to play online as the games promote violence and the people who play it don't want a 5 year old playing it unless they are mature and don't use the mic for screaming and such.

 

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