If you’re under the age of ten, the head of Traveler’s Tales wants to offer you a job.
Jonathan Smith, the head of production at Lego game developer Traveler’s Tales, believes that the videogame playing youth is the best source for determining the quality of a product. Speaking with Official Nintendo Magazine, Smith detailed why he looks more to pre-teens than typically jaded adults.
“They are the most efficient quality filter,” Smith said specifically of children around the age of eight. “They get to it quicker than anybody else, because they’ll just say if something doesn’t work. The smallest things could ruin something, and they’ll get bored and move on.”
“Grown-ups look at games differently,” he continued. “Adults kind of forget what it is to play a game some of the time. Every time an eight-year-old plays a game it’s the most brilliant thing in the world to them.” He’s probably never encountered an eight-year-old during a game of Modern Warfare on Xbox Live.
Young kids do generally have a happy sense of wonder and a less jaded opinion of the world, but I wonder how much Smith’s opinion is affected by the fact that he makes games targeted towards eight-year-olds. Adults also suffer from having their own money invested in a game, so they might stick with it for longer just to justify the purchase. Still, and this is probably also a problem with game reviewers, adults are definitely more affected by a lifetime of personal biases while younger kids go into things with an open mind.
I’ve known kids that are just as entertained by hitting a stick against a pole for four hours as they would be with a session of Lego Batman, so they might not be the best judges in all cases even with blank slate. On the other hand, maybe eight-year-olds should be testing all of our videogames. If a child starts crying and has nightmares for a month after playing Silent Hill, you would know you’ve got the proper amount of scary.