Give kids a chance…

30th August 2009:

My eldest daughter turned ten in June this year. She’s got a Wii (shared with her younger sister) and enjoys playing Wii Sports and SIMs. Even my youngest daughter can play them. My eldest also has an iPod touch and loves to download the free games.

As you know I have Mission Control to live in and one day she came in and saw me playing a demo of ‘Splosion man on 360. Up until this point she hadn’t ever picked up a 360 game pad. She really enjoyed it and we played 2 player for a good while (‘Splosion man only has one button to press). I then showed her XBox Live Arcade and explained how it was a bit like the AppStore on her Itouch. We downloaded a few games, one of her favourites was Frogger (a game with no buttons to press), and generally had a good laugh.

I then showed her the demos available on 360 and we saw a new game called G-Force. As it happened my daughter had been to watch the film at the pictures a couple of weeks earlier so she was really interested in seeing it. So I downloaded it.

Now correct me if I’m wrong but I would have thought  a ten year old girl would have been the “core” audience for that game. So why, after 5 minutes was my daughter totally baffled by it? Because of the stupid number of control options, that’s why. Who in their right minds makes a video game for kids with the exact same layout as a top FPS? Kids need to press one or two buttons maximum. No, G-Force has movement on one stick, look around on another stick, press triggers for one thing, another trigger for another, another button to jump, another to scan, another to get out a whip, another to target, another to release a little droid thing which then has it’s own buttons too.

Utterly ridiculous, they lost out on a guaranteed sale on account of not being able to put themselves in the mind of a young child and realise what a hopeless expectation it is on a young child to manage a billion button combinations.

That’s why the Wii and DS win. No matter whether Nintendo are considered “core” or not anymore, I don’t care, at the very least they act as an entry point for my kids to play video games with me. I tip my hat to Nintendo


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