A reader wonders how his young son will discover video games and fears therell be nothing suitable for him to play except on smartphones.
Forget the console wars of previous generations, the biggest format war at the moment is between consoles (and PC) and smartphones. Mobile gaming has been going on long enough now that it no longer feels like the existential threat it used to be, but I dont think any of the problems have gone away. I actually think theyre worse, and Im not even talking about microtransactions.
My boy is just over a year old and although he vaguely knows what a TV remote is for hes too young to use or appreciate anything like that at the moment. But soon enough hes going to learn how to use touchscreens and controllers and inevitably hell start playing games. Ive already made a mental promise not to encourage him in any way when it comes to games as I dont want to seem like Im forcing him to follow my hobby or anything.
But when he does start on his own, whats he going to play? Id like to think it was a Nintendo game or one of the small number of child-friendly titles on other consoles but I fear its much more likely its going to be a smartphone game. As a gamer the thought of controlling any kind of action game with a touchscreen gives me the shivers. But I know from watching friends kids that many of them only play on a smartphone and actively turn their nose up at using a joypad.
Part of this is the convenience and part, I assume, is the fact that youre usually given a console but a smartphone or tablet is usually begrudgingly lent. Its something the child sees its parents use and so by that connection becomes much more interesting than anything theyre actually meant to have. Maybe my pop psychology is wrong but Im hoping that if he seems me with my consoles that might help to alleviate that problem.
But the other issue is that, apart from Nintendo, there are no kids games on consoles. Or at least not any good ones. When I saw Crash Bandicoot, and now Spyro The Dragon, become big hits again thanks to their remakes I was hoping we were heading for a new age of family-friendly games. But all it seems to have done is caused companies to raid their back catalogue looking for games they already own to rehash.
Oddly, its Activision that seems to understand the need for family-friendly games the most as they were making Skylanders before this and by all accounts they were pretty good too (I didnt play them myself). They fell out of favour because of toys to life but nobody seems to have realised that its the child-friendly aspect thats the main draw, not the gimmicks – be they plastic toys or nostalgic remakes.
If I go by the age ratings my boys going to be left playing nothing but remakes and sports games until hes 16 at least, if he only wants to stick with good quality games. He could play the Lego games, I guess, but thats literally all there is and thats crazy.
I assume well see more Crash Bandicoot and Spyro games at some point but youd think companies would be looking at the success of these, and every Nintendo game ever, and just make their own. Surely they should be even keener than me that kids dont grow up playing only smarpthone games!
By reader Dashe
The readers feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.