There was a time when only kids were into computer games and when you could pretty much assume that any game you bought for them would be appropriate. Back then consoles weren’t as powerful as they are today, so they just weren’t capable of the same kind of complex and subtle gameplay that they are now. At the same time, the lack of realistic graphics meant that anything shown on the screen was hardly going to be realistic enough to upset children anyway. Sure, there were a few ‘adult’ games like Leisure Suit Larry, but these were very few and far between and it was pretty obvious which titles had the more adult-oriented themes.
Today it’s a different landscape. Now there are games that feature prostitution, drug use, violent crimes and more all in photo-realistic graphics and often it’s hard to know which ones are going to contain this type of content. Worse is the fact that they’re so easy for kids to get hold of: Grand Theft Auto III was one of the most controversial games of all time when it was released, and now it can be downloaded on most mobile phones!
Controlling What They Play
If you want to gain back any control over what your child is enjoying then, you need to take an active interest in the various games they’re playing and implement systems to ensure they aren’t going to be exposed to anything too scarring.
Make sure that your child’s phone restricts the apps and games they can download. Keep their games consoles and PCs in shared rooms like the living room, and every now and then spend some time sitting with them to see what they’re playing.
Another tip? Invest in a Nintendo Wii U. This is a console that is much more aimed at the family market and that features far more kid-friendly games compared with the competition. It’s also safer to use with fewer settings and a lower price tag, and the added screen will let you watch TV while your children continue to play happily.
Now you’ll have a bit more control over what your kids play, so the question is… what’s safe? And which children’s games are currently in vogue?
Lego Games: There are a ton of Lego games available at the moment from Lego Batman to Lego Indiana Jones. Each of these features a surprisingly detailed and open world providing hours of exploration and action, but they also feature family-friendly storylines and bright Lego-themed graphics so you can rest assured they’ll be safe. With the new Lego Movie just around the block (pun intended) these will likely be the talk of the playground soon too.
Skylanders: Skylanders is a computer game with a great twist – it uses physical toys that can ‘enter’ into the game. This is an exciting idea and one that kids love, but it’s worth bearing in mind because you introduce your children to this one that it can get quite expensive when your children start begging for the various figures to complete their collection. It’s a stroke of marketing genius…
Sonic and Mario: If you were young enough to play computer games in your youth, then chances are that you’ll remember the two most popular gaming mascots: Sonic and Mario. As they were then, they are still harmless and fun characters whose worlds are bright and inoffensive. They’re also still relatively popular.
Worms: Worms is another retro-classic that’s still going strong. This time it’s a turn based strategy game that sees teams of worms blowing each other up with exploding sheep and other humorous weaponry. It’s great for parties or group games, so it’s one to keep your kids busy when they’re tired from the bounce house.