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PC The #1 Choice For Kids Gaming

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-don't-recommend-using-them-for-farming-in-wow dept.

PC Games (Games) 60

An NPD study entitled 'Kids and Gaming' has revealed that for the latest generation of gamers, games on the PC is their first taste of the hobby. Interestingly, kids seem to go through a sort of 'gaming life cycle', starting with kid-oriented systems (Leapster), with PC games picking up around six and console gaming beginning around ten. The study also confirmed something you probably already knew: more kids are gaming than ever before. "The study, which surveyed kids aged two to 17, said that more than one-third of children in the US are spending more time playing games than a year ago. Half of these kid gamers are 'light' users at five hours a week or less and the other half are 'medium, heavy or super users' who game six to 16 hours-plus per week. With the kids surveyed who play games online, an average of 39 percent of their time is spent playing games online versus offline. The majority of the kids (91 percent) play free online games."

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60 comments

Contradictory Evidence (2, Funny)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010309)

This conflicts with my scientific studies of Xbox Live trash talk percentage in comparison with PC FPS's.

Re:Contradictory Evidence (1)

drummerboybac (1003077) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010399)

"The majority of the kids (91 percent) play free online games." I don't think they are talking about FPS games in this category.

Re:Contradictory Evidence (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012863)

They're talking about free MMORPGs like Flyff and Maple Story. My friends' kids just can't stop playing them.

Re:Contradictory Evidence (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012515)

The idea that anonymous rude assholes in game chats are spoiled children is one of the worst stereotypes I have encountered on the internet.

Age seems to have little to no relation to behavior as long as anonymity is involved. Of course, I havn't done have any real scientific research, so I could be mistaken, but I doubt it.

Re:Contradictory Evidence (1)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21014979)

The idea that anonymous rude assholes in game chats are spoiled children is one of the worst stereotypes I have encountered on the internet.

I agree. As an avid online poker player, I can tell you that there are plenty of adults who are rude assholes during games.

Re:Contradictory Evidence (1)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21020819)

Does first hand experimentation count as scientific evidence, 'cause if it does, I'm going to go write my thesis.

Isn't Hobby a stretch? (-1, Flamebait)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010375)

Isn't gaming classified as entertainment. Not only that, but it is addictive entertainment like drinking or gambling. I know of several people who have lost their jobs and wife because of gaming. Referring to gaming as a hobby is an insult to real hobbies that actually return something more tangible than moving a few electrons to say your Hitpoints are now 300 versus 280.

Re:Isn't Hobby a stretch? (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21011947)

I can see objecting to calling gaming a sport. I personally think it's silly and pushes the definition of "sport" to the limit. Even if it can be made to fit the dictionary definition, it certainly doesn't seem to fit the spirit of the word as we traditionally use it.

Gaming can most certainly be a hobby. Would you call chess a hobby? Tinkering with electronics? Hell, a lot of people here would consider programming a hobby. The dictionary I just looked it up on calls a hobby "[a]n activity or interest pursued outside one's regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure." I'd have to say most anything can be a hobby.

Re:Isn't Hobby a stretch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21013339)

You're confusing a "hobby" with a "craft". Only crafts produce tangible results, by definition, but we don't all get off on baking muffins at the weekend.

If you're happy with intangible results such as improved spatial memory, improved logic, improved peripheral vision, improved reflexes, etc. then games fit the bill just fine.

But you don't say what your superior hobbies are so it's hard to compare the two.

Possible explanations (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010379)

I think there are two factors at play here. The first, and most obvious, is that edutainment games are overwhelmingly based on the PS (although the PSP and DS both have a growing library). Most parents like to feel that their children are at least getting some educational value out of the games they play and edutainment games are often how they decide to introduce their children to the world of IT.

The other, more complicated argument, probably revolves around pester-power. Almost all middle-class house-holds in the US/UK today contain a PC. These are generally low-end machines bought off-the-peg from a high-street store for a mix of home-office use and recreational web-browsing/e-mail. Consoles, despite having firmly entered the mainstream, remain less common, mainly because they are single-purpose machines and not everybody likes games.

When children are still in the single-digit age-range, they're generally more likely to be satisfied with the fairly basic games you can play on a low-end PC. However, as they age, they and their peers become increasingly aware of what else is available in gaming terms and more aware of what they don't have. At this point, they also get better at pestering their parents and more likely to be able to make the case for big-ticket items such as games consoles finding their way onto Christmas lists and the like.

Mind you, when I was 10-12ish, I was playing Gunship 2000, Eye of the Beholder, Microsoft Flight Simulator and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe on the PC. Frankly, I'm not sure I'd have the time or patience for the learning curve that games such as this involved today. Maybe some kids just develop... ah... sophisticated tastes early.

Re:Possible explanations (1)

archen (447353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21011061)

Console games also just tend to be more complicated. Anecdote: My ex-wife's little brother is around 4 and of course wants to do whatever we were doing, including playing the PS2. Now for me it didn't seem like a big deal because I recall playing video games on a Nintendo a long time ago as well. But look at the old Nintendo controller - two buttons, select, start, and d-pad. Look at your typical PS2 controller - buttons everywhere, dpad, multiple joysticks. The other interesting thing was that he couldn't reach all the buttons because his hands were too small, and most ps2 games just required too many different combinations of buttons. Now obviously we weren't playing kids games, but I've seen kids quickly pick up kid oriented titles on a PC. Most kids can figure out a mouse and clicking a button fairly fast. Even so, I give the kid credit for doing surprisingly well at Shinobi. I would actually think that in the future the Wii will gain much more traction in the young kids market - but we'll see.

As for the educational thing, I think a lot of parents put too much emphasis around that mantra. While I feel that I would indeed feel guilty having a kid play the same sort of stuff I rot my own brain with, I think most any puzzle type game would be fine. Not just stuff like tetris, but games like Sheep Raider [wikipedia.org] are a total blast and make you do "simple" problem solving.

Re:Possible explanations (1)

Sherloqq (577391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013049)

Based on my own kids, I think small children (pre-school age) have better imagination and look at the world holistically rather than dissecting objects into collections of smaller pieces making up a puzzle. Thus I think they are more likely to overlook certain details (or lack thereof), which might lead them to be more content with playing a game an older child might shun by being too analytical ("Oh, this game is stupid, the little monkey can jump from building to building, but can't jump from vine to vine"). So it becomes easier to code games for smaller children, because they don't have to be perfect. Games that don't demand perfection don't demand system performance, so an older PC will do. I have a few dozen games for kids for PC which, if I'm lucky, will hopefully delay the need to cave in and buy a console for a few years :)

And on the educational angle, I agree that a game doesn't have to teach letters or words to be considered "educational". Other skills are just as important as, if not being outright prerequisites to, reading -- take pattern-matching for example. My 5-year-old is doing quite well recognizing the same words over and over in a book, and he rocks at MahJongg. I think the latter led to the former, but that's just MHO, of course.

Majiang, or GunShy? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21014527)

I agree that a game doesn't have to teach letters or words to be considered "educational". Other skills are just as important as, if not being outright prerequisites to, reading -- take pattern-matching for example. My 5-year-old is doing quite well recognizing the same words over and over in a book, and he rocks at MahJongg.
By "MahJongg", do you mean the actual game of mahjong [wikipedia.org], or do you mean mahjong solitaire [wikipedia.org], the tile-matching game that has been distributed for computers under such names as "Shanghai", "Taipei", or "GunShy"? And has he tried other pattern-recognition games like Lockjaw Tetromino Game [pineight.com]?

Re:Majiang, or GunShy? (1)

Sherloqq (577391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21014703)

I stand corrected. It was a computerized version, so I guess "mahjong solitaire" would have been appropriate. As for the other one, I'll have to let my son give it a shot :) Thanks for pointing it out!

On a sidenote, there was a period of a few months when I played tetris a lot. Several months after I stopped, I was asked to help someone move. While helping them load a U-Haul truck, I realized I was subconsciously approaching the task in the same way I did a game of tetris...

Re:Majiang, or GunShy? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21014893)

On a sidenote, there was a period of a few months when I played tetris a lot. Several months after I stopped, I was asked to help someone move. While helping them load a U-Haul truck, I realized I was subconsciously approaching the task in the same way I did a game of tetris...
You're not the only one [mac.com]. I wonder what several months of Animal Crossing might do: make you want to shake all the trees in the park?

Re:Majiang, or GunShy? (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029389)

I've worked at UPS and the comparison to Tetris is very accurate. If you work at UPS over Christmas time loading 6-7 full sized semi's (over the course of 3 hours) with you and one other guy is like Tetris at it's hardest.

More on topic I've played pretty much the full spectrum of MMOs and about 50% of the under 16 kids I meet were either very nice and even fun to play with and the other 50% were complete idiots who earned a spot on my /ignore list. Note I'm not talking about newbness and the lack of skill they may or may not possess at the game. I'm talking about pure personality as to how they treated the party and myself.

Re:Possible explanations (1)

Nicolay77 (258497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21015609)

It surely depends on the game.

I have a PS2-like logitech controller for my PC, and I can never find enough buttons on it for the controls of the game.

Re:Possible explanations (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21011113)

Sorry; Offtopic.

Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe was a great game. I could't begin the hours I spent playing that as a kid.

Re:Possible explanations (1)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21020671)


Mind you, when I was 10-12ish, I was playing Gunship 2000, Eye of the Beholder, Microsoft Flight Simulator and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe on the PC.

In my day we played Oregon Trail just for the hunting mini-game, and we were glad to get three turns in before dying of diphtheria.

Re:Possible explanations (1)

Criterion (51515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21031679)

I tried to get my son to play the educational kids games when he was very young (preschool) both on the pc and a leappad. He wouldn't play them, he just couldn't get into them, and I certainly wasn't going to force him to do that (cruel and unusual punishment by any other name...). He started playing driving games on the Xbox at the tender age of 4, and some Halo (please, spare me the "bad parent exposing the child to violent games" rant, I won't bite, nor do I allow him to play any of my games which I DO consider more mature titles). We even got him a miniature controller for his tiny little hands, though he was fully functional, even with a Duke controller. Before I knew it he was rolling off exactly how many rounds each weapon used just by watching the ammo count drop.. at the age of 4. Hmm.. what's this? Math? Yes indeed.. that's math. Well, he did go on to finish Halo, by himself, on heroic at the tender age of 5 (legendary later). He finished Halo 2 on normal within 3 days of it's release. As of now, he has finished Halo 3 on legendary. Now, this is not a post about Halo, just how fast he picks up things. He also plays many racing games, Lord of the Rings games including Battle for Middle Earth II, Command and Conquer (let me state here I was amazed at how fast he picked up the RTS games.. I think it's his new favorite.. he loves the challenge of figuring out new gameplay), Star Wars games, etc. Just to be clear, my husband and myself are also avid gamers (in our 40's no less), so the fact he plays games is no surprise. What might be a surprise to those unfamiliar with him is that every school year, he has won the best in math award. Not surprising to me, as he uses it all the time without even thinking about it, and it has become second nature to him. The best way to learn is by not knowing you're being taught.

Just thought I might have my say, as my son never played Hello Kitty Island Adventures ;). (for the humor challenged.. yes I know that's not a real game.. this is what's known as "a joke"... lol)

Re:Possible explanations (1)

Criterion (51515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21031715)

I guess I missed a crucial number in my post above.. my son is 8 right now.

Re:Possible explanations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21152603)

Thank you for the link! I will check out his wares.

Good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21010381)

The more kids that are gaming, the more legitimate an entertainment medium gaming will be in the future. As with other mediums before it.

So long, of course, as the parents are monitoring their kids. I do; do you?

Real gamers use Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21017007)

This is more good news for Microsoft. Serious gamers are going to use Windows, because teh Lunix is a joke as far as games go. And likewise, OSX has their heads up their butts... and they have always acknowledged that their biggest deficiency is NOT being Windows: that's why being able to virtualize Windows has always been a necessity for Apple. Plus, now that Apple is using Intel, they are just another PC vendor (albeit a horribly expensive one).

Another reason for FOSSies to despair... but somehow they are just continue to delude themselves into thinking people choose Windows becuase Microsoft is forcing them to.

Not suprising (2, Insightful)

nrich239 (790194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010389)

This story is not surprising for those of us still "growing up" (I'm a recent college grad) I started out with console gaming (NES) and moved to PC for some time while waiting to get enough money to buy the next console. And with parents buying things like LeapFrog, the next gen is starting even younger. I can't imagine how to get much more gaming time in than I already do (~4 hrs a night after work and countless on weekends)

Idea for follow up story: "5yr old develops youngest case of carpal tunnel...."

Re:Not suprising (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010895)

Back then I wished I had an NES. All I had was a C64 and later a Gameboy. But judging by my ability to afford games the C64 with those 80 disks of warez included (was bought used) was probably the better choice. Those educational computers seemed cool to me at the time but realistically a C64 is superior and teaches much more useful things (like the QWERTY layout, English and BASIC along with binary, RAM address poking and ASCII codes) than just the spelling of "broom".

No kidding (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010405)

For ages 5 to 7, the PC is the only place you're going to get games. At that age, you're primarily looking for educational slower-paced games. While most games of that type on the PC are insufferably lame, that category of game is basically non-existent on consoles. Add to that the fact that parents of kids that age tend to have less money than they do when the kids are older (since people tend to both make more and get better at managing money as they age), and the fact that most people already own a computer even before they have kids, and it's easy to see why kids would be gaming on the family PC prior to any console.

Re:No kidding (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21011019)

"For ages 5 to 7... At that age, you're primarily looking for educational slower-paced games."

At that age, your parents should still be making decisions for you. Hopefully they are looking for educational, slower paced games. You also have to factor in that at that age any game you do buy had better be durable or cheap.

Re:No kidding (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21014559)

For ages 5 to 7, the PC is the only place you're going to get games.

The PC has the widest library maybe, but the consoles feature better controls. My kids are actually in the 3-5 range, and right now, I'd say the best system for them is the Wii. And that's not a 'nintendo is for kids' thing, because they were far less successful on the cube. (They like Donkey Congo (with the bongoes), and Soul Calibur II (because even with just random button mashing your fighters are reasonably effective). But overall the cube controller is too big and too complicated.

The wii on the other hand fits in their hand, and the controlls are simple and intuitive...

My 3 and 5 year olds can both do most of the Wii sports - boxing, tennis, bowling, golf. Only baseball is generally too hard. (with tennis if they swing and miss there is often time to swing again, in baseball you only get one swing, and its less forgiving than tennis)

Same with Wii Play - the 'find a mii' game they can both do if someone reads the instructions, they can both do target shooting and fishing, the 5 year old can play all the games except pool.

They can play Mario party 8 together successfully even without supervision, provided we set it to the 'simple mini games' set.

They can play the new Carnival game without supervision. (although they only play a subset of the games)

They can do most of the activities in Big Brain Academy with supervision/assistance. Though the three year old needs a fair bit of help, and some activities are simply beyond him. (e.g. Math)

They can both play Warioware smooth moves well enough to have to fun, as well as enjoy most of the multiplayer mini-games.

As they move towards the 5-7 range, I see a *lot* more games opening up to their abilities.

As far as PC gaming at this age (3-5). Its really not great. The 3 year old can use the mouse, but clicking the mouse without moving it away from where he wants to click takes more than one try so most games are just out of reach. The 5 year old is better at it, but as you said, the games are largely insufferable, and after mario party 8, soul calibur 2, and wii sports even the 5 year old looks at most free pc games as the crap they are. At 3 and 5 They tend to actually prefer a blank notepad window with a large font to 'practice their letters and numbers' and type their names.

Re:No kidding (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 6 years ago | (#21018897)

I started out on consoles and there were plenty of slower paced games. The NES had a few things. My 3 year old son has two games for the PS2 that are both educational and run at his speed. I haven't had the time to find him any more because he's pretty much satisfied playing the handful of games that he does have. Some of the faster paced ones are good for him to learn hand-eye coordination.

I'm trying to keep my son off the PC for obvious reasons. I don't want him learning the "Windows" way of doing things. I'll teach him Linux when he's a bit older.

You wouldn't know it from the game stores ... (2, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010459)

An NPD study entitled 'Kids and Gaming' has revealed that for the latest generation of gamers, games on the PC is their first taste of the hobby.
And yet, to call the PC games sections of stores like GameStop and EBGames "anemic" is an understatement. What gives?

Re:You wouldn't know it from the game stores ... (4, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010643)

likely because they factor in "Edugaming" which is a multi-million dollar industry but would likely never be considered REAL gaming by most of us. I suspect if they split the study up to account for gaming, and edugaming as two different things, that there would be a massive shift toward more system gamers than PC gamers.

Re:You wouldn't know it from the game stores ... (2, Interesting)

Dracil (732975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010885)

It's largely a self-fulfilling prophecy. When they devote all their resources to promoting consoles and ignoring PC games, is it any wonder that people don't buy as much PC games at their stores? And then they wonder why PC games sell like crap, and thus do even less for PC games.

Re:You wouldn't know it from the game stores ... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21014775)

This paints an awfully lazy picture of PC gamers.

Re:You wouldn't know it from the game stores ... (1)

Dracil (732975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21021935)

Why would people shop at a store that doesn't have a reliable stock of games when they can get it much more reliably online or, ironically, at a non-gaming specialty store?

Re:You wouldn't know it from the game stores ... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21022231)

Right, but why would a store look at its PC games sales in isolation from the rest of the market...if gamers are going elsewhere to pick up the latest titles(which they probably are if they aren't impossibly lazy), the stores will eventually notice and start stocking more games, etc.

Re:You wouldn't know it from the game stores ... (1)

Dracil (732975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025309)

Except there's already the mentality that PC games don't sell, so stores don't stock PC games, so PC gamers don't go to stores. It's not PC gamers that are lazy, it's game stores that are lazy. PC gamers just go to the non-gaming specialty stores and get their games there, because the non-specialty stores are also not lazy.

Re:You wouldn't know it from the game stores ... (3, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010939)

Because they tend to make their money off of trading in games, which you can't do effectively on the pc due to piracy concerns. Since they can't get trade ins for pc games, and since they don't have the scale that wal mart does, they can't sell the games for a decent price. I can't imagine buying a pc game at a console game shop simply because the prices are so high.

Re:You wouldn't know it from the game stores ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21013095)

Have you seen their console games sections? Those are anemic too, unless you want the "New Overhyped Release Du Jour".

Re:You wouldn't know it from the game stores ... (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21014269)

And yet, to call the PC games sections of stores like GameStop and EBGames "anemic" is an understatement. What gives?

Internationally, PC sales are better than in the US. Also online sales are beginning to be a large percentage of PC sales. Bookworm Adventures and Puzzle Pirates are two examples I've enjoyed.

Video Games != Games (2, Interesting)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010635)

It does annoy me greatly when these two are written interchangeably. My daughter is in the 2-6 age group and has a Leapster that is gathering dust. She plays plenty of games but not video games. She loves soccer, Candy Land, and Sorry. All kids play games of some sort. The kids in the survey are playing video games more. I'd be interested to see what they stopped doing to spend more time on the PC playing video games. I'd wager it most of them gave up time from some sort of non-video game.

Re:Video Games != Games (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21014823)

She loves soccer, Candy Land, and Sorry.
Candy Land is not a game. It's a scripted A-button-fest, much like parts of some Japanese RPGs.

It's true! Kids play games on computers! (1)

machinecraig (657304) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010811)

This study is definitely not breaking new ground. Most kids past toddler are using computers for internet access (just look at all the kid websites that are mentioned during cartoons these days).

Did people think that most kids get introduced to gaming via a PS3?

Good Ol' Days (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21011067)

I remember the good old days where you only had a NES and you were happy. Hell i'll still play the NES(emulator). But I personally enjoy PC games more than console games because I am a WoW addict, but now I am recovering with Portal\HL-E2.

Develop for the PC. (1, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 6 years ago | (#21011703)

To be honest, I've always believed if Nintendo and others truly wanted to appeal to casual gamers they'd be developing games for the PC. Perhaps not so much in Japan, but certainly elsewhere in Asia, the US and Europe.

PCs are so pervasive that it makes the barrier of entry into gaming quite low. I've known countless people with no interest in gaming whatsoever by intrigued by some game they've found online. The important thing is to make system requirements anywhere as demanding as they are for most mainstream PC games. It sure would be nice if Nintendo produced a USB version of the Wii controller.

Re:Develop for the PC. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21015043)

It sure would be nice if Nintendo produced a USB version of the Wii controller.
Some Bluetooth receivers can receive Wii Remote signals.

That's actually the "parenting life cycle" (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21011801)

"Why honey, of course you can play *these* games; they're educational!"

"Well... I don't know what this 'Quake' is, but I guess maybe it'll give you more experience with computers or something... just stop bugging me about it."

"You want a video game console? Fine, whatever, just don't burn the house down. Mommy needs a nap."

Of course it is, games are "free" (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013103)

It's a hell of a lot harder to get "free" games for your Playstation, Xbox, or Wii. With a computer, all you have to do is download an iso and a crack, then you're set.

Re:Of course it is, games are "free" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21015105)

It's a hell of a lot harder to get "free" games for your Playstation, Xbox, or Wii. With a computer, all you have to do is download an iso and a crack, then you're set.
Likewise with the Nintendo DS: once you buy the R4 adapter and a microSD card, you're all set to run a large library of freeware developed by hobbyists.

Free Internet Games (1)

tyrantking31 (1115607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013597)

I have a 5, 7 and 9 year old. The free internet games they play include games found at nick.com, cartoonnetwork.com, pbskids.com, popcap.com and neopets.com among others. Usually we have a waiting list to use the computer. All the sites feature free webgames. Often these three help the two year old play elmo and blues clues games. Many of the games they play are educational. Also, given the technology driven society we live in, there is an inherent educational value found in being introduced to computers at an early age and learning how to use them. I feel much more comfortable having my children play supervised internet games than I would feel having them play on a leapster.

So what will your recommendation be? (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21014081)

Speaking of PC games for kids.

What would you recommend for light playing (about 5 hours/week) for elementary-school children?

Re:So what will your recommendation be? (1)

mark99 (459508) | more than 6 years ago | (#21021753)

Neopets. My kids loved it. Very cute - but it is an online game.

Ads don't start on it until they are like 13 or so. They make a lot of money off merchandising.

Go (1)

J_Omega (709711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21023929)


Go.

Seriously. I suggest it for anyone/everyone for multiple reasons.

For a quick read on why a child should learn the game:
http://users.eniinternet.com/bradleym/ChildGo.html [eniinternet.com]

Go will make them think on multiple "levels" using both right and left brain.
Go teaches pattern recognition and spatial skills.
Go is scalable down to reasonable sizes (smaller boards) for children.
Go can be taught to a 5yo in an afternoon. (takes a lifetime to master)
Go is played online by people from around the world. (Exposure to different cultures.)
Go can be played in 20 mins (small board, or fast playing) so it is not a timesink (your ~5 hrs/week) Go has a simple handicap system - so weaker players can play stronger without complication.


If your children are gifted, Go can be even more useful:
http://users.eniinternet.com/bradleym/Gifted.html [eniinternet.com]

Because it is so simple to implement, any old PC can run the software.
(example, java client here: http://www.gokgs.com/ [gokgs.com] )

Since it is based on a board game, it can also be played in the physical during "family time," trips, or whatnot.

And, though I hate to say this -- there is a popular anime called "Hiraku no Go" that has introduced many many people to the world's oldest continued played board game. ( basic premise: A child (named Hikaru) finds an old goban (the board) that's possessed by the ghost of an ancient Go player. The ghost teaches Hikaru to play the game.) So perhaps you could rent the DVDs and the kids would become interested in the game. (Personally, I've never seen a single episode.)

Some other links that might interest you:
More about the game: http://users.eniinternet.com/bradleym/ [eniinternet.com]
Quick learn-to-play guide: http://playgo.to/interactive/ [playgo.to]

If they enjoy the game, it'll be something that they will play for the rest of their lives!
(And it also seems to help the elderly.)

Seriously -- Go

Two things (1, Insightful)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21017201)

1) PC's are more ubiquitous than consoles. A family with no older children is likely to not have a console for themselves, but will have a PC (note that this likely won't be a proper "gaming" PC, but edutainment games generally don't take much to run).

2) PC's are still easier to develop for. Every programmer has experience on them, the SDK's are generally free or at least relatively cheap, and your test hardware can be anything from your own dev machine to the old dell your girlfriend used to use. Edutainment games are a relatively low budget business - the cost for the console SDK's is designed largely around keeping low-budget and hobbyist programmers away from them.

Combine those two, and you've got a PC-based gaming market for small children.

Parents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21022913)

I am fairly young but even I remeber that if I wanted to learn something new that was not being taught in school I went to my mom. It was a good time to actually bond. My mom was a single parent who owned her owned and ran her own business. She still had time for me at the end of the day. I notice more more parents are using these educational video games to keep the kids busy. granted they are learning but god forbid the parents spend some time with their kids. Now I don't have any of my own so I probably have nowhere to stand on this matter.
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