GBA games for kids?

i think there was a thread about this recently, but i’ll be damned if i can find it…

does anyone have any suggestions for GBA games for a male kid, aged 5? much appreciation.

Pokemon, seriously. Puyo puyo maybe, supermonkeyball if you hate him (it will frustrate him to death)

Games my 6yo has played incessantly on his GBA: Matchbox Crosstown Heroes, Rescue Heroes Billy Blazes, Snood, Piglet’s Big Game, Pokemon Pinball, Spyro Orange.

Super Mario Brother 3 is great, as are the latest Pokemon games.


Perhaps a better question would be which GBA games are NOT suitable for kids. There are lots of games out there that kids will love, I think. Any of the Mario games, though I find the controls frustrating on the GBA for such games, so I can imagine lots of kids would too. The pokemon games are nice suggestion, if he can read. But age 5 is usually just the beginning of reading, and I honestly think the text might be too difficult unless you help him with it.

Fire Emblem and Tactics Ogre: Knight of Lodis.

5-year olds won’t be able to play many games listed above (Tactics Ogre? Come on!) unless they’re already an experienced gamer (still, Tactics Ogre? For a five year old?). The reading thing is the biggest barrier. Almost all GBA games require reading on some level. Personally I recommend foregoing the GBA for a 5-year old and grabbing a Leapster and some games. It’s a terrific system.

But, for the GBA, my recommendations (as GamerDad) are anything platform based, old arcade coin-op compilations, sports games (specifically the Backyard series), and games specifically designed for kids. Avoid THQ if you can but a license can go a long way toward immersing a kid from the get go.

At GamerDad we have a feature article about GBA games for kids by age level, but I’m not allowed to link it here. Go to features at and scroll down until you find the Christmas 2003 articles.

Good luck!

My 3 yr old absolutely loves Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga even though it has a ton of reading in it to play it “properly” – he just likes making M&L run around and fight bad guys.

Also popular with him:

Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland
Donkey Kong Country
Mario Vs Donkey Kong

However, my 3 yr old is probably atypical in terms of willingness to overcome some difficulty in games at his age – he is better at Luigi’s Mansion and Mario Sunshine than I am.

Okay Xemu, give him Tactics Ogre then. But yeah, kids usually “get” platform games pretty quick.

Well I would have said FFTA, but the second half of that game is terrible.

Yoshi’s Island is probably the best platformer on the system - I say get that. Also Wario Ware and Pokemon.

Blech, Yoshi’s Island is terrible. Stick to Mario 3 and Mario World.

Is something wrong with your head? It’s the best 2D platformer ever made.

Is something wrong with your head? It’s the best 2D platformer ever made.[/quote]

That’s what people tell me. All I know is, I tried to play it three seperate times, and all three times, it sucked.

Then keep trying until you think it’s the greatest 2D platformer ever made.

Go sit in the corner, extarbags. What did I tell you about whiping that otaku vibe off your face?



Put down your pencil and think about what you’ve done. I don’t want to see you move for five minutes as you reflect on how wrong you are, got that, kiddo?

Yoshi’s Island is terrible. What the hell are you smoking?

This from the guy who looks forward to dating sim elements in his fighting games and who whines about the Gamecube control in Mega Man Anniversary Collection.

That said, it probably isn’t the best Mario for a five year old, though there certainly won’t be anything wrong with him playing, since its a brilliant game and probably 2D platformer ever made. Me, I think Super Mario Bros. 2 aka Super Mario Advance is the best to start with, as it has no time limits, pretty safe rules for getting hurt and losing and has the most gradual increase in challenge.

Other games I’d look out for are Sega’s Sonic Advance series (probably 2 is the best one) and the two Rayman platformers, preferably the first one. There’s some talking in Rayman but not very much and the control is as easy as pie, with some of the lushest and most imaginative color design you’ll see anywhere.

Its not often mentioned, but if you want him to really start thinking with shapes and stuff, Denki Blocks is an excellent that starts really easy and will last him a loooong, looooong time. There’s a tutorial, so you’ll have to read it to him, but the basics are so easy and the game so kid friendly, he might have a blast figuring each puzzle out, especially since it starts out ridiculously easy. Pokemon Puzzle Challenge is another really awesome puzzle game.

I don’t know if American parents like their children seeing breasts or blood, but they’re so pixellated I don’t think it would matter much, but Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance is the best of the three for a really young kid and an excellent action game I doubt he’d get bored of.

Otherwise, coming up is Mega Man Collection, which would be another really good chance, since it includes 5 good and relatively long action games, and Kirby and the Amazing Mirror Labyrinth. Kirby kicks ass and all kids know it.


Yeah, I guess Yoshi’s Island might be a little bit complicated for a 5 year old/extarbags to really enjoy. Kirby’s great. Why doesn’t Nintendo port Kirby’s Dreamland 3? That game was great.

Better 2d Platformers than Yoshi’s Island:

Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario World
Doki Doki Panic
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Kid Chameleon
Klonoa (gba)

I’m sure there are more that I’m just not thinking of right now. Meh.

Klonoa? The GBA version? What a turgid little game that was. I mean, none of those games is better than Yoshi’s Island, but saying Klonoa is better is just utterly contemptible. Okay, Kid Chameleon might be better. I’ve never played that.

They’re all better, actually. Plus these:

Wild 9
Kirby’s Adventure