* Terrible at playing games, not terrible in general. Although also probably sometimes.
Does anybody have any recommendations for my-first-video games for Pre-K / Elementary aged children? My kids like playing video games, but they’re really terrible at anything that requires reflexes or really has any chance at failure. I mostly want to get them familiar with the controller and navigating 3d spaces, and maybe start building controller reflexes/ dexterity. The older one can read, so that helps, although the younger one can’t.
Animal Crossing is the obvious choice, but I’d like something that I can maybe play with them, and Animal Crossing is extremely tedious to play with them (They run around the town happily and pretend to buy snacks and stuff but it’s soooo boring). I’d also like something a little more interactive, and to start getting them used to the idea of playing games with failure states.
We’ve tried Yoshi’s Crafted World, but after the first couple of worlds it gets a little too hard for them, since there’s time pressure in a bunch of places, and it requires some dexterity to do the aiming reticle with the egg-throws. They like Yoshi, but get frustrated quickly. They can kind of survive while I play the level, but it’s not super fun for anybody.
I was considering Super Mario Odyssey/Sunshine, since the hub areas are pretty lacking in peril, but I haven’t tried it with them yet. Also, I’ve heard the Kirby games might be similar I difficulty if not easier than the Yoshi ones?
They both like Pokemon, so Let’s Go Eevee is also an option. We own that one, and tried it a while ago, but that was before she was really fluent at reading, so it was hard going then. I feel like it might go better if we tried again. I recently picked up a game called Tick Tock Connect which was kinda reviews as a baby’s first JRPG, so we may try that next.
This goes against all of your stated goals, but I will point out that when I was an elementary aged kid watching an adult play Civilization I was a mind blowing experience for me. Even though I was too young to play Civ well or even understand all of the rules, just getting the chance to play it and try was really exciting for me. I wonder how your older kid will go with more abstracted games where reflexes aren’t really needed?
Mario Kart 8 works well for this. When my youngest got frustrated easily with pretty much anything with defined levels or challenges (including “easy” platformers like Yoshi and Kirby) she loved this. Before she could beat even the easiest AI opponents, she loved time trial mode so she could have the satisfaction of beating her own ghost.
Smash Bros also works since you can just dial down the AI to the minimum level.
My kids started out on Chompy Chomp Chomp, which is a great starting point. It requires only minimal controller skills. They then moved on to a fun racing game. I saw Mario Kart mentioned above and that’s a great option. The PC equivalent is Sonic All Star Racing Tranformed, which is fun for both adults and kids. Racing games are really good because each child is on their own and it doesn’t matter if they mess up. A good next stop is SpeedRunners, which is racing, but also a little more skill-based. Also Action Henk, which is similar but less skill-based.
Beat-em-ups like Castle Crashers are also a good way for them to develop their skills. Unfortunately, after a certain stage, my kids weren’t good enough to advance.
Finally, there’s the Lego games, most of which are great for kids. My kids love all the Marvel and DC Lego games. The younger ones will need some help with the puzzle solving, but the lack of repercussions to losing makes for a great playground.
My 5yo learnt to use a controller in Zelda BOTW. Basically she would watch me play and want to have a go so I let her play around in one of the villages where there are no monsters. The controls are very intuitive and did not take long to go from running around to gliding to cooking etc.
I bought my 7-going-on-8 daughter all the MySims games for Wii U (Kingdoms, Agents, etc) (wii actually) and while she likes them well enough there is a staggering amount of needing to go to walkthroughs and such, especially since I haven’t been paying attention to the mechanics as she goes along.
She’s a huge Potter fan, but again, so many hard to figure out puzzles. Much easier since we got a bigger TV, to spot things that need to be manipulated, but more than anything, it’s taught her to google walkthroughs. I can see she isn’t wanting to boot these games up because she keeps getting stuck.
The biggest successes (also with my 4 yr old) have been Family Ski (they just jump in there and ski wherever they want) and the first level of Mario 3D world, because they can navigate it pretty much without too much threat. Mario Tennis is fun but I have to watch how much I win. Mario Kart is decent. They really like Wii Sports Resort, flying the plane around, doing the biking trails, playing bowling etc.
I think the perfect game would be an open world Mario game where you literally can’t die. Nothing too cerebral, just let them interect and putter. That said, I’m embarrassed by their attitude, since my introduction to video games at age 8-11 was Montezuma’s Revenge on Colecovision and Ghost and Goblins on NES, two brutal games that require perfect execution, and even then you will die incessantly. But I think like most things, we didn’t know what actual succesful video game playing looked like. Them watching me plowing through a game like a pro, and then seeing their terrible results, just takes the wind out of their sails. It’s why I don’t draw with them much anymore, it kills their ambition / motivation.
I wanted to say something along the same lines, had a near identical experience at the time with Civ I, Civ II and Rise & Rule of the Ancient Empires. SimCity 2000 and later Rollercoaster Tycoon were also super intriguing to me as a kid.
I played a lot of Tetris when i was 7 and around that. Maybe too boring for modern kids?
I was gonna say Civilization too as @Tim_N did, but I was thinking about turn based games where you get to take som time. Maybe some kin of tower defence game? Monopoly? Jurassic World?
Two Point Hospital, but might be too stressing.