Sunday, July 15, 2007

Nintendo DS Games for Kids

So how did the following games fare in the hands of a 10 year old, who has not seen a DS prior to yesterday and has never played anything on a GameBoy before? Don't worry about the Nintendo DS, the kid was well-mannered and treated it with respect.
  1. New Super Mario Bros.
  2. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
  3. Mario Kart DS
New Super Mario Bros.

This game earned the title of of "game lompat-lompat" from the kid after I demo-ed that bouncing stage to him.

This was obviously the easiest game for him to master, nothing more then moving left and right (and the occasional going up and down), jumping and ducking. He found out all by himself how to move about worlds and enter levels.

Time spent on it: A very very long time (think hours, good thing the DS was fully charged). It was very engrossing.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin

I initially hesitated to let him play this game, it's pretty freaky even for my standards, but maybe to him it's just a game whereby the hero chops up monsters.

The flat graphics made it abit difficult for him to know whether there is a path where he can proceed to the next screen. However, the recurring monsters made for an interesting challenge for him. He got the concept of using different weapons in the game and even using the touch screen to start a new game!

Time spent on it: This game takes 2nd place, and its pretty funny to hear him make his own sound effects when chopping up zombies and what not.

Mario Kart DS

When compared to other racing games, Mario Kart DS is pretty easy to pick-up, once you discard the notion of explaining a. power-ups and b. drifting, cause it's too much of a hassle for absolute beginners.

The boy did get a hang of racing and using power-ups, but I guess driving around doesn't make for much fun.

This was the only game he spent less than 10 minutes on. Soon he was asking me.."Bang, ada game lain tak?"

Nintendo should be applauded to bringing games to the casual crowd and those who don't tend to play games. But the target audience tend to be adults and are well-versed in English. So what about kids? The language barrier is a downer and the lack of experience with a touch screen interface hampers understanding as well. Putting myself in my young friend's position, even Touch Generation's Club House Games would suck.

But if you are looking for a game for your 10-year old (or any other kid in general), New Super Mario Bros. is highly recommended. But do remember that video games are not a permanent substitute to a parent, so don't forget to participate during play-time with your kids.