Screen-time versus kids is a constant battle nowadays. We’re waging a war we cannot win. You do your best to keep them away as much as possible, but so many times the engrossing ‘windows’ of our gadgets overpower the brightest of intentions.
However, it’s not all bad. At least we don’t have to worry about ‘TV flicker’ syndrome like our parents used to.
In my day there was Prince of Persia on IBM PC, a 2D platform game for DOS that, after churning away in the disk drive (as it loaded from at least two five-and-a-quarter inch floppy disks) its pixelated title screen would appear.
But it was… brilliant.
Tomb Raider or Uncharted had not arrived yet, but this character was perfectly animated. Torches flamed on the walls. Doors were activated when you stood on them, spikes appeared out of the floor scaring the bejeezus out of you and magic potions allowed you to restore health and crucial, soul-relieving moments. Death came swiftly, realistically and numerously in this dungeon/palace of Persia.
And there were even the best sword duels possible in 2D. First, you had to find your sword, an exhilarating moment and a flash of genius level design. (You can still play this game in browser here.)
You’ve got 60 minutes to get through it. Fully completing this many-levelled gem was far from easy, but when you (finally) managed it, even a kid realised that computer games were just beginning. Because you were left tired but wanting more. A lot more…
Now… I’m sat playing a much more recent, mysterious game on the PS4 with my 6 year old son. RiME (Steam). It’s his first console game experience, and I’m doing most of the tricky jumping and hanging off walls. It’s nothing violent, loud or noisy. It’s a beautiful interaction with landscape in fact, and the difficulty level is just right for exploration and adventure. It also happens to be about the nature of grief, a theme mercifully lost on most kids. But it shows him another world; of magic, light 3D puzzles and darkness. And there is a magic fox creature helping us through a deserted underworld section. It reminds me a lot of Prince of Persia crossed with the influence from Journey. But it’s everything I knew games could become, without being in VR just yet.
Check out some IGN Youtube play.
Anyway, hope these might help out a fellow parent in sudden search of a decent game to share with restless kids on rainy afternoons! Red cloaks must fly off to the developers of RiME. They’re onto a good thing.
- No Man’s Sky – a few sessions of can bring home the concept of space and planets.
- ABZU – equally awe-inspiring underwater adventure.
- Journey – the ground-breaking indie classic.
Have you played these games? Please leave a comment and help to enhance this post for other (tired) parents.