DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for tantrumming toddlers, broken screens, games or/and controllers, angry partners that are not my own after reading this blog. If you decide to try video games out with your toddler, on your head be it.
I don't get much time to play games these days. Mostly because i'm too busy writing and because playing games whilst you have a toddler on your hands is just a stupid idea. I mean, what games are there out there that a three year old can a) Understand and b) not have a tantrum over? Not worth it.
Or so I thought. My son is old enough to link up that if the dvd box has Olaf on the front, the disc inside will magically play one of his favourite movies. But obviously, being too young to have played a game before, he doesn't understand the difference between a dvd box and a video game box. So when he saw the box for Mario Kart, you can understqan his confusion when I told him that this Mario (that he also watches the terrible 90's gravely new-yorkian Mario cartoon of) doesn't play a film. Sometimes, I am a terrible parent and wil give in to avoid tantrums. So I put on Mario Kart to show him what I meant.
This is how I accidently got my 3 year old addicted to mario kart.
Mario Kart: Double Dash
I'd like to emphasise how much Double Dash is probably the safest Mario Kart game to test out. After much persistance that my son wanted to have the controller rather than watch me, he was dissapointed that we suddenly never won any of the different trophys/cups. There's no non-patronising way of telling your child that driving into a wall for half an hour doesn't win you trophies. In games and real life.
However, the beauty of Double Dash is the co-operative play. I drove the kart through the tracks whilst my son sat on the back of the kart- usually as Yoshi- and all he has to do is press one button every time I encouraged him to. That is of course, when we get an item to throw.
This was really nice because it was a super simple, stress free way of playing a video game together. and not to brag, but we usually come 1st place and the joy on my son's face is just amazing. He loves the award ceromony. Even if he doesn't come first. To be honest, he's more bothered about wether or not he can write his name on the leaderboard at the end. It's also funny to see how kids wil try and interact with anything as long as it has a face, which of course in most Mario games, pretty much everthing has a face.
It's cool to see how only after a few weeks of playing, he now throws weapons on his own accord. I love watching him learn through trial and error how to time it right each time and surpisingly, not stropp when he fails. See? I'm doing good parenting! through video games! Who knew? Also, the honk/taunt button will never not stop beig funny to him. Ever.
Of course, with any game that involvs a winning or losing outcome, my son might get a little upset if he doesn't get to write his name on the leaderboard after a Grand Prix on Mario Kart. The level of upsetness depending on what day he had at school, how tired he is, etc. You probably know the drill.
The majority of Minecrafts players are kids. Usually a fair bit older than three years old, though. He's too young to be able to work the controls out, but I knew for a fact he'd find the bright, child friendly lego-like game interesting. So I've been trying out a thing recently where he tells me what to build and I build it.
The outcomes have been..interesting. Being a typical boy, he wants to place Dragon Heads everywhere. On the front of your house? Of course. Above your bed? Naturally. But it's amazing to see the sort of things kids too young to play games coud create if they could play games. Like having a 'kitchen' with no cooking apliances or food- just a room full of water and squids. But it's still a kitchen, okay? God have mercy on you if you question it not being a kitchen.
And you think it's sweet when he asks you to build his grandmothers house in the game. Until you sart to realise his understanding of Grandma's house is yet again, a room full of squid pools and a dog stuck on a boat in another very tiny pool. That, and the trainstation of prisoners she keeps on a floating concrete slab that are left to starve or fall to their drowning death below shown in the above video... This got very weird, very fast, kid.
Warning: Spoilers! Okay, so this one's a bit debateable. It has to be the second Portal simply because of Wheatley. Do you have any idea how cool it is to have a robot talking to you and asking you to do certain things and when you actually do those certain things he responds acordingly? Very fucking cool. Especially as akid. Until your adorable child's face goes from joy to pure horror as he watches Glad0s crush Wheatley like a grape. (I forgot about that part...) If you don't want to answer to "NOOOO!! IS HE DEAD? DADDY IS HE DEAD? IS MY ROBOT FRIEND DEAD?!" Then I suggest you learn how to speed-run this game as fast as bloody possible to where you find him again. DO NOT quit the game until you find him again.