It's school holidays right now, which means my proximity to little brats (read: children) has increased substantially beyond what I would normally endure. That said, there are good kids every now and again, and one such soul happened to sit in our office for a small period.
That kid was the incredibly well behaved son of Haoran, resident developer and contributor for Kotaku on all things board gaming. He had a great day, it seems like: played Into the Breach, one of the old Ultima games, and a chunk of Portal.
Haoran made a quip on the day: if his little one wasn't at school, he was still going to get an education. Just in video games.
Which begs the question: what games would be considered worthy "education" for someone growing up with video games today?
- DOOM: Not the reboot, but with the original open-source and available via a range of means, it's a good quick tutelage in the history of first-person shooters. And sure, there will be arguments about whether kids should be playing DOOM, but I'd rather they be playing that than GTA 5. Which they will end up playing anyway.
- Pokemon: I'd go with one of the original ones here, although something from the third or fourth generation would work fine too. Pokemon is, in a lot of ways, Baby's First RPG. It's a great gateway drug to those longer kinds of games, introduction to side quests and long narrative arcs and the concept of training a character over a long period of time. Good allegory for life, really.
- Carmen Sandiego: There's some good tablet/phone versions of Carmen Sandiego these days. The series doesn't have as much oomph when you don't have to pull out an atlas from a drawer somewhere, but it's still handy as a fun, basic introduction to geography and simple elements of different countries.
- Portal: It's funny, which most games aren't, and the basic puzzle elements are a good way to induce some critical thinking.
- Breath of the Wild: I've seen a mate's five year old toy with Ganon for fun. Kids love massive sandboxes that they can play it - see Roblox and Minecraft - and Breath of the Wild offers that on a huge scale.
What games do you think should form part of a kid's "gaming education"?