What Games Would You Use To Teach Kids About Gaming?

Image: Kotaku

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?

Some thoughts:

  • 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"?


    Star Citizen. This is what happens when you blindly give money to charletans, kids.

      Now, now... I'm sure Star Citizen will be out by the time your kids have grand children of their own. It'll compete at launch week with Call of Duty 42 and Duke Nukem Forever-er.

    Just plonk him down in front of a TV with a SNES mini plugged into it and tell him to work his way through it all.

      I was even gonna go into the NES days before they're even allowed near a SNES. Lot to be learned from basic mario 1-3, duck hunt, probotector, battletoads, zelda 1 and 2, donkey kong, solstice, TMNT, river city ransom, double dragon 2, kirby, bubble bobble, trog, ducktales, talespin, north & south, spy vs spy, bart vs the world/sapce mutants, smash TV, and above all else... Tetris.

      Gotta get some of those big hit titles that were made better on the SNES, for example. (Eg: Smash TV, Battletoads, and kind of Solstice getting turned into... Equinox?) Y'know. Really APPRECIATE those 16 bits.

    I bought my son a 3DS and Ocharina of Time as his first consol and game.

    I also made him play Horizon so he could experience online multiplayer that didn’t involve shooting people in the face.

    New God of War so they can get a feel for the kind of relationship we'll be having.

    Child - "Father, I want to Play Fortni-"

    Me - "Shut up boy, you are not ready"

    Replace throwing Leviathan Axe with Beer Cans.

    Super meat boy.
    Easy to pick up, tight controls, simple mechanics, gradual learning curve.
    Very ‘gamey’ In the best possible way

    I would personally let them try PSVR. The Playroom VR is extremely easy to pick up and play even for non gamers.

    It's school holidays right now
    Uhhh then what the hell have my kids been doing after I drop them at school??

    Any Zelda game
    LEGO Jurrasic Park
    And jokingly - Hearthstone and Overwatch so they can start making money....probably should throw in Fortnite too.

    There are 3 games I want to make every kid play.

    Freelancer: Its an easy into the world of SiFi Space games, with its amazing controls for M&KB. It's also one of the best space games ever, and I kind of wish someone would put out an HD edition already. :(

    Mario: Dose does not matter really witch one, just as long as its Mario. He's iconic and is basically required gaming.

    Civ 5: Turn-based, strategic and multiplayer. A good game to learn patience.

    Wolfenstein 3D. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Farming Simulator 2018 & PC Building Simulator are prefect educational tools for the modern age. Sure, they might not be an exciting action slugfest, but they are something that can actually educate and maybe even spark a future career in those little turds.

    Was gonna say Doom and there it is smack dab first item on the list.
    You've made me proud, Alex.

    I started my son early on an old 486DX4 I have, He's 5 now, but he was around 3.5 years old when he first started gaming properly (as in, being able to kinda do stuff, instead of just running into a wall or standing immobile and firing his gun). Had him playing Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Commander Keen, Math/Word Rescue etc. He now has his own slightly newer PC, which he occasionally uses to play minecraft and some lego games on, as well as Borderlands 2, which he, myself and his mother all play over LAN.

    I always said that the 486 was going to be my first childs first PC, so I hung onto it, was well worth it, watching him play the same games I used to play when I was not much older than him was amazing.

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