1. The educational kind – teaching letters, numbers or basics like colors and shapes.
2. The mindless entertainment kind – move, jump, score, win or lose.
But Double Fine’s upcoming Once Upon a Monster game for the Xbox Kinect is taking the kid’s game genre to a new level of emotional and social education and apparently adorable-ness.
MTV previewed the game at the ultra big deal E3 – the convention about all things gaming – and even though the game is for a far younger demographic than MTV’s audience, they were both charmed and impressed by the new game calling it “genuinely fun.”
The game has the player take possession of one of six characters – such as Oscar the Grouch, Grover or the Cookie Monster – and the player is immersed into a Sesame Street story line. But what makes this game different is that during the course of the game play you “assist each monster in moving past their problems….it’s all about the environment, dealing with emotions, and physical fitness.”
Toddlers and young children spend a lot of their time navigating an emotional minefield, trying to get a handle on all those pesky feelings. A game that explores this arena rather than more academic basics or just frivolous fun could potentially have a positive effect on the kids playing it, bringing gaming to a more social learning level. It could also perhaps, (and I’m just spit balling here) help children with developmental disorders or autism spectrum issues. But a game that deals on a deeper level than just getting the high score or preschool basics will be a welcome addition to the kid game genre. Will this see a whole new category of games for kids that deal more with emotions and the social experience? Or should our kids be learning about all this with REAL life experiences rather than through a video game?
But kids, many of them will be playing games regardless, might as well have them play something with more value. And Best of all, the reviewer thought the game was entertaining not just for the kids but for the parents as well saying, “Just because a game is designed as a family title, it doesn’t mean it has to be played with a kid. Sometimes, it just feels great to remember what it’s like to be one.”