I’m not ready to introduce my kids to video games, but I’m pretty sure they’re eventually going to become interested. So I occasionally ponder what games would be good to get little kids started on. It’s not enough that the game itself be “easy”, since beginning players have to get use to the idea of a controller (unless it’s a Kinect game I guess, but you get the point). And of course there are “edutainment” games for little kids, but those don’t really count as video games. So here are a few games that I think would be relatively unstressful for beginning players:
(Actually, first a side comment: figuring out how to introduce new players to the classics is a different issue, which I deal with here.)
Yoshi’s Story has a lot going for it as a beginner’s game:
- It’s relatively easy
- Its storybook-themed graphics are “cute”
- It features adorable baby dinosaurs as its protagonists.
- It’s very forgiving. You clear levels by eating fruit, and fruit also refills your life meter.
- It’s very short. Beating the game only requires going through six levels (although which level can vary based on how much you explore).
- There’s a Trial Mode, where you can play individual levels you have visited in Story Mode.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
This game starts out pretty easy – I was able to verbally walk my younger siblings through rescuing Princess Zelda. And then the overworld opens up, and a beginning player can explore without having to worry about making progress.
Super Mario World
Super Mario World is definitely harder to beat than Yoshi’s Story, but it also has more options of where to go, and it has a lot of easy levels up front. It lets you back into them as well, and saving (after the first world) is fairly straightforward. The Game Boy Advance re-release is even easier.