I recently wrote an article about playing Turtles in Time with my son. It was fun to watch my 4 year old navigate the screen, fighting foot soldiers with his tongue hanging out half the time as he concentrated. It got me thinking: What game types would be best for teach a kid how to game?
One of the oldest types of games, side-scrolling games can be relatively simple (some are complex and infuriating – Battletoads). Generally there are two directions to go, left or right. In most of these games you’re either fighting a group of bad guys or solving some form of puzzle.
Side-scrolling games are also generally filled with a lot of action which can keep a young gamer’s attention easily. This game type is great for teaching young gamers the basics of video games because you often need to learn how to:
- Monitor your health and use your items wisely.
- Learn button combos or tactics.
- Problem-solving when it comes to puzzles or bosses.
Tower defense games
Tower defense games are a sub-genre of real-time strategy games. The premise is usually much simpler. Defend your spot. The most popular, recent tower defense game is likely Plants vs. Zombies. You defend your home (and brains) from a horde of omnivorous zombies who not only like to eat your brains but understand the benefits of their vegetables as well. No, it’s not graphic, and it’s actually quite tame. It’s safe.
These are great games for your young gamer to play because the pace is generally controlled, and there is usually a strategy to discover and execute. Young gamers can benefit from these gaming lessons:
- Resource management. You may not have an endless supply to build your defenses (or offenses).
- Utilizing different strategies or combinations of resources to accomplish your goal.
- Enemy recognition. Not every enemy may be built the same so understanding their weaknesses and how to exploit them is key.
Brain exercise games
There are a ton of these games out there, and if your child is really young then places like Disney Junior are great for learning video games. If your child is going online to play these video games, please play with them. Never leave your child unattended on the Internet. There are other platforms or places to play these types of games, but the Disney Junior environment is well-controlled.
Games with puzzles, memory, matching, coloring and the list goes on, do exist. They can also be very healthy for your child to play. I won’t cover individual benefits on what these types of games can bring because they typically do have the same benefits of the aforementioned “offline” activities. What they do, however, that “offline” activities don’t is build hand-eye coordination with point and click activities.
Video games are what we make them. If our child is interested in video games, we can control how much they play and guide them to become the type of gamer we would want them to be. If you’re a gamer already, you already know the struggles you’ve experienced, and if you’ve played a lot of online games then you must know what kind of people are out there. It’s best to start fostering positive gamer habits early, and I hope that these 3 game types are a great first step. Also, don’t be afraid to sit down and play with your child.
Do you have other suggestions on game types for young gamers?
Image source: Giant Bomb