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the ideal first game?

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Yes. That's why I specifically described them as the GG games. (And I'm aware that GG Sonic 2 is infamous as the hardest 2D Sonic game, harder even than the MS version [which it's a port of] due to the cropped viewpoint employed)

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Shall we think outside the box? Little boys love toy cars right? What about Forza 3? No really! Turn all the assists on, including that all-important auto-brake... simple for a toddler.

I refer the gentleman to the post where I recommended the Sumo Digital Outrun games. Simple controls, blue skies, brightly coloured cars - BEST!

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It absolutely has to be Flower, surely.

Edit: Actually, yeah, Noby Noby Boy could work too. Controls are a bit arsey, though.

Kids don't really pick up on arty stuff. Be realistic, he's far more likely to enjoy Star Wars games.

Also anyone recommending old (like several generations ago) games is wrong, although your nostalgia is sweet they're fucking hard by todays standards. You want to put him in good stead for the future, have him play something modern. Wii Sports or Club Penguin or something.

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oops. sorry. I did not read properly.

anyway. I'm not sure it matters, really? for a 3 year old.

Maybe if someone was 15 or 20 and had never played games, you'd want to choose something good.

But it seems as though you want him to love them and, you know, share your hobby. which could be seen as a little selfish?

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Kids don't really pick up on arty stuff. Be realistic, he's far more likely to enjoy Star Wars games.

Flower isn't 'arty' though - it's just nice, and much more in tune with the sort of things kids watch or read with their parents at that age. Plus it only involves pushing one button (that is, any button) and waving the joypad around. Much simpler, and something an infant can quickly get his head around. And, crucially, it doesn't really matter if he's doing it wrong, as long he's enjoying flying around.

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I think 3 is slightly too young, to be honest. In practical terms I mean. Might be able to just jump around in a simple platformer I suppose. I started getting into games when I was about 5, had a Game Boy (with Tetris and Super Mario Land), but even simple games are more complex than in those days.

Something like any proper Mario game either 2D or 3D would be perfect, as others have said, just for running around and making things happen with the buttons.

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The Sega Mega Drive Collection might be a good call if you don't have it already. It's got the Sonics in there which are great - even at a young age you can appreciate the nice tunes too. It also has more simply stuff like Flicky which I played a lot when I was ickle.

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Fatal Frame is really good for kids. I left my little brother playing it a few years ago and he's been pretty quiet since.

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My daughter is three, and if my experience is anything to go by, the DS is the system of choice. She loves shite like Planet Rescue (there are several games in the franchise), Catz 2, and any kind of pet game. Nintendogs is another which might be a bit more boy friendly. Also stuff with TV tie ins, again, going by what my nipper likes Peppa Pig and Hello Pocayo are good choices.

As for a game to play with them on your lap? Well, Scribblenauts. Just dicking around on the title screen summoning whatever they think of is amusing. Its good to get them into recognising letters and spelling simple words too.

The flying thing is a hit too. There is a mess about mode on Pilotwings 64 where you cant die. Anything like that without a fail state where its completely obvious what you have to do works. Lack of a fail state is the most important thing I have found though.

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3 isnt' too young, unless you're talking about morally, etc. My little brother used to play some games that came with our first real computer when he was 2-3, one was called 'Max and the Machines' or something, and I can't really remember what you had to do, I think it was probably multiple choice stuff, but it was very simple and he loved it. The other I forget its name but it was all done via the mic - the part I especially remember is having to say 'Hop! Hop! Hop!' to get a little mouse to go across some steppingstones across a stream. By 4 he was busy building SGs and concjumping around 2forts in TF2 on an empty, local server. Thinking about it, I remember playing Funschool (3?) when I was .. well I don't know but I was young. Building brick walls with maths is pretty fun.

My point is that there must be games specifically for young kids, because there used to be. We're just shit and don't know them.

Other than that, Flower, Noby Noby are all good. Katamari too, because it doesn't matter if you lose, you still get to knock over funny looking dogs and stuff. Also, if you have a 360 just get a bunch of demos of rubbish cartoony looking games?

I've just realised what the most salient point is: Any game in which you can run around hassle free on the first level. The rest is irrelevant because he'll probably never get there and never care.

ps. Sorry that's so awfully written, most of it just came to me as I was typing.

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In all honesty, you can't really say what's the perfect game for a small kid. When my sister was 1, she wanted to play the same games I did. She tried playing Sonic and stuff but it didn't work.

Then when she hit 4, she started to just play whatever was around. She fell in love with N64 games like Mario Party and Mario Kart, started trying to get on the Gamecube and in the end got Sonic Heroes.

Now she's 11 and playing loads of JRPGs and finished Paper Mario 2 when she was 7. She got Final Fantasy IV on the DS last year and complained it was too easy.

Just let kids play whatever they want to play and they'll figure it out.

On a side note, my sister was obsessed with trying to watch me playing Resident Evil 4 and my mum didn't really think it was a problem (despite the name and then me showing her) and my sister just went "it doesn't scare me or give me nightmares because I know it's not real". Scary stuff coming out of a 7 year old's mouth.

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I have a three year old daughter and she knows how to play Mario Kart on the Wii but after the first lap she seems to forget she has to steer and press button number 2. She can now play on the Wii Fit board as she's just heavy enough for it to register she's moving/standing on it so we can play Wii Fit games and she does play sports resort (the plane game she can just about manage). She plays Peppa Pig on the DS for hours though - and taking it off her results in a very difficult discussion that usually ends with tears - as I type this she's holding my DS and watching Dora The Explorer - this is a line in the sand that says "I know Dora will end soon and I've booked the DS".

3 years old is a little too young for complex games - we bought her one of these for Xmas http://www.vtechuk.com/products-and-access.../my-laptop-new/ and she can now do her alphabet and count up to 30 because of this - they learn numbers and letters at nursery but this has really helped and it contains games too.

She likes watching me play and will hold her own battery-less 360 controller - she helps spot the bad guys and the meanies. The only thing on a 360 she has ever played on her own is Outrun and she managed to do one stage before the timer reached 0.

3 year olds amaze me as they seem to adapt to technology so easily - my daughter can turn on the TV, our set top box and the AV box in sequence so she can watch it and she knows how a mouse works on a PC, she knows how to switch on a DS and she can now unlock the telephone.

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My 2 boys are four and six, and they've always loved watching me play, and playing themselves. I started them out on Mario Sunshine because it is so free form and easy at the start, just got them used to the controls and concepts of the camera etc, just by mucking about. They love Lego Star Wars on the DS, thats an ace one once they have the basics as there is no real punishment for dying, you just carry on.

They also really like Splosion Man and The Maw on the 360, and Yoshi's Story on the VC.

Our fave thing to do though is all play together. They love watching me play Tomb Raider Anniversary, I'm only allowed to do what they tell me. We also have Zelda nights, where we have either Ocarina or Wind Waker on. They control link in the more open areas, and open all the chests etc, and let me control for fights and tricky moves in the dungeons. But they have to make all the decisions on where to go and how to solve the puzzles. It is an ace experience for all of us, I get to experience the game through them again, and the sense of achievement/amazement/wonder they get from it is brilliant. When we went to the undersea castle in WW and they saw the frozen people and the statue, it was a great moment.

And another one for a slow start is Mario Galaxy. Have him use the second remote to grab star bits and zap and freeze enemies for you, me and my eldest got to 100 stars doing this, we need to get back to that.

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Yep, Galaxy is great for anyone to play. My 4 year old daughter is getting pretty good with the controls now, but just loves wandering around the hub space station. Lego Star Wars (Xbox) is also popular, as is Mario Kart DD & Wii, and Super Mario Sunshine. I've got closer to finally completing SMS because of her than I ever have before, mainly because shes badgering me to "go in the volcano Daddy!".

She also likes Peppa Pig, Disney Princesses and some Fireman game we got for £5 on the DS.

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I take it you've tried some of the games on the CBeebies site? There's some really great stuff on there. My two-year-old loves the Big & Small game where you explore the house. Fantastic Flash work, too.

I've just introduced him to the PS3. I loaded up the demo of Sonic Superstar Racing. He just presses the accellerate trigger, and I did the steering. We crawl around hopelessly slowly, but he loves the fact he's making the car go.

Then I had the bright idea of WipeOut HD. Pilot assist on, weapons off, and choose a track without any fenceless edges. All he has to do is press X, and the ship practically steers itself around the track. The ships look the same as those in (CBeebies show) Kerwizz too. Surprisingly he wasn't as into that as Sega Racing. Oh, well.

But the REAL hit? Eyetoy on PS2. He loves the fact he can see himself on the telly. The actual games are too hard, but there are a couple of the experimental games which are a massive hit. One where your hand movements paint colours across the screen, and shouting loudly clears it to start again. There's also a billiards game where you just hit the white ball with your hand, so he just flails around and watches the balls fly around, with me cheering every time one goes in a pocket.

Not sure what he'll be like at three, but at 2, he doesn't need any kind of goal, he just loves the cause and effect. And it's a right laugh watching him. The Eyetoy kept him going for a solid hour - unheard of with any other activity!

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In my experience little kids get really, disproportionately upset when their character dies in a game. I put Ratchet: Deadlocked on for my fiancée's nephew and niece (3+5) and even though they were just running around a multiplayer arena, they kept falling into the lava moat and seemed disappointed and frustrated by the experience. But then the boy kid started thinking my part of the split screen was his, and that I was the one who kept dying. Which he thought was the case no matter how many times we swapped controllers, or how many impressive moves my character pulled off. He didn't seem to grasp the correlation between pressing controller buttons and the on-screen action, and just ended up thinking that whichever character kept winning, that was him.

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Good thread.

My daughter got her 'Tendo DS' just before she turned 5. She started with games like Peppa Pig, Dora/Diego (loads of them), Smart Girls Playhouse, My Dress Up. All games without much text and simple 'no fail' games. She also likes Peggle, and can manage a few Wii games using the balance board now. The DS is great because she can pretty much do it all herself, whereas with the 360/Wii there is a bit of help required to start her off.

Picked up 'Youre In The Movies' for the 360 this weekend (£5 at Argos if you're quick). Thats gone down a treat.

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Another shout out for Scribblenauts. My 3 year old son loves messing around on the title screen, creating objects and dropping them on top of each other. A great introduction to letters and words, I started him on CAR and CAT but he can now spell JETPACK by himself. It was fantastic watching him crack up with laughter as he spawned loads of TVs and tried stacking them in a tower.

He also enjoys Mario Kart Wii and Lego Batman.

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