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"The Way My Kid Plays Video Games Pisses Me Off"


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An exceptional capacity for unstructured play is a common characteristic of groundbreaking games and a constant theme of people’s “amazing game moments” reminiscences on here so I’m surprised that people are finding this so surprising in children.

 

Mario 64’s castle

Gaming Halo’s AI and blasting tanks where they don’t belong

Half-Life 2’s physics

Half-Life Alyx’s physics

Alien Isolation’s Alien

MGSV’s everything

Minecraft

Resi 4

BotW

The MGS1 demo

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The popular games seem to be all incredibly open ended sandboxes where you make your own fun. This probably doesn't resonate with us as we didn't really have those sorts of game when we were young as the technology wasn't up to it.

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I don't think my kid can really tell the difference in quality between Dino Digger on iOS, which is a dumb baby game, and Astro's Playroom. He enjoys them both equally.

 

So long as he's not developing an addiction to FUT packs which leads to us both sat on the sofa, looking glum with the game in the background, in a Daily Heil article, I don't really care.

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3 hours ago, Harsin said:

Even if you have issues with the ethics of the arcade model, I'd argue there's still a gulf of difference (even taking into account inflation) between the amount kids tended to spend in them and this:

 

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Unfortunately even Nintendo are in on the virtual currency racket.

 

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We've gone off topic a bit and I've contributed to that. There's two separate things being discussed here:

 

1. Policing exposing your kids content that you believe is ethically/morally wrong.

 

I don't think anyone has a problem with this.

 

2. Parents who get pissed off because they don't think their children are enjoying the right things in the right way at the right difficulty (usually why don't you like exactly what I did at your age).

 

The latter was the original topic of the thread.

My daughter has bought a ton of stuff on Toca world and absolutely gets value from it. All virtual item systems are not the same (why does this even need to be said?) 

 

The idea that somehow getting a Tom & Jerry happy meal toy or a shitty cheap Transformer spin off gacha today for a fiver from the toy shop that will be dashed in the bin after sitting in a toy box for 5 years has more inherent value than virtual items is ludicrous. “Oh it’s a moral issue” LOL. Yes it’s morally wrong that a kid pays for a virtual cape for his virtual avatar using virtual bucks he bought with real money give me a fucking break here, is this 2021 or 2002?
 

Just wait until free to play becomes play to earn and your grandkids are routinely earning their pocket money from games. Even more stick shaking I imagine.

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52 minutes ago, K said:

It's morally degenerate to play games for free. Kids should play games that cost £2.99, they should buy them on tapes from Woolworths, and they should be fucking awful for the most part.


I do wonder how much the games I played conditioned my young brain into expecting failure in life. I never saw the end of anything in an entire decade. First thing I ever remember finishing was Batman (the movie) on the ZX spectrum. Everything was impossible.

 

Spoiler

I could probably have finished Strider but the last level had a tape loading error so I never got to find out

 

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I don't have kids but I routinely play games "wrong" if I find it entertaining. 

 

My friend and I have spent an inordinate amount of time on various games throwing ourselves off things and lolling at the ragdoll effects, or comical replays in skate 2 or 3. I've continued playing a map on factorio for hundreds of hours (literally) after 'finishing' the main part of the game. 

 

If you think it's fun, then it doesn't really matter, same would go for your kids or literally anyone else. 

 

Well maybe not if you're doing a Leeeeroy Jenkins if you're playing multiplayer with others that want to play it properly. 

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I do find it a bit weird that Roblox is held up as this example of everything that's wrong with gaming - microtransactions! Inappropriate content! Dodgy business practices! It's aimed at kids! It's a platform. It's closer to Youtube than most conventional games, i.e. there are potential dangers and it's not immune to criticism, but it's not some unique horror. It's just a risk you have to manage, like any number of other potential harms that can come to your children, like a playground or a fairground or an amusement arcade. No doubt there are some dodgy people in there and you have to be careful with giving your kids money, but they can have a lot of fun with their friends there too. My friend's daughter showed me this ripoff of Among Us she was playing with her friends, where someone spawns as Peppa Pig, and the others have to hunt them down and kill them (while the Peppa Pig theme tune plays). It was pretty daft, quite violent, and an open and shut case of IP violation, but also quite funny. She was absolutely loving it. The fact that it gives kids an opportunity to use simplified coding language to create their own games is amazing.

 

This all feels a bit like luddism. If you wanted to deliberately misunderstand something to create a moral panic, you may as well launch yourself at Minecraft given that it's published by Microsoft (no dodgy business there!), developed by a racist, and has a shop where you can buy all kinds of pointless virtual tat for real money.

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28 minutes ago, sir stiff_one said:

Just wait until free to play becomes play to earn and your grandkids are routinely earning their pocket money from games. Even more stick shaking I imagine.

 

Videogames as a make work scheme in a decaying end-state capitalist hell scape sounds pretty grim if I'm being honest.

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I think Roblox is singled out compared to Minecraft etc because 100% of the paid content on a billion-dollar game platform is child labour paid for in Roblox vouchers.
 

Microsoft don’t take and resell your kid’s Harry Potter castle to all the other kids in exchange for a One Direction skin.

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27 minutes ago, matt0 said:

 

Videogames as a make work scheme in a decaying end-state capitalist hell scape sounds pretty grim if I'm being honest.

Yes, thank you matt0 I have filled my fucking card 

 

BINGO!

 

If I told you in grotty 1980s Shagwell or wherever the fuck you want, that you could get money for sweets as a kid for levelling up characters in an RPG you’d probably not believe it. 
 

But thanks for the perfect perfect Rllmuk doombrain doommongering post about “capitalist hellscape”. All we need need now is for Stu to swoop in crying because someone mentioned his (not his but any, but he thought it was about his) gas guzzling SUV and we’ve hit peak Rllmuk wailing. Just 16-20 middle aged guys in a large room, arms spread out, mouths open and a constant disapproving earsplitting drone that gets louder and more high pitched every time buzzwords are flashed onto a screen by the mysterious puppet master. 
 

 

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My kids love Pokemon (the iPhone one whatever it’s called) Mario Kart Wii and How to train your dragon Wii. In fact the probably consider it the greatest game ever. I never watch them or take part unless they want me to, I had to unlock most of the Mario Kart stuff for them because they spent all their time knocking each other off tracks. That seems the best way for me, they get the most fun out of creating dragons or collecting a billion pikachus or whatever and it’s their fun not mine.

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12 minutes ago, sir stiff_one said:

Yes, thank you matt0 I have filled my fucking card 

 

BINGO!

 

If I told you in grotty 1980s Shagwell or wherever the fuck you want, that you could get money for sweets as a kid for levelling up characters in an RPG you’d probably not believe it. 
 

But thanks for the perfect perfect Rllmuk doombrain doommongering post about “capitalist hellscape”. All we need need now is for Stu to swoop in crying because someone mentioned his (not his but any, but he thought it was about his) gas guzzling SUV and we’ve hit peak Rllmuk wailing. Just 16-20 middle aged guys in a large room, arms spread out, mouths open and a constant disapproving earsplitting drone that gets louder and more high pitched every time buzzwords are flashed onto a screen by the mysterious puppet master. 
 

 

 

 

I don't believe it now either! :lol:

 

I'm sure someone, somewhere will be able to cobble together an in-game skinner box based economy where it looks like you're earning pocket money that's clawed back through another mechanic though. That's not a huge leap of the imagination for me.

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Whenever stuff this comes up I just remember back to enthusing to my kids about the OG clash of the titans being on telly one Christmas around 1999 . I told them it was an epic tale and they would love it 
 

And then about 30 mins after it started I looked at them and saw them staring back at me, I looked into their eyes, sharing the moment , sharing the bond only a father and his children have . At that moment I saw in to their very souls. And I could sense their innermost thoughts …

 

“ are you taking the fucking piss, dad?”

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5 minutes ago, matt0 said:

I'm sure someone, somewhere will be able to cobble together an in-game skinner box based economy where it looks like you're earning pocket money that's clawed back through another mechanic though. That's not a huge leap of the imagination for me.

 

Pretty sure there are already games where people make a living playing them and selling the results of their grinding to others. My crypto-obsessed friend thinks they're a revelation.

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The family went to Drayton Manor last weekend because my 3 year old loves Thomas the Tank Engine. We stayed overnight in a Thomas themed room and had 2 days at the park. It wasn't cheap but it was our one thing we've done this summer due to the world going to shit. 

 

When we were there, the kid didn't want to do anything Thomas themed. He didn't want to do on any rides. He didn't even want to go on THE Thomas Train which wasn't even a ride. It was just a train. The train he loves.

 

He just wanted to go to the Zoo, play on the slides, and have us lose money on the games for prizes. It was incredibly frustrating that he was doing Thomasland WRONG and we'd pissed our money away as he did stuff he could have done elsewhere. 

 

Anyway, we got back and he keeps saying how much he loved it there and he wants to go back.

 

So who fucking knows with kids, eh?

 

 

To be more on topic, I want to be as hands off as possible with getting them playing games. But I want them to enjoy them as much as I do. 

 

I've only just got him playing some 3DS Lego games and he doesn't quite grasp it yet. I basically unlocked a lot of the game's characters (just unlock them anyway, TT. You bastards!) and he messes about in the first level doing the special moves. Between that and some cheap GBA looking emulator thing, I just want him to get the hang of buttons make the character move, and ideally not worry about moving a camera too. They can pick up swiping at a screen in no time but the leap of being able to play a "proper" game on a "proper" controller is quite large.  

 

But I'm sticking to handheld and leaving him to it unless he asks for help. I know he's only three (and a half) but I can already feel the frustration when I suggest he perhaps, maybe, consider progressing with the game. 

 

Lego games can be the worst. Some better than others. I already know I might be a problem because I don't have the temperament for co-op. As I've played a couple of games with my wife in the past and, she wasn't even doing it wrong, it was just frustrating suggesting to do the thing. NO THE THING! THE THING RIGHT THERE!!! 

 

 

Also, I'm all for just letting them have fun rather than be challenged. My Dad used to complain when I'd use cheats in game. Even the ones that were just for fun. "You're only cheating yourself" ...well, you're only wasting money because I can't progress in this game you bought for me coz it's too hard. 

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When I was a kid my first proper game was Tomb Raider and I played it with the cheats on and studiously followed a walkthrough from beginning to end. My friends did the same thing. One of them played the entirety of Turok 2 with invincibility on. It seems totally bizarre now. I think I was just crap at the game and somehow afraid of being challenged. 

 

Nowadays I get annoyed at streamers who play games "wrong" - constantly trying to do Optimal Speedrun Strats instead of just enjoying themselves, or constantly undermining a game's serious tone by doing silly things and trying to break it, that kind of thing. But it's silly to get hung up on it. Everyone's different.

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I'd have been all over Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft if they were around when I was a kid. What a glorious time it must be right now for little gamers.  Instead I had to sit alone in my grotty 80s council house bedroom kidding myself that I was having a great time playing Double Dragon on the Amstrad, because I'd waited ten minutes for it to load. As long as they're not racking up secret hundred pound credit card bills on virtual tat, who gives a fuck? Let them enjoy themselves, lucky little bastards.

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1 hour ago, Nathan Wind said:

I'd have been all over Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft if they were around when I was a kid. What a glorious time it must be right now for little gamers.  Instead I had to sit alone in my grotty 80s council house bedroom kidding myself that I was having a great time playing Double Dragon on the Amstrad, because I'd waited ten minutes for it to load. As long as they're not racking up secret hundred pound credit card bills on virtual tat, who gives a fuck? Let them enjoy themselves, lucky little bastards.

Honestly, gaming is SO GOOD for kids rn.

 

I am so happy for them. 
 

Who remembers old Marvel live action films? Dogshit. These days, Disney+ at the touch of a button and every new big budget Marvel movie. It’s incredible and only getting better.

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Yeah I just read that aticle.  That guy needs to chill the fuck out and stop projecting. Kids need to play, and for that matter, so do adults or they risk ending up like that author.  We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old...etc etc

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When I reflect on my own childhood, I really didn't get into videogames properly till I was a teenager. It wasn't till I got a SNES and was more around the age of 13 or 14 that I'd "properly" play games. The Arcade was the king before then, as everything there was designed for short bursts of attention. 

 

It feels a bit like the kid in the article is just way, way too young to be dedicating the attention to more complex games.... and exactly why just having fun in some digital playground would be so much more appealing. 

 

I say this as someone who is not a parent and doesn't have much of a clue about the matter. 

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My son (4) plays a game for a few minutes before ROM/ISO surfing over to another. It's like Netflix. I don't think it's doing his attention or capacity for appreciation any favours. I've tried starting a Wind Waker run with him but he loses interest fast. The only time this doesn't happen is when he's playing SNK vs. Capcom on the NGPC - that game captivates him.

 

He only gets a couple of hours of screen time a day, so I think he tries to frantically fit as much stuff into that as possible.

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The Escapist really is a haven for genuine wankers. The whole tone of that article is so irritating.

 

My kids don't really play games with me much anymore, and seem to generally think that if I like something it means that thing is shite, which I think is natural. When they were younger I was kind of in charge of what they played, and I guess they did play a lot of games I like because they were always around. But as they've gotten older they've developed their own tastes which I think is probably pretty normal.

 

My youngest doesn't really like games much, though I guess my view of that is probably weird because I like them so much. He plays stuff socially, Fortnite or Roblox or Minecraft, whatever is popular with his friends, and occasionally plays things with me and my partner, where we usually default to whatever she likes because she's a bit picky. My older one likes playing competitive games and beating people, but we're way past the stage where I can offer any sort of challenge to him.

 

I figure it's always like that with stuff your parents like though? I remember working at the comic shop with someone who thought comics were stupid. He laughed at us for enjoying them, so eventually I asked him why he worked there. He said his Dad was friends with the manager, and eventually I found out that one of the friendly old dudes who I used to talk to about Spider-Man was his Dad. Dude had a picture of him and his Dad meeting Stan Lee that he thought was super embarassing.

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8 hours ago, Danster said:

Oh daughter you just don't appreciate the finer things in life! Put down that comic and read some Dumas, stop watching those nonsense cartoons we have some Ken Loach you've not seen yet.

 

Just let your kids play what they enjoy playing.

 

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My youngest is 10 and not that interested in games. When she does play it's mostly on tablets/phones and she doesn't really 'get' using a dedicated controller, much prefers touch screen controls. She does however love a bit of Gitaroo Man (who doesn't?) so I'm happy when we spend time together playing that.

 

The older ones flirted with games as they grew up but it never really stuck with them in the way that other media did (primarily books and films). I certainly never felt obliged to push them towards gaming as a hobby. It's been a big part of my life but that doesn't mean it has to be the same for them.

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I’m finding the talk in this topic about all you parents’ kids not liking anything you like a little depressing. My dad was enormously influential in the development of my taste in media - not games because that wasn’t really his bag, but certainly books, music, TV, film. 
 

Tickled me that someone mentioned that at least the boomers didn’t force Just William on their kids, because my dad did indeed read us Just William and it was fucking brilliant because Just William is fucking brilliant. 

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