I'm constantly searching for games that both Jack and I can play together, and he can play on his own. One of my goals as an upcoming games programmer is creating good games for kids.
It's very frustrating for Jack when he can't play a game, especially when my over experienced fingers make it look so easy. He likes so many games but can play so few, we usually wind up with him sitting on my lap watching and instructing while I play the game.
Video games for under 6's are awful. Unfortunately while there is a huge market for them, the games available are just no good. This results in the games not selling and no one investing any time in creating better ones. They're mostly being made by people who have long since forgotten the kinds of things the typical 4 year old wants.
I recently come into possession of an iPhone and whilst looking at the games available for it I came across the Angry Birds free demo.
Angry Birds is everywhere at the minute. Even if you've never seen it, I could show you the game right now and chances are you'd recognize some aspect of it.
Basically you shoot birds like cannonballs out of a giant static slingshot at destructible objects. The more efficiently you destroy the structures the higher score you get. There is a little story to it but it's really not worth going into.
Now, I already had many preconceptions about the game mostly from my lecturers at University. They all despise the game. I was told that its was a rubbish game that's only successful because of marketing and other corporate conspiracies. Basically, people love it, Games Industry hates it...
I downloaded the game really just to see what all the fuss was about.
I honestly don't understand all the negativity. The game is very therapeutic. It's well written, well designed and isn't half addictive. I think the 'Games Industry' are just mad because it once again proves that the silly and simple ideas will always win over the ridiculously complicated and high budgeted. Whilst playing through the demo all I could think was that Jack would adore this game.
Jack loves it. It's great because we can play it together and he can play it by himself. He's more than once snatched my phone up, unlocked it, loaded up Angry Birds and selected a specific level out of 30+. When he concentrates he's actually a really good shot. He quite often will complete a level that I've been struggling with in only one shot. Currently it's his number one request and what's better is that since it's on my phone we can play it anywhere and everywhere.
If you have a compatible phone, iPhone or Android, I definitely recommend this game. Particularly if you have a 4 year old. I've bought all three releases and we're steadily working our way through them.