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"It's made for kids"

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"And yes, okay, I can envision all of you are at home right now thinking about typing 'Oh YeS bUt CaDdY yOu DeLiBeRaTeLy PiCkEd OuT a GaMe ThAt'S cLeArLy DeSiGnEd FoR cHiLdReN sO wHy ArE yOu EvEn CoMpLaInInG?' Yes, well, you know what? That's no excuse at all! There still needs to be some sort of quality control with these things! I mean yes, kids may be very easy to entertain, but they are not stupid, and this is just insulting!"
Caddicarus, in his review for Dalmatians 3


"It's made for kids" is an excuse often used to dismiss criticism of entertainment made for younger audiences.

This article will focus on the matter regarding video games, but there are also articles on this topic on the Terrible Shows & Episodes, Dreadful Literature, and Awful Movies wikis.

Background

It is well known that kids are easier to entertain by simple things that grownups may find stupid or boring at first. Likewise, kids are less likely to have fully developed motor skills and reflexes that would be required to play highly complicated mature games (like Call of Duty). Because of that, video games targeted at younger audiences tend to be easier and simpler than games targeted at older players, but that doesn't mean that games aimed at kids should be too simplistic and basic.

Often when people criticize kids' games for poor quality, short length, being overly simplistic, or anything else they don't like, some might say "It's made for kids" as an excuse for doing so. While it is understandable that kids may have a hard time with complex games that adults may like, saying that it's made for kids shouldn't be a good enough excuse for making low-quality, effortless, and excessively easy games that grown-ups will find boring. This excuse also makes kids look like idiots with no real taste who will like anything aimed at them, which isn't actually true. Kids are actually smarter than they're given credit for.

On the other hand, there are some older people (mostly dudebros) who dismiss games targeted at young audiences as "kiddie games" and often say things like, "Those games are for kids, they're too easy and boring." Just because a game has a younger target audience doesn't mean that older people aren't allowed to play them or won't find challenge and substance in them. If the game is made well enough, anyone of any age can enjoy.

A good game meant for kids should be simple enough that kids can pick up play it with little trouble, yet have enough content and substance that older players will find interesting and fun to play so that when grown-up gamers go back and revisit the games they've played in their childhood and they can still have a good time.

Even if a game is aimed at kids the adults may also be interested in it (for example, the ESRB rating E stands for Everyone, not just kids). There are many games aimed at younger audiences that can also be enjoyed by adults, such as Super Mario, Minecraft, Sonic the Hedgehog, Pokémon, Cookie Run, Ratchet & Clank, The Legend of Zelda, Kirby, ARMS, etc.; those games are accessible and easy to understand, but also respect player intelligence and don't pander towards kids.

There is no excuse for making a poorly made game for everyone.

Why This Excuse Sucks

  1. This is just a way for critics and parents to dismiss criticism towards people who criticize terrible games "that were made for kids". By dismissing criticism, the quality of these types of games may never improve.
  2. By pointing out the flaws in kids' games, can leave improvement and ensure that more games for kids can be made to be enjoyed by grownups as well.
  3. This whole excuse makes kids look like idiots with no real taste who will like anything aimed at them, which isn't actually true. Kids are actually smarter than they're given credit for.
    • It should be noted that contrary to popular belief, actually even kids would very likely not enjoy these poorly-made kids' games, hence highlighting this fact further.
  4. The only thing this excuse encourages kids to do is to stoop to a low level, always ignore the parents and not listen.

How to make a good game for both kids and adults

  1. Gameplay that is easy to pick up so it can be accessible for everyone but challenging to master (such as platformer genre games).
  2. Level design with substance but not too much complexity that the player would get lost.
  3. A pleasing colorful art style and character design that is easy on the eye but neither too "cartoonish" or "simplistic".
    • Anthropomorphic animals and fantasy creatures are usually a good pick for this. Some examples include Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Donkey Kong, Banjo-Kazooie, Jak and Daxter, Kirby, Sly Cooper, Ratchet and Clank, etc.
  4. A plot that isn't too complicated, but nothing too pandering either.
  5. No swearing and/or sexual content and minimal blood. Mild cartoon violence is fine, especially if the characters in the game are non-humans or the violence is used as "slapstick". Crash Bandicoot is an example of this.
    • However, this can be averted if the game is both aimed at kids and adults. Kingdom Hearts is a good example of this. However, in order for that to happen, make sure you don't let your target audience to be uncertain as if your game in question can't tell if it's made for either kids or adults.
  6. Help in case the kids get confused without being too handheld. If a game does have some hand-holding mechanic, it needs to be completely optional so players who don't want help can ignore it. Tutorials can also exist in games as well.
  7. Puzzles can be easy to solve but shouldn't flat out give away the answer without letting the player at least think for a bit.
  8. Educational value, especially in games rated EC, E or 3+. The easiest one to incorporate into a video game is problem-solving.
  9. Have some silly and kiddish humor moments, but also put in the time to insert some serious moments.
  10. Additional content for experienced players, which is not mandatory to complete the main story is always welcome, the most known examples being Super Mario Galaxy or Odyssey.

Examples of good games for everyone

NOTE: Keep in mind that some good kids games could also use the excuse.

  • Angry Birds games
  • Animal Crossing games
  • Banjo-Kazooie games
  • Ben 10: Protector of Earth
  • Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks
  • Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Cosmic Destruction
  • Ben 10 Galactic Racing
  • Ben 10 Omniverse
  • Ben 10 Power Trip
  • Bugs Bunny
  • Bugs Bunny & Taz: Time Busters
  • Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse
  • Club Penguin
  • Codename: Kids Next Door – Operation: V.I.D.E.O.G.A.M.E.
  • Crash Bandicoot games
  • Cuphead
  • Disney Infinity
  • Donkey Kong games
  • Dynamite Headdy
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Earthworm Jim 2
  • Epic Mickey
  • Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  • Kid Icarus games
  • Kingdom Hearts games
  • Kirby games
  • LittleBigPlanet games
  • Looney Tunes: Sheep Raider
  • Mario games (excluding Mario Party: The Top 100, Mario is Missing! or Mario's Time Machine)
  • Mega Man games
  • Minecraft
  • Mother games
  • Monkey Quest
  • Naruto: Ninja Council 3
  • Naruto Shippuden: Naruto vs Sasuke
  • Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl
  • OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes
  • One Piece (GBA)
  • Pac-Man games
  • Plants vs. Zombies games (except for PvZ 3)
  • Pokémon games
  • Puyo Puyo games
  • Rayman games
  • Ristar
  • Ratchet & Clank games
  • Rocket Knight Adventures
  • Rocket League
  • Sly Cooper games
  • The vast majority of Sonic games
  • Splatoon series
  • Starlink: Battle for Atlas
  • Steven Universe: Save the Light
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom
  • Subway Surfers
  • Super Monkey Ball games (except for Adventure, Banana Blitz, and 2010s games)
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido
  • Tetris games
  • The Battle Cats
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy Game
  • The Lion King
  • Touhou Spell Bubble
  • Toy Story 3
  • Traveller's Tales' Lego games
  • WarioWare games
  • Yo-kai Watch games

Examples of bad/average games for everyone with this excuse

Videos

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