Daddy and Me Gaming
February 8, 2010 1:36 PM   Subscribe

I would like to play video/computer games with my two youngest children who do not read well yet. And I would like to play *with* them, not watch/help them play. (details inside)

So I need leads and ideas for electronic games that would:
Be fun for a six year-old and a forty-something,
Not require much reading to play, and
Use subject matter appropriate for (maybe slightly precocious) children.
Use cooperation instead of competition so we can work together to do something, OR, even better,
Use handicapping or some other way to level the playing field between my level of skill and theirs. (They lose interest if daddy always wins and I feel dumb trying to pretend I'm trying so they don't know I'm letting them win.)

Education is not a priority. My kids can smell (and turn their nose up at) an educational "game" a mile away. Nope, this is just for hanging out time.
posted by cross_impact to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total)
The LEGO games (LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones in particular) are generally cited as being pretty good for this sort of thing.
posted by fearthehat at 1:37 PM on February 8, 2010

the Wii was created specifically to cater to this request.

i know a gal who wins every single time with wii bowling...right up until her 6 year old grabs the controller...
posted by nadawi at 1:38 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This 33 year old uncle has had fun with his not quite 5 year old nephew with the Super Mario Bros. Wii. The game is played co-operatively and there is very little penalty for "messing up" as the game respawns you when you die and you essentially get unlimited number of lives. He wasn't frustrated at all that he essentially was dying quite a bit. He was having fun moving through the world with me. The graphics and backgrounds are mega adorable and cute as well and brought big smiles to both of our faces.

We've also had good luck with him on the Wii Sports games. In the case of bowling, he seems better than any adult.
posted by mmascolino at 1:47 PM on February 8, 2010

My brother-in-law plays various Rock Band / Guitar Hero games with his young children. They all seem pretty into it. There are settings to prevent "failing" so the song continues regardless.
posted by Perplexity at 1:52 PM on February 8, 2010

Wii Sports resort - and plain old Wii Sports are both great.
posted by zeoslap at 1:53 PM on February 8, 2010

If you want to go a little more old school, 2D beat-em-ups from 1990s were all multi-player co-ops. Final Fight, Streets of Rage, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, the Double Dragon series, the X-Men arcade game, etc.

They are really simple to play, and while even a very young kid can do enough button-smashing to do well, there's also some challenge involved if you want to get through them without using very many credits/quarters. The downside is that the subject matter by definition has to involve beating up people the whole time, and that they can get boringly repetitive after a while.

Most of the more popular ones are available on services like XBox Live Arcade or Gametap, or you can find the roms and run them on an emulator, or just dust off your Super Nintendo if you have one lying around somewhere.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:54 PM on February 8, 2010

Best answer: Orisinal.
posted by shothotbot at 2:00 PM on February 8, 2010

second the lego star wars...theres also lego batman that looks fun...
posted by sexyrobot at 2:01 PM on February 8, 2010

Best answer: Mario Kart: Double Dash for the GameCube (which you can also play on the Wii).

The benefit over this specific version over the others is that you can have two people per vehicle: one drives, one mans the weapons. You can switch at any time, so if your kids have a particularly hard time with some section of a track you can take over and switch back.
posted by mkn at 2:16 PM on February 8, 2010

Little Big Planet can play both co-op and competitive, plus it comes with its own level builder and shareable levels from the net. PS3 or PSPortable only though.
posted by Sparx at 2:20 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

I haven't played it, but on one of the Penny Arcade podcasts Gabe starts going on about how much fun he's having playing Monsters vs. Aliens with his young son. It's available for tons of platforms so it's probably worth it to try and snag a rental.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 2:34 PM on February 8, 2010

Seconding the LEGO games.
posted by ixohoxi at 2:39 PM on February 8, 2010

I wonder if Rock Band would be appropriate? For playing the guitar / drum parts, reading is not required. The child might start off kind of slow, but might quickly beat your pants off.

This will only work if the child has a decent sense of rhythm, though. OTOH, it might really train that sense of rhythm!
posted by amtho at 3:07 PM on February 8, 2010

If you're into RPG, and have multiple computers, then you should try Wizard 101. It's like World of Warcraft for kids. You can set-up accounts for each person and then group up and go on the quests together. The opening world is completely free, and if your kids are like mine, they'll just keep creating new characters every week or so and won't need to go to the pay to play worlds.

Chat is very limited. You can set it up so that your kids can only see and respond in preset phrases. And the fight area is cartoonish and not at all gruesome.

For Wii I'd recommend all the Legos (Star wars, Batman, Indy) and Mario Kart as our favorites. Can't wait for Lego Harry Potter!
posted by saffry at 4:06 PM on February 8, 2010

I came in to mention the Lego games and Little Big Planet, but I'm too slow. So consider those seconded or thirded or otherwise booyahhed.
posted by rokusan at 4:15 PM on February 8, 2010

Best answer: For Wii:

Wii Sports
Wii Sports Resort
Boom Blox: Bash Party
Mario Kart Wii
WarioWare: Smooth Moves (out of print, but available on eBay)
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (the current favorite)

For PS3:
LittleBigPlanet (beautiful game, wonderful levels, especially the user-created ones. However, it's a lot more frustrating than New Super Mario Bros.)
Fat Princess (from what I've heard)
posted by smersh at 11:12 PM on February 8, 2010

One thing about the Lego Wii games: if your six-year-old is the sensitive type, they might be a bit much. My seven-year-old, who hates tension, loves Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones, but they're a teeny bit too scary for him and we can't play for very long. My three-year-old had nightmares after watching the game. (Note: I think most six-year-olds would be fine with them.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:55 PM on February 9, 2010

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