Editorials and Features
Article by: MrCHUPON
RANT: Kiddy Games are Bad.... Right? [Written 2003-12-22]
I was born in 1981. That makes me an adult now.
It's not ok for me to play Kirby anymore because he's kiddy. He's a big pink puffy marshmallow with tiny pudgy little arms and he just sucks air.
It's not ok for me to play Mario games, because he jumps on turtles and his games have no blood in them.
It's not ok for me to buy a Nintendo Gamecube, because one of its colors is purple (indigo, to satisfy Nintendo representatives...) and it has a purse-like handle on the back.
It's not alright for me to do any of the above things, because I'm an adult. I should be looking to spend $300 on a Playstation 2, an XBox, or upgrading my PC's videocard or CPU instead.
After all, they're the "mature" gaming solutions, correct?
It's a sad state of affairs in electronic leisure when people tell you you're too old to enjoy something. Not just that, but you're more or less ridiculed because you prefer to enjoy a particular thing. In this case, family friendly games. Now, I wholeheartedly agree that yes, family games are not for everyone, and neither are violent or "suggestive" games. Someone may just be turned off at the prospect of controlling a pink marshmallow that sucks in air.
But I believe that maintaining this "kiddy" status, if you will, in videogaming, is important. Not only for the young gamers, but for people who feel as I do -- who sometimes play games to kick back, relax, escape "reality" and just have a good time. Someone who wants to get away, for a few minutes, from the tragedies that befell our nation on September 11th (rest in peace, all those who have passed), away from the real world crises of crime, poverty and injustice.
Of course, it's never good to be in denial, or to ignore issues that need our attention, to push them down and disregard their existence. Definitely not. But we all need a break from the things in life that are perpetual. We need a break from thinking about death, taxes, and the Lakers (curse them, I say, curse them), even if only a short one. This is why, when they have the time, people head down to the park to shoot some hoops, pull a sick ollie, or just sit on a bench and enjoy the sunset. This is why people read fantastic, surreal novels, not just Tom Clancy. This is why old fogeys sometimes pull out their Ataris, Colecos and Commodore64's, to relive what they enjoyed in the past. Nostalgia. For such people, this is the ultimate break when gaming is concerned -- remembering. And this is why some people play games.
To take a break.
And this is where I stand now. "Mature" games are great fun. Some are downright cool. I liked Metal Gear Solid. I love First Person Shooters. They relieve stress pretty well (gee, I wonder why). Nothing is wrong with mature games. That being said, I believe there's nothing wrong with "kiddy" games either. When I'm done enjoying getting nailed by a railgun in Quake, or jumping in on terrorists in Counterstrike or MGS, sometimes I need to sit back and remember what being young was like. (I can hear the late-20somethings, 30somethings, and 40somethings saying, "You have NO idea." I know, I know... and that scares me.) The time of being like, 10, having sleepovers with all the guys who could beat Ninja Gaiden, arguing over which way to go in Zelda II to get the hammer from death mountain.
When I didn't have to worry (yet) about watching my stock plummet, or filing a tax return, or keeping a job, or ironing my mail in case there's an anthrax spore or two waiting to surprise me for my birthday, or praying that the state of New York doesn't go California on us and elect Tom Cruise or something for governer, or blah blah blah and freaking blah. To escape back to the age of innocence, if you will, can be a wonderful thing. And "kiddy" games help me do that, sometimes relieving stress better than shooting down a Skaarj in Unreal would.
I'm not saying I want to be a kid again. I don't want to be a Toys'R'Us kid. I don't want to play with Transformers or dinosaur toys. I don't want to watch Darkwing Duck every day after school. No. But I want do want to remember how things were not complicated. How things were simple and fun (for the most part, anyway). No look-up, look-down, strafe left, sneak behind wall, select weapon, eat ration. Just turn on and play, and at the same time reminding myself that life is not all stress and work, if only for a few minutes before I have to go do one of those "complicated" things college kids have to do. Because life is not necessarily all stress and work. But *almost* all of it can be, and for some of us, unfortunately it is. To have games that help us relax and escape, reminisce and dream, with perhaps bright colors, cutesy characters, and simple objectives, to have these "happy" games, is a good thing.
There's grim, bloody fun. And then there's cheery, relaxing, happy fun. We all probably need a little of both throughout our lives. Are you secure enough about your own maturity that you can enjoy Ape Escape once in awhile?
Don't downplay the kiddy stuff. Some day it might help you.
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