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1405 posts

Uber Geek

# 253109 26-Jul-2019 11:31
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I ummed and ahhed over whether this belongs in Off Topic or Gaming, and decided to go with Gaming...




My eldest kid is about to turn 5, and I've been wondering about the best way to introduce her to gaming.  We have an old iPhone 4 that she is allowed to play with sometimes, and there are some simple games that she plays on that (a Duplo game, Sarah and Duck - based on the BBC TV show), but since I've started getting back into gaming I've been wondering about the best way to introduce her to "proper" gaming.


I have an Xbox One S, and a Raspberry Pi with RetroPie installed (and some PSOne and Amiga games loaded).  I showed her some of the games on RetroPie e.g. Crash Team Racing, which she liked, but she didn't really understand the controls.  Maybe it will take a while, but she was clearly having difficulty translating the movement on screen to the controller - for instance, she would simply hold down the left d-pad and just crash into a wall, and didn't understand that she has to use both left and right to steer.  I did try to help and explain it to her, and demonstrate it for her, but I could tell that she hadn't quite cottoned on to the concept, so maybe she's a bit too young still.


A week or so later I showed her one of the Lego Star Wars games on the Xbox.  I figured that would be a good place to start, as she could play around in the lobby and get used to the movement of characters with the controller stick.  She had more luck with that, and even enjoyed pulling out the lightsaber and smashing stuff (even cutting into a few of the lobby patrons, and starting a bar brawl!  That's my girl! :)  But the Xbox controller is a bit too big for her small hands, and trying to control movement with the left stick and actions with the buttons is a bit on the clumsy side with an adult-sized controller.  She ended up getting frustrated, and I managed to persuade her to turn off the console and do something else.  We came back later and tried a racing game, but again the steering concept eluded her.


I think there's a few things going on here: one, the controllers are too big for child-sized hand; two, the spatial concept might be a bit tricky for her age; three, she just needs more time to practice and get used to the concept.


Given there's bound to be a few people here who have kids, how did you go about introducing gaming to your kids?  Did you start earlier or later than 5 years old?  What kind of games did you use?  How did you get on with the size of controllers?

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  # 2284063 26-Jul-2019 11:51
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I've got two kids, currently 11 and eight; we didn't have a console until last year, so their experience on a console was limited (library, friends'/families' places). That means most of their gaming experience was limited to iPad and, to a much lesser degree, laptop. The kids' transition to using PS4 controllers was seamless. I'm wondering whether it would help to do the same for your daughter, ie have her get used to playing games on a handheld device (and larger than an iPhone - eg iPad), where there isn't the physical distance (plus angle difference and focusing point) between the controller and screen.


Perhaps also the types of games will make a difference as to her confidence and competence? (The former will come with the latter - and she could easily get put off gaming if she doesn't feel she's succeeding.) I'm thinking of Minecraft or similar, where there's not necessarily time restrictions or ability to easily die.


We also recently bought a SteelSeries Nimbus controller to use with out iPads (they come up a bit on TM - I paid $50 for ours) - I was interested in using it to play PS4 games on the iPad (not that I have done so thus far), but my youngest uses it heaps now for various games on his iPad (Minecraft, Roblox etc). Moving from screen-based controls on an iPad to using a controller with the same device may be an ideal middle ground before transitioning to a full console.


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  # 2284120 26-Jul-2019 12:20
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I had PS3 and PC when my eldest was born, and when she got old enough (around 3) she started taking the controller and bashing the buttons etc for whatever game I was in.  Jut went from there. Turns 12 very soon, and has her own gaming PC (started with a Core 2 Quad box, now has my old PC, G3258 8GB, 760gtx) and games quite a bit, mainly Fortnite and Overwatch.


Shes bought her own mouse pad and keyboard, shes been told if wants anything else, its on her :D


The youngest started on the smartphone, and has only just been given her own laptop which runs Roblox which shes happy with but steals my PC occasionally for The Sims and occasional Overwatch game with her sister.





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Emulation - The art of getting your $4000 PC to run an 80's system - and still fails.


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  # 2284166 26-Jul-2019 12:30
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my son learned to read by playing final fantasy on the PS 1 when he was 5-6 years old , it was the only way he could follow the game without me .

Common sense is not as common as you think.

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  # 2284200 26-Jul-2019 13:39
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I borrowed some replaced lease PC's from work and ran demos from Computer magazines, Duke Nukem 1 and 2, and a huge variety of other games. There were plenty aimed at the little ones too. Also had access to Acorn Archimedes and had my 3 year old son was held up as an example at a workshop I was helping to run. 25 + year old Primary School teachers were saying that computers were beyond them. The course head pointed to my son happily playing a demo of Lemmings on the Archimedes and said, "If that child can do it you teachers surely can" I will never forget that. I only had him with me as he had a cold and was not allowed at the creche. This was in the UK.


He now is into all sorts of games and music and things I don't understand or follow, has a Music degree and has turned out to be a well balanced adult.


We later got into Windows and then consoles, along with his siblings. They turned out well too. I don't think IT is the issue, it is how you present it and ensure it is always treated as a tool. Perhaps this is harder now, as it is much more ubiquitous nowadays.

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Uber Geek


  # 2284254 26-Jul-2019 14:43
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I gave my son a PC, and got him started with minecraft.


Didnt take him long to pickup WADS and become proficient at it.


He was about 4 at the time.



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Ultimate Geek

  # 2284277 26-Jul-2019 15:23
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We only do Lego and Minecraft on Xbox can pick up Lego games quite cheap after awhile, crash bandicoot is great to

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Ultimate Geek

  # 2284296 26-Jul-2019 15:45
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Two kids here, eldest 6 boy, youngest 4 girl. The boy started playing around with a minecraft clone on my PC. Then my daughter wanted to join in as well, so she went on my wife's PC playing with him. They had no real problem picking up the controls for movement etc.


We recently set up our old Wii console and they have been having fun with Wii Fit and Sports. I have also cobbled together a PC from old parts so I can claim my one back. Tried Euro Truck simulator on that but the controls are a bit tricky for the kids, it is hard enough for us adults. We set it up in the lounge so I can keep an eye on them while they play and I prepare dinner etc. A bunch of kids at the boy's school play Fortnite but we are trying to shield him from that one for now.


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Ultimate Geek

  # 2284303 26-Jul-2019 15:55
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I finally got fed up being asked for a “turn” and me saying “go buy your own” is easier said then done for a 6 year old.

I had reservations about my daughter wanting to delve into gaming as she hasn’t taken to anything I was interested in as a kid, that could be because she is really girly like her mother, however I put her onto some Ratchet & Clank and now Sonic she loves it.

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Uber Geek

  # 2284304 26-Jul-2019 15:55
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Thanks for all the replies.  It's interesting to hear others' experience.


I reflected on my own first experience with gaming (an Orbit console brought over from the UK by my grandmother xmas '84, I think).  I was about 7 years old, and the analogue stick controls were very simple - think Pong simple.  I played on a friends Atari 2600, then later a friend's C64, and then my own Amiga 500.  I don't remember every struggling with the spatial elements, but then I was a few years older than my daughter is.


It's interesting how things change, though.  I watched my daughter playing with the Xbox controller, and she intuitively moved the controller as if it were a motion-based controller, a bit like a steering wheel.  As far as I know, she's never used a motion-based control system, and I don't think she's seen one before.  Even when I game on my phone, it's not using motion controls.  I had to explain that it didn't matter how much she tilted the controller, the character wasn't going to move in that direction...


The suggestions about Minecraft are intriguing.  I've never played Minecraft, but I like the idea of a PC gaming experience.  That's my personal favourite - I've been console gaming for the past few years mostly because I can't afford "proper" PC gaming (either the hardware, or the time commitment), and I can just dip into or out of a quick game on the Xbox.  But the idea of a mouse/keyboard combo is my personal preference.  I might install Minecraft and have a play in the evenings before showing it to her.  

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  # 2284346 26-Jul-2019 17:39
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We were much more draconian when we introduced our PS2 to the household. The kids were 10-12 and we sat them down with a contract that laid out the times when the console was allowed to be used, what type of games, etc. An early introduction to contract law as well as everyone knowing what was acceptable (I did say it was draconian). Even to the point where, we the parents, paid for 55% of the console and controllers and the kids stumped up the rest so we had the controlling interest.
Initially it was, not on a school night and for a limited time in the weekend.
We had other parents say they wish they had started with those sort of ground rules as their children's use had become excessive, in particular affecting their school work. Others thought we were using a form of child abuse.
Bearing in mind those kids are all in their twenties now, they don't appear to have been mentally scarred by our rules.

Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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Master Geek


  # 2287304 1-Aug-2019 17:22
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The first game I played was Minecraft, on a MacBook Pro back in 2012. Very easy-to-learn & universal controls (WASD). Still play it every so often but now prefer FPS like Battlefield.

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Uber Geek


  # 2287306 1-Aug-2019 17:28
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Might want to read this and this.

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