As the gamer generation gets older (not that I would admit I’m old) we are scouring the internet for quality games that we can enjoy with our kids. To my joviality there are catalogs of games that include the exact factors I have learned to value in gaming: Character development and customization, stories that go deep, and some even take place in universes WE have loved from a young age (Star Wars, Marvel, etc…).
With browser-based engines, and mobile gaming where it is we should have seen the “World of Warcraft” for kindergarteners by now. The problem is that the companies that are creating these fantastic games are doing TWO things wrong that leave me not trusting nor willing to pay a dime to play them.
1. Cookie-Cutter Content
I understand that games for young kids will need to have more repetition than those made for adults. But that doesn’t give a developer an excuse for one-dimensional gameplay. There must be, at least, an opportunity for more difficult and skilled situations to push the player into growing beyond button mashing, and a purely offensive mindsets. As a grown man with a bit of experience and cognitive thinking I BETTER be superior than most others I’d play against in a game made for elementary students.
2. Charging for Everything
In an attempt to reach a larger clientele and giving people a trial run before they pay anything, developers have created a double tax. You can play most of these games for free, to an extent. If you want to progress above a beginner however, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee. This unlocks more areas of the game, and the ability to level higher. I’m OK with monthly fees. BUT, they have another fee! The “Item Mall” is a place you can buy items to customize or make your character more powerful, for a small fee of REAL WORLD money. You don’t have to buy these items to play the game, but they make certain things only available in the Item Mall. Like transportation. You can only buy the convenience of faster transport in the Item Mall. Oh! And the best items in the game are only available in the Item Mall. Pretty soon you find yourself unable to beat things you are equally leveled with. Pushing you to make an exception to your “NEVER buy from the Item Mall” promise! But then at the next level you must make the same exception, and so on…and so on…
I say pick one, and stick with it. If I’m paying a monthly fee, DO NOT charge me for content beyond my membership. I’m not going to let my kid play a game where the richest (or most frivolous) players are more powerful than the most skilled and dedicated.
Of course there are exceptions to these issues. But what I’ve found is that games that lack these issues are poorly made, and not of a good enough quality to play.