Kids' Games that Rock!
Ok, so most kids' games these days are licensed fodder. There are a few diamonds in the rough, however, and Dan Biersdorf is here to rundown the cutesy titles adults can stomach too.
See back when I was a kid, I was all about the Super Nintendo, in fact I think I showed more love to that little machine then I did to my parents. I adored it so much that anyone who had a Sega Genesis was about as worthless as the rotting vegetables stashed away in my Power Rangers lunch box. Yet low and behold my cousins were indeed avid Genesis supporters and they loved to rub their new games in my face, or how Sonic was so much cooler then that "kiddy" Mario. However it wasn't until the release of Disney's Aladdin that all hell broke loose.
Both the Super NES and Genesis saw a release of the movie in video game form, however even though they shared the same name, they were completely different games. The Genesis saw a much more combat heavy version that featured a sword swinging Aladdin as well as a faster style pacing. The Super NES alteration on the other hand was designed much more like a platformer, and rather then wielding a sword, Aladdin would simply jump on an enemy's heads to defeat them. Both games followed the same story line but the gameplay within each individual part of the game was entirely different. You'd find yourself exploring The Cave of Wonders by jumping on unstable geysers on the Genesis version, yet in that same setting for the Super NES you'll be flowing down a river on a series of rafts. These varied game scenarios made us argue over which game was the better version until the bitter end, this typically happened when either a) someone started crying or b) someone just went ahead and "told" on the opposing arguer.
When I look back at it all it's not really a matter over which game is better or not, because all of that is relative anyway, but the point is both games were quality in their own merits. And the funny part is that it was a licensed game, aimed towards a younger audience and yet it came away as being one of the stand-out titles for both systems libraries and appealed to all ages. That's not something that can be said today. As time has progressed and game development costs have grown at an exponential rate, game developers and publishers alike simply don't put the effort they used to in kids games anymore because they know they'll sell regardless of the quality.
But while kids don't know any better, we do, and here's a list commending those developers who do still care about what they put into their games, regardless of the target audience.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Rocket Slime (Nintendo DS)
Who would have thought a game with a protagonist with no limbs could have so much depth to it? From the entrancing story line to the memorable tank battles, everything about Dragon Quest Monsters: Rocket Slime has a certain charm that can appeal to almost anyone. Even after you've made your way through the adventure mode there's hundreds of collectables to track down and plenty of customization for your personal tank. If you can track down someone else who has the game you'll be able to engage in some multiplayer action. Sadly there's no Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection options, but hopefully a much needed sequel can smooth out that problem.
Disney's Magical Quest Starring Mickey and Minnie Mouse (Game Boy Advance)
Ok, so it's not the most original game on the list being that it's a port of an old Super NES title of the same name, but it has withstood the test of time and still stands out as a classic. Just like Aladdin for the Super NES, Magical Quest was another Disney title brewed by the geniuses over at Capcom, and the influence between the two games is very distinguishable. It tends to focus on more of a platform style, and you'll also gain access to a variety of power-ups, such as a firefighter or rock climber to further your adventure. Don't even get me started on some of the impressive boss battles.
Loco Roco (PlayStation Portable)
While it didn't have the same Katamari Damacy effect that everyone was hoping for, there's no denying that Loco Roco still delivers as one of those most unique and fun games for the PSP. On a system almost entirely dominated by mature like software, Loco Roco is a nice breath of fresh air with its miraculous level design and standout gameplay. The idea is simple; you'll control a creature that can only be described as a "blob" and with the use of just the shoulder buttons you'll tilt the landscape to help move your character to perform a variety of objectives. The painfully child like music can turn off even the most unmanly of men, but if you can get past it you'll be in for a wonderful experience.
Pac 'n Roll (Nintendo DS)
Maybe it's a personal bias of mine that this game makes this chart but I think that Pac 'n Roll is still one of if not the best game available for the Nintendo DS. It doesn't try too hard on creating an enchanting storyline or wowing gamers with some fancy visuals, it just provides an enormous amount of fun with its "trackball" control scheme. It's a shame that the Pac-Man name has succumb to reputation of being very average with its lousy spin-offs over the years, but if there's one game that could make up for all of the franchises missteps this would be it. Pac 'n Roll is the definition of arcade style fun.
Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen (Game Boy Advance)
Rewind back to 1998, I know some of you reading this know exactly what you were doing with your time back then, and it was playing the original Pokemon Red and Blue. Oh don't be ashamed, I was right there with you, I had my head buried into my old black and white Game Boy Pocket for hours upon hour's everyday. And if I wasn't playing it, I was thinking about it. There was something about those original 151 monsters that were so enticing and loveable and because of it we spent all our time trying to complete our Pokedex's.
But as time progressed Nintendo made more and more of these games and added more and more monsters. The series is at 386 available Pokemon, who wants to bother with all of that when you don't care about those creatures? Well friends welcome to Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen remakes of the old Game Boy games we wasted our lives on oh so many years ago. Everything about the originals is still intact; in fact the game has actually improved with a deeper combat system and customization options. It's like a train of nostalgia and you need to get your ticket aboard.