Introducing the Boy to Video Games

I take it as a given that my children will be corrupted by the world, so I intent to do everything in my power to corrupt them myself. I’ll want to refrain from imbibing hemlock-based liquids, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay.  To this end, I’ll be introducing my son to some classic video games on the Nintendo Entertainment System.  He’s played some very basic games like Excitebike, but the official introduction will not begin until he’s learned to read without assistance, a milestone that is within sight.

So, dear readers, which game do you recommend I use to initiate the boy into the world of video games?  I’m sticking with the NES as nostalgia has dictated me to do so and I worry that starting the lad on the Playstation of PS2 will incline him not to try the 8-bit masterpieces.  Besides, playing video games demands a skill set, and the early Nintendo games are perfect for building them.

The early contenders are as follows: The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, Super Mario Bros., and Crystalis.  I’m leaning towards Zelda as the game play is fairly straightforward yet incredibly challenging.  I pride myself on having beat first and second quest without dying.  No pressure, though, for the Cupp spawn.

Anyhow, the boy’s “official” first game doesn’t have to be one of these titles.  What say you?

Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a contributor to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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22 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    I was thinking that there are compilations of Atari 2600 games out there (and collections of 25-cent upright games) that would work as well…

    However, if you’re sticking with the 8-bit, there’s a little game called “The Adventures of Lolo” that is absolutely delightful. It’s a puzzle game that doesn’t feel like a puzzle game.

  2. Sam says:

    If he’s not old enough to read, how can he possibly enjoy something like Zelda, or Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy? Respectfully, I think you’re going in the wrong direction unless your goal is to turn him off video games forever.

    However, before making recommendations, what system are we talking about? Are you using an actual original Nintendo?

  3. DensityDuck says:

    On the one hand, I understand the concept of building an interaction toolbox.

    On the other hand, it isn’t considered a crippling social defect to not be able to operate a manual transmission these days.

    On the gripping hand, I remember that article about a professor of “story in games” who wanted his students to play an Ultima game–was it IV? VII? I can’t recall which–anyway, they found it impossible to play because they were coming into it after twenty years of gameplay- and interface-evolution.

    • Sam says:

      It ought to be considering a crippling social defect not to be able to operate a manual transmission.

      Also: get off my lawn.

  4. Plinko says:

    Are you going to dust of an NES or do something like the Wii’s Virtual Console?

    What is it you want him to get from his exposure to games? Is it just gradual exposure to the medium? Hand-eye coordination? Do you want him to work on his reading skills?

    I would recommend Faxanadu over Crystalis. Tetris seems like a must.
    Maniac Mansion or Shadowgate might be good for the reading angle.

  5. Herbert von Karajan says:

    Kids are much better, both tactically and intellectually, playing in mud than playing video games.

    Never forget, the hand created the brain not the other way around.

    I have just discovered something very interesting. With very deep concentration, you can have one eye read one page and the the other eye read the other page!

    Try it. Who would have thought……

    • Herbert von Karajan says:

      Kyle, a recommendation for a great game for your son–“Simon”–the rhythm and melody memory game.

      I loved that game. Once you get most of the sound patterns, which are are also illuminated by four different colors, you’ll be vanquishing poor
      Simon to death! With each successive try, a new note is introduced as well as different rhythms—soon you’ll be having hundreds of colorful and rhythmical sound patterns dancing around your brain and you’ll be beating that damn Simon every single time!

  6. Ian M. says:

    I loved my Atari, but those games generally suck now as do the early NES games. No, really, these games suck now. Want your kid to love you, play Castle Crashers. The early games are filled with “difficulty as filler” crap.

    I recommend playing modern games co-op with your child. Huge fun for everyone (ideally) and introduces video games as a social activity instead of a virtual babysitter.