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RPGs that All Children Should Play

TheLegendaryZoltanTheLegendaryZoltan Releaser of Heavy MetalFull Members
edited September 2014 in Role Playing Games
Not little tiny children. I'm not thinking about my 7-month-old daughter. I'm thinking of elementary school kids around the ages of 10 and 12. What do you think?

I would suggest Chrono Trigger since it's great, it's not convoluted, and it's on the DS which lots of kids get, especially in Japan.
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Comments

  • StrawberryEggsStrawberryEggs Eternal Kyoshi Administrators
    edited August 2014
    I'm guessing series like Pokemon and Dragon Quest are obvious suggestions. The Mana games maybe the good fun: Secret of Mana, Sword of Mana and Children of Mana.

    There's also Mother/EarthBound. The Mother 1+2 GBA cart would probably be the best way to experience both games in Japan, though EarthBound is on the WiiU Virtual Console, and Mother/"EarthBound 0" as well as Mother 3 would be hard to play for non-Japanese kids. They're relatively simple games and plenty fun and wacky.

    The Magical Vacation/Starsign games are also great, and deceptively cutesy. I still say Magical Starsign (Magical Vacation 2 in Japan) should have been given an E10+ rating, but that should fit in the age range. The first game is on the GBA (Japan only) and the second is for the DS.

    The Fire Emblem games would make good introductions to strategy RPGs (though I would recommend Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn, and Awakening to those closer to 12). Come to think of it, Shining Force I and II would be good first-time SRPGs as well.
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

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  • knownameknowname KnowJob, KnowClue Full Members
    edited August 2014
    Grandia and Grandia 2! Skies of Arcadia are both HIGHLY suggested. I hate to be clich
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2014
    Pokemon is obvious, so let's skip that for now.

    I would suggest games that kids that age would be able to relate to. Grand epic quests and adventures are fun for all ages, but there are a lot of games out there with themes and topics that kids should be exposed to. I'd suggest Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Ni no Kuni, Brave Story: New Traveler, and Child of Light as particularly excellent games with stories relating to fairly common childhood dilemmas. The World Ends With You would be another good one, though that one might be better for kids a bit older than 9 or 10. Kingdom Hearts has already been mentioned, but that's another good one, or at least the first game. They start to get a bit silly after that.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2014
    These suggestions are so old. I know when I was 12, I didn't want to play the games my father played as a teenager. He wasn't telling me to play Pong and Combat. I have a 2nd cousin that's 10 and he plays Wii U, PS3, 360, and 3DS games, not Dreamcast and GBA titles. What 12 year old wants to play a game that came out before he was born? Sheesh. I think a condition of this thread should be "nothing older than the 360/PS3/3DS/Vita." And no, digital ports of old games don't count.

    My suggestions would be anything made by Nintendo. Mario platformers, Mario Kart, Link Between Worlds, Pokemon X/Y, and Fire Emblem: Awakening.

    For unNintendo games...

    Borderlands 2 is a solid FPS that would work as an entry FPS because it's not too picky about reflexes or aim. Not a great teacher to student suggestion, though, if that's your situation. Maybe not the best "All Children" suggestion, but whatever. Kids play FPSes and I think this is the one they'd enjoy most.

    Batman: Arkham City is a fun open world platformer that provides enough constant input to hold a grade schooler's attention. I'd think it's the best modern game of this style for children, and my plumber's grade school daughter loved it.

    Games that encourage some level of open or creative thinking are good, like simulations. I loved them as a kid and still do now. For less overwhelming ones, the Atelier series works, but so does Animal Crossing, The Sims, and SimCity.

    Since the slant of this thread will inevitably be toward incredibly old JRPGs, I suggest Child of Light. Just warn children not to learn how to write poetry from it.

    That's a decent variety of must-play games for today's kids.

    EDIT: Whoops, just noticed this is in the RPG forum and only wants RPG suggestions. Just ignore the not-RPGs I listed. I'm not always fully aware when I make 4am posts.
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
  • AncientRuneAncientRune Member Full Members
    edited August 2014
    Xenoblade Chronicles, I once sold one to a seven year old as his mom was asking for jrpgs on the wii, however it may be too difficult for some kids, but if you are going to get them something start them out with something great and teach them how to play it successfully.

    Final fantasy IV is also a very good choice
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited August 2014
    From a psychological viewpoint, I noticed that I like games that are like the games I played as a child the most. So the first games you play will actually strongly determine your taste in games. So planning ahead, you might want your child to get into games that have a good chance to get similar games released in the future.

    I can't really suggest a specific game that's particularly suited for children to play, but I sure as hell would show my children all the games I grew up with myself. Probably starting with Shining Force and if they are a bit older Phantasy Star and eventually Shining in the Darkness (I played it too early and got nightmares, so I'll keep that for last). I want them to see how beautiful games used to be. I don't want them to become people who only like 3D super high def graphics and say "Ewww, 2D graphics".
  • StrawberryEggsStrawberryEggs Eternal Kyoshi Administrators
    edited August 2014
    Oh of course, the Mario RPGs are a must play for kids. Mario is a gaming icon, so it will likely pique their interest. Other than Super Mario RPG itself, there's the Paper Mario games and Mario & Luigi.
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

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  • DarkEiraStarDarkEiraStar Member Full Members
    edited August 2014
    I'll list the RPGs I played as a child.

    Final Fantasy Series
    Dragon Warrior Series
    Harvest Moon (Not exactly an RPG, but close)
    Chrono Trigger

    Non RPGs
    Mario
    Donkey Kong Country
    Zelda
    Rockin' Role Racing
  • JormungandJormungand Member Full Members
    edited August 2014
    This is a topic that I want to... someday... write about more seriously. Being a player of RPGs, and being a grade school teacher, it's something I inevitably think about often. The abstract of the following is this: kids should play RPGs that are easy to understand (mechanically), have moderate to heavy unskippable, mostly voiceless text, and (obviously) are age-appropriate.

    -Easy to Understand How to Play-
    The tutorial-laden RPGs of the PS2 era are not great places to start. Kids will grow into these after getting an apetite for the genre from earlier games. SNES era RPGs and some PSone RPGs (and their ports) are usually just right. It's not complicated to simply attack over and over until you win. Deeper mechanics can be explored on the player's own terms. If they need help, they will just ask the nearest expert (hopefully you :)).


    -Text Matters-
    Here's the teacher in me: RPGs are, hands down, the best genre of game to get kids reading. It does not replace traditional reading, but can and will supplement it well. There are some points to take into account:

    -The more text, the better: If you have to read to advance the game, it's good. You'll want to select based on appropriate content and language that isn't too heavily dependent on terminology.

    -No dialogue skipping: Kids shouldn't get the idea in their head that text can be skipped on a whim. RPGs should be introduced to them as games that require text to function. In other words, kids should think RPGs naturally include reading (and if that's how they understand the genre, they will not question the need to read anything.)

    -Limited voiced text: There is a clear advantage and disadvantage to voiced text.
    The advantage of voiced text (where voice acting accompanies displayed text) is that it mimics what we in education call "shared reading": modeling reading out loud while children visually follow the text. It's a bit like reading a book to your child, side-by-side. Shared reading several components beyond just following spoken text, but that's not always conducive to game text (though an accompanying adult could certainly make it so). Shared reading is also especially important for younger readers who yet lack a sufficient vocabulary of high-frequency words and a reasonable repertoire of reading strategies. It should be noted that voiced text that DOES NOT automatically advance is far more useful in this case; it gives the player time to let the spoken text settle in. This is especially crucial for younger children and children whose first language is not the game's language (e.g., a native Spanish speaker playing a game in English).

    The disadvantage of voiced text is that too much of it will certainly "turn off" a child's innate drive to read. One problem with video games, in particular, is that cutscenes involving voiced text often have other bits of visual information to attend to. With onscreen action and voiced dialogue, any displayed text is instinctively given lower priority. At the very least, if you've got a fully voiced game with automatically advancing dialogue, you could still turn on subtitles.

    -THE QUALITY OF THE TEXT DOES NOT MATTER. This is my favorite part of the discussion. Let's face it: those of us who grew up with or were introduced to the genre by Japanese games that were later localized have encountered a lot of funny text. Translation and subsequent localization (or lack thereof) always leaves some trace vestiges of the process, sometimes to the detriment of comprehensible storytelling. Even when localization is done well, it might be argued that much of what we find in video games is poor from a story quality standpoint, or perhaps suffers from too many disconnected ideas. Fortunately for us, most localization jobs are perfectly adequate for our young readers.

    Children are really only good at focusing on one thing at a time. When we teach children to read, we are actually asking them to do two things at once: read the words (decode) and understand the words (comprehend). Both dimensions go very deep, but the point is, we're not asking young children to be literary critics. They're not ready for that yet. In other words, it's not useful to place a third task in the hands of kids who are just learning to read. What matters is that they are practicing reading and understanding what they read. Obviously there are exceptions such as text that is grammatically poor or riddled with spelling and convention errors, but for the most part, our goal is to feed children a meaningful diet of words. Even some of the poorer localization jobs you've seen can be in service to this goal.

    Extending this further, getting children to initiate self-selected reading is an important goal for educators and parents alike. However, the most popular fiction series, which often rotate popularity in predictable cycles, across multiple age levels, tend to not represent great or even good literature. But to be truthful, the essential thing for children aged 5-10 or so is that they are reading. I've listened to many a librarian grumble about having to order copies of the newest fad series, but we all agree that, hey, at least the kids are reading. This shouldn't be interpreted as setting the bar low. There is lots of literature agreed upon to be great, but very little of that great literature is also agreed upon to be useful, accessible, or marketable to emerging readers. It just doesn't work that way. People learning to play the piano will need to start with Chopsticks and Greensleeves and Mary Had a Little Lamb before they are ready for Liszt or Debussy or Schubert (and there are thousands upon thousands of hours in between which are devoted to other works).


    -Age-appropriateness-
    This encompasses both the topic of content and the topic of accessibility. Content is obvious: your 10-year old should not play Xenogears--but I would rather a child play Xenogears than, say, Call of Duty or GTA. At least with Xenogears they have to read something, and there's a good story to be read. Truth be told, I've known many children to read books that are probably not appropriate for them--but the books qualified as good or great literature, and so it's permissible.

    Accessibility is a trickier concept, and really has to do with what will hold the interest of a child. For educators and parents, this is pretty much always guesswork--no matter how well we think we might know a child. Simpler stories are better, not for simplicity's sake, but because these stories tend to have broader appeal. Children's tastes will refine and evolve with continued exposure and experience, but it's best to start out with something simple.

    The SNES>PSone>PS2 era offers a nice progression in terms of accessibility and appropriateness. It actually works out quite well as children grow up.


    Some comments on others' suggestions:
    These suggestions are so old. I know when I was 12, I didn't want to play the games my father played as a teenager. He wasn't telling me to play Pong and Combat. I have a 2nd cousin that's 10 and he plays Wii U, PS3, 360, and 3DS games, not Dreamcast and GBA titles. What 12 year old wants to play a game that came out before he was born? Sheesh. I think a condition of this thread should be "nothing older than the 360/PS3/3DS/Vita." And no, digital ports of old games don't count.
    I think following this advice would be doing a disservice to a member of a younger generation. Do we stop showing classic Disney movies to children because they're old? As it turns out, most excellent RPGs are timeless, visuals aside. In terms of visuals, actually, few children really care (I advise no one to teach their child the word "graphics") as long as they can understand what's going on. Children are far more open to a wide range of visual arts than adults generally are. Plus, the difference between Pong and, say, Final Fantasy 4, is far more distinct than the difference between Final Fantasy 4 and Call of Duty 4000. That is, that very first generation of games is so primitive that some are almost unrecognizable as games. Black and White films of the 50s have more in common with today's films than they do with silent films.
    I'm guessing series like Pokemon and Dragon Quest are obvious suggestions.
    Pokemon, certainly. The appeal of Pokemon, particularly, is relevant because it extends to so many different forms of media and merchandise. Pokemon cards are still a big deal in elementary schools.
    The Mana games maybe the good fun: Secret of Mana, Sword of Mana and Children of Mana.
    Secret of Mana would make my top 5 list if I wanted to get kids to play RPGs. It meets all of the criteria above, and is also highly appealing both visually and musically.
    There's also Mother/EarthBound. The Mother 1+2 GBA cart would probably be the best way to experience both games in Japan, though EarthBound is on the WiiU Virtual Console, and Mother/"EarthBound 0" as well as Mother 3 would be hard to play for non-Japanese kids. They're relatively simple games and plenty fun and wacky.
    This might be one I argue against for its mix of immature humor and surrealism which would go over the heads of children anyways.
    The Fire Emblem games would make good introductions to strategy RPGs
    I disagree here. Fire Emblem is understandable from a gameplay standpoint, but hard and not very forgiving.
    Come to think of it, Shining Force I and II would be good first-time SRPGs as well.
    On the other hand, these two are super-forgiving, and are excellent introductory points to the SRPG subgenre. The stories are not great, but kids will have to read them nonetheless! Plus, great music.
    I hate to be clich
  • daveyddaveyd Turn-based lifeform PAFull Members
    edited August 2014
    My list:

    Harvest Moon series - these games are perfect for kids because they're non-violent, teach valuable life lessons by rewarding players for being kind to other people and animals, aren't too difficult, and tend to have a decent amount of text to read.

    Rune Factory series - most of the same positives as Harvest Moon, but with Zelda style fighting.

    Shining Force 1&2 - they're SRPGs but combat mechanics are easy to learn and the stories are very simple and straightforward. I probably played these when I was about 12. Originally a SEGA Genesis game, but they're available in the Sonic Ultimate Collection XBox360 and PS3 or on Steam in the SEGA Genesis classic pack #4. (Which both have some other good games for kids).

    Some of the classic point and click adventure games like the King's Quest and Quest for Glory series are probably great for kids too. All are available on GoG.
    Currently playing (on PC): Hard West, Eisenwald: Blood of November, Dungeon Rats, Wasteland 2, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire





  • DarkEiraStarDarkEiraStar Member Full Members
    edited August 2014
    Jormungand wrote: »

    -Text Matters-
    Here's the teacher in me: RPGs are, hands down, the best genre of game to get kids reading. It does not replace traditional reading, but can and will supplement it well.

    I completely agree with this. My older brother is Dyslexic and he learned how to read from playing RPGs. They engaged him in a way that books or teachers never did. I don't know if voice acting in more modern games helps. I usually have subtitles when I play games and I have seen where the voice acting doesn't match the text.
  • SpartakusSpartakus One Knight Stand Full Members
    edited August 2014
    I think there's hardly a single RPG out there that isn't appropriate content-wise, so I'd go with anything that isn't terrible and doesn't have:

    * Too much exposition. Half an hour is a really long time for kids and if they can't actually grapple with the game until after a long introduction and dialogue sequence, chances are they'll be stunted.

    * Complex gameplay mechanics. I'm thinking of things like crafting systems, character customization and battles that require a lot of thought, especially if the consequences of doing it wrong undermines your ability to progress. Suggesting SRPGs with permadeath is a terrible idea, so are games that really require you to plan out your character development.
  • TrexrellTrexrell Member Full Members
    edited August 2014
    I tried to get my 6 year old to play Wild Arms 2. He got pretty far but I think he was more interested in progressing the game than reading. He is a pretty good reader for his age but there are some words he has a hard time understanding. I do think they are good tools but they have to want to do it.
  • Anna Marie PrivitereAnna Marie Privitere Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2014
    I've been gaming since I could sit in a lap and hold a controller. One of the reasons my english is so good is in part because I played a lot of games, even when I struggled to read them.
  • LordKaiserLordKaiser Gaming Freedom Full Members
    edited August 2014
    It's Better to start with non RPG games like the Zelda series so they familiarize with reading and all but don't have to be burdened with leveling up etc. yet. Then they can start with SNES RPGs that have simple turn based battle systems. You can even start with Final Fantasy Mystic Quest XD. Around age of 11-12 they can easily learn how to play RPGs.
    Never buy a game published by D3 Publisher that is not WKCII. They cheated on their fans by releasing a game that they didn't support not even for a year and they released a rushed translation.
  • SeraphimKittenSeraphimKitten President of Soft Paws Full Members
    edited August 2014
    I know there are laws in Canada regarding having instruction manuals in English and Quebe
  • CronoCrono Member Full Members
    edited August 2014
    7thCircle wrote: »
    These suggestions are so old. I know when I was 12, I didn't want to play the games my father played as a teenager. He wasn't telling me to play Pong and Combat. I have a 2nd cousin that's 10 and he plays Wii U, PS3, 360, and 3DS games, not Dreamcast and GBA titles. What 12 year old wants to play a game that came out before he was born? Sheesh. I think a condition of this thread should be "nothing older than the 360/PS3/3DS/Vita." And no, digital ports of old games don't count.
    I have to completely disagree with this. I got my kid sister (13 now but she was 12 when she started it) playing Chrono Trigger about 8 months ago and she absolutely loved it. I got one of her friends playing Super Mario RPG and he loved it. My SNES is on loan at a friends for his 11 year old brother to play. While it may be true that more than half of kids aren't going to want to play old games, I wouldn't give up on the other portion.

    Also, I feel like you can figure out what RPGs I'd suggest by reading the above. :) Maybe throw some FF in there too since that's what I grew up with.
  • SpartakusSpartakus One Knight Stand Full Members
    edited August 2014
    I don't think older titles are a problem as long as they have graphics that still look decent (even if a cartoony way - Chrono Trigger is a good example) and have a user friendly gameplay interface. One area in which games have really progressed is the user friendliness of the interface and in a lot of older games the interface doesn't give you essential information, which makes it feel cumbersome to use and will probably turn off younger gamers who're used to interfaces that really take the needs of the player into consideration. Some older JRPGs f.ex. don't even show you how much a weapon in a store is going to improve your attack and you need to exit the store, check your old weapon and then compare with the new one, and we're just better off without it.
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited August 2014
    Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is one of the best examples of kid friendly game
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  • TheLegendaryZoltanTheLegendaryZoltan Releaser of Heavy Metal Full Members
    edited August 2014
    These are all great suggestions guys. Thanks a lot!
    Like JRPGs?
    Want to hear a JRPG podcast that actually has a unique format?
    Check out Turn Based Memories!
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited September 2014
    I am suggesting a game that has a friendly graphics and easy to control. I am suggesting Freestyle Football by Gamekiss but this game is not only for children, it will be suitable for all ages. See you on the pitch guys.

    RPG's man, not sports games
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    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

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  • TrexrellTrexrell Member Full Members
    edited September 2014
    Cough... football can be like an rpg..... :witless: at least I think of it like one.
  • TheRevolverTheRevolver Member Full Members
    edited September 2014
    Super Mario Bros is the classic game for children.
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