The dreaded word “kiddy” is often used as an insult to certain type of games; mostly games made by Nintendo. I question the people who have a need to express their distaste for anything “kiddy.” Should we insult these “kiddy” games? Why don’t we embrace them? Are they always as innocent as they seem?
This semester in school I’m taking a Children's Literature class; in this class we focus on children’s and young adult’s literature that concerns trauma and/or dystopian culture. In class we interrogate issues within these books. We’re examining literature meant for children. Sometimes we go into philosophical discussions about life, and other times we discuss the innocent and care free nature that children exhibit, but one thing is clear: a room filled of students in their twenties are enjoying literature meant for ages 8-16.
Not all the books we read have deep messages, but some offer something more simple and innocent: a child like wonder and happiness. A game that gave me this feeling was Kirby’s Epic Yarn
; a game I absolutely adored, but a game most people insulted because of its look.
The colorful, imaginative world of Kirby is as innocent as it looks. The game, for me, is the expression of child like happiness. For instance, the simple game-play, colorful art-style, and surprisingly “adult” music engulfed me in a world I haven’t been in a long time. A world long forgotten, a world I will always cherish: a free spirited world absent of my worlds problems. It’s as if the developers were holding my hand and told me to forget all my troubles for awhile. Just relax and embrace the colors. Relax and escape the harsh reality. Relax and be happy. .. Why is this difficult for some people to understand?
I understand that some of the insults towards these “kiddy” games come from teenagers who wish to be looked at as “mature.” This is perfectly understandable, but I have encountered a number of adults my age echoing the same thoughts of these teenagers.
There has been a recent surge in young adult fiction that has drawn the attention of scholars and readers alike. Surprisingly, many authors within the last three decade have chosen to write about children’s engagement with personal and traumatic experiences. A game that’s very similar to this is Earthbound
Many people call Earthbound
the first art game. This is a game that many people will call “kiddy” because of its art-style, a game where you fight hippies and birds wearing sunglasses, a game where the protagonist gets home sick. But this game, unlike the majority of games, aims to hit your mind and heart with its story. Earthbound
remains the only game, that I know of, that has gotten essays regarding its ending.
We’re in love with an industry that embraces violence and that is fine. But maybe we can have more games like Earthbound
. What if we have a game that deals with childhood adolescence or creation of a hero amid adversity. We can have games that discuss the family structure and dynamics, class and economics, intimacy and knowledge, adolescence and growth.
Nintendo seems to be the only company that are making games like this, but maybe we have to take it further than just pretty colors (which are fine). Maybe I’m thinking too much on this topic, but what I know is that I want to see these type of games be embraced by gamers of all ages.
Let's try not to ignore something simply because it's "kiddy." I was at the Dtoid chat a couple of days ago and recommend some of the books I read from my class to a user, but he expressed his detest for "simple writing" and wanted something more "complicated." This type of attitude is simply heartbreaking, and I hope I'm not the only who wishes for more creative "kiddy" games.