Last night, after his sister had gone to bed, my three year old son Patrick and I spent some time playing on “daddy’s Xbox”. He wants Cars and Viva Pinata for Christmas, but I fired up the Sonic the Hedgehogdemo and handed him the controller. He’s only three, so he would basically run around in a circle and jump until he fell off the very tall tower the demo starts on. He enjoyed it, but he was also a little discouraged because he wasn’t very good at the game.
That got me thinking about what kind of games would be good for him. He’s not that good with the controller yet, so fighting bad guys or navigating a ledge on a tall tower are not great bets. Likewise, three year olds aren’t that good at focusing on a specific goal like “pick up all the rings” but would rather just explore the world. Viva Pinata sounds like it’s right on target for Patrick (plus, he likes the TV show). But what other games really fit the bill? Not many. Patrick loves Cars – he wants to be Lightning McQueen so bad – but I’m not sure he’s going to be any good at the game.
I wonder if there’s much of a market for pre-school console games? Probably not at the $50-60 price point, but as a $5 or $10 Xbox Live Arcade game? Maybe so. I’ve played around with XNA Game Studio, but I haven’t really been inspired to build anything. Maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong place for inspiration!
Update: My father had a great suggestion. Patrick loves Handy Manny and Bob the Builder, so how about some type of Mr. Fix It game where you can go around building and repairing stuff. Sort of Grand Theft Auto with tools, but for three year olds.