Games Are Just For Kids – Right? – A Conversation With My Hairdresser

Last Wednesday, I went to the hairdressers’. Since May of this year, when a mad-man disguised as a professional hairdresser hacked my head into an approximation of a toilet-brush three hours before I was due to appear on television, trips to the hairdressers’ have been a common occurrence, as a series of talented and patient stylists try to gradually snip my hair back into something vaguely resembling A Style every couple of weeks.

Salon of the to-remain-nameless-madman aside, I have always had a sneaking respect for hairdressers, as they basically do The Hardest Job In The World. Hairdressing, in video-game terms, is 3D modelling, only the model moves, and talks, and makes incomprehensible requests like “can you just juzgh it up a bit so it’s got a bit more oomph?” And of course, if it isn’t working out the way you planned, you can’t just have a tantrum, delete the file and start over again from scratch. Or get distracted and start making a dragon. It’s hair, it’s attached to people’s heads. Hairdressing, in my eyes, is essentially magic, and it both fascinates and terrifies me in equal measure. And, being me, when I’m nervous, I talk. A lot.

As I sat in the chair, babbling away and keeping an eye firmly fixed on the pointy scissors, we got chatting about stuff – life, work, kids, the perils of bad hairdressing, sports and so on. As I am a boring person with one primary obsession in life, we eventually got round to talking about video-games.

We got talking about a game she had found her kids playing, and was not at all pleased with the content they were accessing. There seemed to be some kind of sexual event going on the screen, and, appalled, she had switched the game off and taken the controllers away. As she skilfully sculpted my cranial hedge back into something more pleasing, she commented thus: “I don’t understand why they [the game’s creators] would put stuff like that in there. You just don’t expect it in a game! Games are for kids!

I’ve (rather unfairly) picked on my lovely hairdresser for this particular example, but it is a comment I hear a lot. It’s easy to understand why this misunderstanding arises, but it’s a really important one to address.

Video-games are not just for children. Video-games, like books, films, and TV programs, are  created for a range of audiences. In The Night Garden and Luther are both television programs. Inside Out and Saw are both movies. Where’s Wally? and Interview With A Vampire are both books. And, in a similar vein, Solitaire and Strip Poker are both card games, though you would only consider playing one of them with your child or your Gran.

Just because it says game on the box does not mean the content is going to necessarily be suitable for kids. Cars, or Up! or Finding Nemo are all still films, even though they are primary enjoyed by children. In games, BioShock Infinite, or Amnesia, or Grand Theft Auto V  are all still games, even though they contain content unlikely to be suitable for anyone under the age of eighteen. We will talk about why a developer would choose to create a game with mature “not fun” content in subsequent posts, because the reasons are varied and interesting. For now however, keep in mind – not all video-games are for children.

Games Culture

Fun & Educational Online Quiz Game From Haggard Hawks

Time for another quiz! We love quizzes. This devilishly difficult quiz from Haggard Hawks left us scratching our heads, but we learned a fair bit in the process. Hopefully you will do better than I did, which was so abominably that I’m too ashamed to post my score. Why not call the kids over to the screen and make it a family affair? The anagram question on days of the week would surely benefit from a combined team effort. And by the end of it, you will all be able to spell embarasement, embarassment , embarresment… um…

Click here for the quiz!

(For very young players, watch out for a rude word (sh*t) in question eight.)

New Entries

New Entries: Does Not Commute

One of the boss’ personal favourites at the moment, Does Not Commute is a stylish puzzle game built on a clever central idea. We play games for a living, but we’ve never seen anything like this before! Click the icon to access our official GameHub HQ report for Does Not Commute:

Does Not Commute
Does Not Commute
GameHub Concierge

GameHub Concierge: Nearly Nine And Ready To Play!

Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday! Which first, cake, or games?

A question was asked: ‘Which games would be good for a 9yo (girl) on the Playstation 3?’ via Mumsnet

Here’s what we said:

GameHub: “Without knowing more about her personality, her personal likes & dislikes, it’s hard to make an accurate recommendation. However, in general, I would recommend LittleBigPlanet, a family-oriented exploration/puzzle game with lots of scope for creativity, voiced by everyone’s favourite Stephen Fry. The Sims franchise is almost universally popular amongst girls of this age – it’s a “life sim”, not unlike a virtual doll’s house, with scope for mischief! Additional content packs adding new clothes, objects or activities make great birthday or Christmas presents, especially the Pets pack, which adds puppies & kittens to the Sims household. It is age rated as a 12, however, due to the fact that you are playing with people, not blobs on a screen, so use your judgement as to whether it is suitable for her at this time. If she enjoying singing and dancing, there are a huge number of titles available, sometimes themed around a specific interest, eg: Disney Sing It: Pop Hits, which can be played with friends. If you are considering song & dance titles, please post a reply and I can advise you further, there are a lot of titles in this genre! Anything involving Mario or Sonic is also good bet. Finally, an excellent, more traditionally “game-y” game, ideal for a 9yo would be Mini Ninjas. You play as a small cute cartoon ninja, rescuing woodland animals from an evil curse. It’s fun, engaging and utterly adorable.

Got a question for the Concierge? Contact us.

Games Culture

Fun & Educational Online Quiz Game From Mental Floss

This free and fun quiz from Mental Floss kept us all entertained over the weekend. How many can you get right in the time limit? I…did not do astoundingly well. A run of American Sports questions proved hard to beat, but I was back onto a winner with planets, cheese and Spice Girls. Can you beat my score of 22? It probably won’t be that hard!

Try it out: