Gaming Diversity - Thoughts on Genre, Ratings, and the Direction VGs have Gone


So a quick summation of where this is coming from. 31 year old male, been playing games since I was 7 on NES. Now I’m a father (2 year old) and a husband.

I’ve been in this weird space lately. Like most folks on this website, I play video games, I used to run them competitively, but real life prevents me from logging the necessary time to be that anymore (not a complaint, it just is what it is). On the other side of the video game coin, I’m at the age where I have ‘disposable income’ and can buy pretty much anything I want if I put my mind/wallet to it. With that said, I currently have plugged into my TV a Wii U, PS3, X360, I have a DS, I have a Vita I have an iPad and other Apple products, I have a gaming laptop, and I’m fighting the urge to buy a 3DS. However I’m dealing with a massive issue.

Their are hardly ANY games for me to play. Let me run it back a little and explain. When I play games short of a handheld device/computer, its on a big screen with my son in the room. With him being 2 and highly impressionable I have to be careful what I play around him. I have yet to watch Django Unchained because of him (whole 'nother story of the intricacy of a mixed household and a kid), so you can sorta see where I am going with it. All these games that look interesting to me, I find - I can’t or shouldn’t play around him. Every Black Friday - Xmas shopping season, I buy up all the games I missed during the year as I can get them for like $20 through various means. So I FINALLY try to play Bioshock and realize…I cna’t play this with my son around, I’ve already had to deal with nightmares. Best game I’ve played on the Wii U is Zombie U, not only should I not play that with my son around, but my WIFE doesn’t like scary shit, so I havne’t touched that game in months, not form lack of interest, but because I feel I can only play it 3 in the morning when everyone is asleep. My solution so far?


And anyone who’s looked at the series can tell you its a ‘rip-off’ where you spend upwards of $15 per character. I have somewhere between 20-30 characters (>_<)’.

But that’s like the only game I got to play consistently. The gamer in me has grown super frustrated - Skylanders is a KIDS game, super simple…a three year old can play it - so the difficulty curve is non-existent. I went to Gamestop thinking ‘Oh Tomb Raider won’t be bad!’ Though I haven’t really played it since like 3. I didn’t realized how violent the game was. I started combing the shelves for the 360 and the PS3 and noticed a real disturbing trend. People always complain about sequels and lack of ingenuity in games, but its worse than that. All the games for the Big ‘Two Systems’ fell into these groups…
Sports - (Racing included)
Mature Game - (any game with copious blood, language, adult themes, things a little kid should not be exposed to let alone consistently)
Puzzle Games - (these were minimal)
Random Licsened Game - (movies, disney, Ben 10, etc)

While this is a ‘broad’ overview and can be broken down further, as a parent - that’s what I saw. If the game was an FPS, the goal is to be as realistic and violent as possible. If it’s an ‘action game’, it typically involves large scale fighting with demons or monsters, often violent language, etc. Hell, Tomb Raider - a series that was based on exploring caves, the trailer showed some dude trying to friggin RAPE Lara. It became “Hey if you are trying to be a responsible parent, its hard as hell to buy a game”. With the average age of gamers being my age or older, it is nice that we have options that feel grown, to not be stuck watching G and PG movies all day if you will, but when you go to the movies, they are typically filled with more PG and PG-13 movies than R and G. I’d wager the average ‘score’ for a game these days - that hits retail - is ‘M’ with some 'T’s scattered around…

There is NO balance in the gaming universe. No, I’m not being blind, there ARE games out there that I have to search out, but the % of those games to Mature games and Sports games is LOW. I mean I have Scribblenauts for the Wii U, which is mildly challenging - but its also a ‘puzzle game’. It doesn’t get me excited - it passes the time with family. Best I can do are Nintendo properties, which frankly since the N64 I’ve avoided for various reasons (never liked Link, anything with CPU Assistance, and they even fudged up Mario when they let you ‘kill’ your teammate in the newer ones…its not fun that way). Why can’t I get a Ghouls N Goblins with DmC gameplay, where the zombies aren’t going to get a grown woman to shriek? Why can’t there be more FPSs like Monday Night Combat? Why am I stuck being excited for PvZ2 and nothing else going into E3 (take that back Dragon’s Crown for Vita)?

I don’t know, the gaming landscape just doesn’t seem friendly for gamer turned father. Play sports games or puzzle games…or play kid games with no difficulty.

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Sounds like you need a man cave at your house.


I have to abstain from this topic, because I’ll wind up going into another ‘old man gamer’ rant, so I’ll leave it at this-- If you want a robust, well-rounded library of games you will have to give up on consoles and get a 3DS. No, you’re not just stuck with Nintendo-only offerings like the Wii, nor does every game fall into that ‘Triple-A’ bs that most console titles lazily trot out.

It’s essentially the system for us guys who grew up during the ‘good ol’ days’ when it was just about entertaining games that are simply fun. Kid Icarus, Shinobi, Fire Emblem, Mario 3D Land, the upcoming Mario & Luigi RPG, and Project X-Zone are just a few off the top of my head that are incredible and put a lot of the over-budgeted, cutscene driven console titles to shame.


Sam and Max series is nice.

I don’t mind the direction games are going because in a way the games are growing up with us. The speed at which graphics are developing also changes how we view things (Doom 2 was scary as shit back then but compare that to Amnesia and there is no contest). So now that you are a grown man with your own particular tastes it gets harder to balance what you like with what you want to play near your kid.

There are a lot of tower defense games that have fast paced action and the monsters are designed to be a little silly or neutral like dungeon defenders.

Other than that it’s a bit hard to find games because gaming, despite the stereotype that kids play the game, is geared towards a different age group. Some things gotta give.


It wouldn’t change a thing, I still have to watch my son and spend time with him. Taking a load off with a two year old means doing what I want to do while still being responsible for him. As he gets older I’m thinking it will actually get easier, not just because of the types of games, but I’l lbe able to truly play WITH him if he so chooses. I mean I know people with man caves and kids…it doesn’t really change much.

Though when we finally get a house there WILL be a man cave hahaha

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HAHAHAHA, I was trying hard to avoid that myself. I’m really not trying to ‘rant’, its hard to even really complain as games have grown and matured with me. It (gaming) would be GREAT if I wasn’t married and didn’t have a kid. The reality is I am both of those things so I have to be a bit more reserved, lest I get calls from daycare that my son just choke slammed another kid. I think you did hit on something. The games seem to have lost the focus of just plain old entertainment. I won’t blame them, they are adapting to the times, but that’s what alot of it is. I enjoy playing God of War series, but its not super ‘fun’, its mash on buttons, do this obvious pattern to beat said boss, rinse and repeat. So what happens alot with me is I’l lget a game, I’ll start it, and then after a few hours, I just stop because it isn’t engaging. so you multiply that by my lack of options and I’m just frustrated. I just want clean fun with some challenge that isn’t CPU assistance based.

I keep eyeballing the 3DS, but I shou;ldn’t spend the $200 right now, too many other financial things going on for me to buy another ‘console’. I just want Stret Fighter and Skylanders for it. But at the same time it nullifies the whole issue, if I’m on a portable personal screen, it doesn’t matter what I play as my son won’t see. But its not like the Vita currentyl has a bunch of awesome stuff.

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I’m in the same kind of area as well. I don’t mind violent gaming and I don’t have kids but just like with my usual TV/Movie watching, I can’t keep playing the same type of games all the time. I don’t and refuse to buy the same game annually, which seems to be the case most major developers are trying to take gaming. I feel stuck on digital releases and the 3DS for a while, was hoping the Xbox One would break the rut but between the cost, lack of backward compatibility and the restrictions, I know I won’t be buying that system for a minute. Still will be mooching off friends that buy the systems so that I can play next gen stuff but I’m in my late 20s and despite all the talk about how iPhones/Andriods and Steam are going to be the death of console gaming, I feel it is this stagnation that is killing it and my enjoyment as well.


If handhelds don’t have the right games for you, they at least have more family-friendly content than the current- and next-gen grimdark movement on consoles. DS and PSP were great alternatives to console gaming, but 3DS and especially Vita need to get their libraries in order. Also take a look at indie games on XBLA and PSN which tend to be less intense than the stuff from major publishers (though there isn’t a whole lot of amazing indie stuff out there).

It depends on what you’re interested in as well, I like puzzle, racing, bball games, so if I had a kid and was in your predicament, I’d still have family-friendly options that interest me.


My kid’s destined to be a gamer as well, so I’ve already gotten into the habit of watching his games library. So far, it’s Minecraft and the games on Nick Jr.'s website, but I’m certain that as soon as he starts school he’s going to want to play a bunch of games his mom ain’t gonna approve of. So, I’m going to have to find some balance when he’s with me.

I think he’ll like Skylanders, so thanks for the heads up on that. I’ma go out and surprise him and his sister with a couple. She’s not into video games, but she’ll appreciate the toy. :tup:


They are there, I just don’t think you like them.


I’ve been trying to go the indie route, I figured they would be more diverse, but at least on XBL, 90% of them are friggin Minecraft clones, and I’m part of that group of people that still doesn’t even understand Minecraft haha. I scour XBLA for them too, there are def ‘some’, like the stand out one would be ‘Castle Crashers’ - that’s a nigh perfect game for my situation, its just something that I played out already hehe.

I cna’t speak on the 3DS, but the Vita library is seriously lacking. I harbor little ill will towards it, because I’ve gotten my money out of it by just playing UMvC3, but its not a strong library.

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If you don’t mind me asking, how old?

Skylanders is honestly GREAT shit. My mom came down to NC with my sister, so a lady approaching 60 and woman turning 23, and they both had a BALL playing it, while my son was nothing but smiles (and he’s too young to actually play it, but between the figures and their phrases, and the way it actually works, he loves it). I mean pretty much think of each character as ‘physical’ DLC. You can switch characters at anytime, some do better in certain areas than others, etc. It can be an investmen, but if you’re smart about it, its not too bad. There are currently two of them on the market with a third coming soon - Spyro’s Adventure, Giants, and Swapforce, they are future proof but NOT backwards compatable, so you HAVEto check to make sure you are grabbing one that work on everything you got…try and find series 1 stuff, like Prism Break (my fav)

The First one will work on ALL the games, new and old
The second one will work on all the games
The third one will only work on Giants on up.

So they level up on some RPG tip and get access to new powers and tiers to their powers, but its real simple. As well, everything sticks with the figure, so you can go between games and between consoles, I can take my Prism Break and play him on the 3DS, if I get Swapforce for the Wii U, then I can play him on there, and I can play him as I do now on my 360.

True story - Giants is more kid friendly, Spyro’s Adventure is more…well the shit is just harder haha. My son likes the Giants - particularly Thumpback. If it’s something you are thinking of doing, I’d just ‘wait’ and check Target’s weekly add once a week, about 1 out of every 3 weeks, they have a sell on the ‘starter’ kits - so full price is like $70, but you can scoop it for like $40, it comes with 3 figures, the portal and the game. From there if it’s something they like, CRAIGSLIST, people put up goo gobs of the stuff at MUCH better prices. If you want the stuff new, use eBay as much as possible too. If you pay full price for these things, you’re going to average about $10 each, to get one of each element would be $80, find some that you just think look cool or something and that’s more money…nd then $300-$400 later you’re thinking “I should just buy them all” haha.

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Don’t get it twisted, I am not saying they aren’t there. I am saying it’s real disproportionate. I’ll go back to my movie analogy, for every R rated movie, I’d expect to see a G-rated movie with the majority of movies hovering between PG and PG-13, a bell curve if you will, but if you look at the ratings for video games - particularly eliminating Sports and Puzzle games, its dominated by Teen (PG-13 - which is fine) and Mature ®.

I mean I can easily say ‘just buy Nintendo First Party shit’ and be done with it - but I openly admit that I don’t like their First Party stuff much (the announcement of SMB and MK went right in and out my ears, more randoms and more CPU assistance…not interested), but it IS out there as alot of people DO like Link and Mario. But even with those its still ‘a drop’ in a glass of the vodka and rum that are violent shooters and violent adventure/action games that try to avoid mature ratings by just not having blood and fighting nameless and faceless villains who still get broadswords to the neck,

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