What Left 4 Dead Can Teach Us About Kids’ Games

Zombies, guns and explosions are things one might associate with the videogame Left4Dead, but these cooperative types of videogames share similar qualities as videogames for children.

Videogames created for kids focus primarily on child development and can be used as a means supplement learning.

According to Anne Richards, No Crusts Interactive, games for kids should attempt to incorporate like in the game Left 4 Dead the aspects of cooperative game play and strategy making these aspects more prevalent in games for kids.

“Taking advantage of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, while zombies aren’t appropriate for children, Left 4 Dead has players working towards a goal together and communicating with another are some things that would be good for children’s games,” said Anne Richards.

The panelists stressed that differences between kid video games and adult video games exist and these differences also depend on the developmental stage of a child.Fisher and Richards talking about videogames for kids

Carla Englebrecht Fisher, No Crusts Interactive said exploration and trial and error are important to child development and games need to foster mindset of discovery, exploration and how to find multiple problem solutions.

“Kids are developing and need a lot of support when making games,” Fisher said. “There are all these pieces that they have to learn and have to keep in mind in helping them learn.”

Panelists discussed the development of children in regards to paying beginning with Parallel Play, playing side by side but not together, Associative Play, social negotiation and working together and lastly Cooperative Play, working together with rules, sharing and fairness

Left4Dead gameplay was noted because the cooperative gaming  structure places players into situations that need more than one person to complete and achieve a goal that would be difficult to accomplish alone.

“If you let kids lose then you are going to have one kid dominating the game if there isn’t good cooperative game play for kids,” said Fisher. “It’s good when games have different type of game play to allow kids to play with different skill sets.”

Other features noted by the panelists suggested that learning how to acquire information was an aspect of childhood development and important skill set for children to learn.

Video games for children were suggested as a means to monitor progress how a child was learning and what a child was struggling with in either retaining information or learning overall concepts.

Richards said achievement screen motivates and encourages  learning in children by showering progress for each topic and brings context and presents information in an interesting and thoughtful way.

“We can find inspiration of what video games we are playing today and that can be the applied to the development of kids’ games,” said Richards.


Blog: Kids Got Game at kidscreen.com