Let’s say you are a mother, father, uncle or relative to a ten year old boy. Let’s say you know the world of videogames but you have been isolated from it for a while because you cannot follow the news of everything, and now you plan to return with the intention of playing with the child.
I may have grown up with ‘Doom’, ‘Quake’ or ‘Counter-Strike’, but you want to do things right and, looking for a first-person shooter to share, you start looking for games that are suitable for your age. The good news is that there are several FPS that seem like a good way to introduce him into that world. The bad news is that age rating it’s going to erase any chance of finding something good to hold onto.
The age rating in the video game world
The PEGI code is the European system dedicated to self-regulating the age rating of video games. A system that offers different information stamps to publicize not only the age appropriate for each game, but also the different characteristics that you will find in it.
With stamps referencing fear, sex, foul language, or violence, the PEGI code is a very useful tool for informing parents and guardians about the video games they can find on the PC, console or mobile market.
Serving as recommendation, if we hold on to it when looking for an FPS for children under 12 years of age, it is most likely that we will end up empty-handed. Bearing in mind that a weapon is always going to be synonymous with violence, only by expanding the search by sticking to the genre of shooters instead of first-person shooting games will we have some luck.
Shooting games suitable for kids
Out of all current recommendable games, titles that have received good reviews and that in the eyes of someone fairly knowledgeable can be a good investment, there are only two shooting games to hold on: ‘Splatoon 2’ and the saga ‘Plants vs Zombies’, both with a rating of ages of seven years or more.
In the first, a kind of anthropomorphic squid shoot themselves with paint in a team fight in competitive settings. The closest Nintendo has ever come to a ‘Call of Duty’ multiplayer shooter. In the second, the protagonists are plants and zombies fighting in a similar duel, this time by shooting peas or seeds at each other.
Both are third person shooting games And, despite containing weapons that somewhat resemble real ones such as sniper rifles or heavy machine guns, its great asset to enjoy a lower age rating is in offering a animated violence between fantastic beings. Anything over that line will go directly to an age rating of +12.
Violence between non-human characters
The decision is sharp enough not to attend half measures. The best example of this is found in Blizzard’s ‘Overwatch’. A game announced with a short that seemed the perfect mix between Marvel superheroes and Pixar charm, with fantastic characters and futuristic weapons that shoot more lasers than bullets.
Your only mistake is to disregard the aforementioned rule and include human-like characters. It may be that within its aesthetic of animated violence, highly commendable values are promoted for a child, that there is not an iota of blood and that the most objectionable of the whole is that a character with a cowboy look appears smoking a cigar, but the fact having human-looking characters demolishes the rating.
In fact, it is a situation that can be extrapolated to many other games, even those that are not subject to weapons. If we lower the age limit to a six-year-old, the circle tightens even further and closes the doors to ‘Super Mario Odyssey’, ‘Minecraft’ or even LEGO games. High quality titles and invoices with good values behind or even praise from the education sector.
Why is there no FPS for kids
Faced with a scenario with so many ups and downs, it is normal for companies to avoid the problem by trying to target a much wider audience. Despite not having an exact rule to hold on to when talking about why aren’t there more child-focused FPS, revenue is the main driver of the video game industry, so looking for an excessively childish aesthetic for a game that is going to receive a higher age rating seems like a shot in the foot.
Among all the options searched during the last days, only one recent game responds to that search that we started at the beginning of the text: an FPS for children with good reviews -79 in Metacritic-, current and with an age rating that falls below the 12 years: ‘Shooty Fruity’.
A shooting game in which you make mush with different fruits that appear on the screen using all kinds of weapons. But since sadly not everything is going to be good news, his age rating of +7 directly collides with a bigger problem. It is a game for virtual reality, a technology that actually has an age rating of +13 for being harmful to eyes at an early age.
So how do you find a game of that style suitable for children? If the PEGI recommendation does not convince us because it is somewhat corseted in some cases, the next step to follow is to information and common sense.
Pages like Common Sense Media make use of popular votes of parents and children to establish an average age in games, movies and books. Using your messages, and although we will always find those who are looking for ghosts where there are only curtains, it will be easy to see in detail what components the public has marked when rating a title. An easy and quick way to see if the game requires a certain skill, what kind of violence we can find or how far the language used goes.
Something that these types of portals usually take into account, at least in a more explicit way than in the official qualification codes, is what type of parental controls has each of those games. There are games that enable options such as changing the color of the blood, eliminating it completely or making the weapons shoot confetti instead of bullets -‘Team Fortress 2 ‘is a good example of this-, so delve a little deeper into what dictating a regulatory code is, at least today, the only option to expand our game catalog a bit.