Kapital Koopas: games for children, or the inner child who never gets old
Press F to pay homage to all the fallen goombas. It’s time to dive deep into China’s gaming culture in our column, Kapital Koopas.
International Children’s Day may be over, but when it comes to the wonderful world of games, every day is Children’s Day! However, with so many games available in the market, parents should be careful when choosing the titles that suit their adorable little monsters. And believe me, there are plenty of games out there that aren’t just entertaining, but can actually serve as a secret educational tool (we won’t tell if you don’t), while also becoming treasured memories.
Game Builder’s Lab / Garage
Lab is a series of toys developed by Nintendo that combines model building and games, allowing players to make physical play accessories out of cardboard such as fishing rods, pianos, various parts of a vehicle, a device photo, etc. Simply put, these games go beyond the monotony of traditional click-and-tap.
The most recent title from the development studio behind it is Play builder garage, which will be released on June 11. The game has the same creativity and DIY spirit that Labo is known for, it has transformed the obscure and abstract “logical mapping process” that underlies the game development process into simple, visualized and highly interactive challenges that easily get hooked. Players will start by creating some basic building blocks in the game, but will also experience developing various more complex projects throughout the game. Who knows, maybe after spending some time with it. Play builder garage, your child will become Nintendo’s next visionary designer!
Whether in the kitchen in a 3 Michelin star restaurant or at home, cooking is an activity that encourages teamwork. However, without proper forethought and planning, the kitchen risks escalating into a chaotic, scorched mess. And it is from this simple premise that Overcooked takes its theme, bringing the importance of collaboration to the fore in a fun way. In story mode, players furiously fill the controls of a rotating cast of gluttonous diners. Different types of food require different preparation, which makes for a really hectic experience. Additionally, there is no rhyme or reason for the kitchen design as the cooking stations rotate without warning, the floor tiles disappear leaving gaping holes, and even a few supernatural spirits haunt the place, turning the game into a cooking simulator full of surprises. Educationally, it teaches children about teamwork, effective prioritization and not only tolerance for the mistakes of others, but also collaboration to successfully overcome them.
Child of Light
Over the past few decades, technology has evolved at a rate far beyond what any of us could have imagined. Still, a well-crafted children’s illustration book has a certain timeless magic, capable of luring even the most energetic children into silent slumber. Child of Light – developed by Ubisoft, a studio known for its hyperrealistic 3D rendering, is inspired by these classic books as well as the famous Japanese animation studio Ghibli. Aurora, the protagonist of the game, is the Princess of Austria. On the night of her father and stepmother’s wedding, Aurora falls into a deep coma, only to wake up in the whimsical world of Lumeria. From there, she embarks on a fantastic odyssey to retrieve the sun, moon and stars stolen by the Night Queen and find her way home.
A classic puzzle board game created by Swedish designer Grzegorz Rejchtman, Ubongo is a wonderful way to improve geometric thinking and pattern recognition. As the sand rapidly descends into the hourglass, players compete to build puzzles using coins awarded by a roll of the dice. The faster you finish and shout “Ubongo”, the more prizes you get, and the player with the most gems at the end wins!
Not all board games are about math. In fact, the French game Ten that is perfect for anyone who is staunchly opposed to math. Players start with six cards in hand, which they must describe using keywords or sounds. The first player to correctly identify the card becomes “the host” and chooses a card from his own hand, which he tells the other players. At this point, the other players should find a card in their deck that relates to the word or sound, which they turn face down to the host. All of these cards are then shuffled and turned over. Players then bet on the card played by the host based on their understanding of the connection between the word and the illustration on the card. Simply put, it’s a game that improves cognitive reasoning and logical explanations.
Summer vacation might just be the most important phrase in a child’s vocabulary, and even adults can indulge in the gradually fading fragments of memories to remember those carefree years. Enter Natsumemo, a game created by a Japanese designer who aims to recreate all the joy of summer vacations, in the form of a tabletop game. Players can organize all kinds of activities such as camping, sleepovers, visiting grandparents, going to the amusement park, and basically having their best summer in summer. But remember, you should always manage your time well and complete all of your summer homework on time. Study hard, play hard! It is a game that is more suitable for children in the upper level of elementary school or middle school because it requires more strategic thinking. And it is also a good opportunity for parents to share their childhood summer stories with their children while playing this game.
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Videos and images courtesy of corresponding game developers, publishing companies, Shutterstock