Feb 11

Thinking about your users…. kids games

Games, Tech with tags: , , 4 Comments »

Curious George Banana 411 Game

My son Sam loves Curious George. Wow he loves that little monkey. This means that he often asks to play the Curious George Games that PBS Kids put together.

I have played these games more often that I have had hot dinners recently, and it quickly shows that although the games are fantastic, they don’t always help the kind of player that I am. The one that has played it so many times.

This shins through in a couple of examples:

Let. me. click.

In many of the games the man in the yellow hat (you know Ted) explains the game, and ends with “click on the green button to start”. During the monologue you can not actually click on the button. You have to wait right until the end. Let me click start immediately!

Saved games or levels

These games always start from the ground floor. If you have gone through Banana 411 from the beginning 3 digit numbers to 7 digit numbers, you have to start from 3 every time. Give an expert user some love, and let them resume their game in some way.

Keyboard shortcuts

Some of the actions allow the keyboard, but most don’t. When I am sitting holding my son, the keyboard is often the easier choice. Let me use it.

Archive the content

Kids fall in love with doing the thing they did before. When you go to a game that they are screaming in your ear, they have an expectation for what the game is going to do. Some of the games give a random few choices which can change each time. Sometimes the content from the past is just gone. This makes live painful when Sam is crying out for “Difference Dogs” and it isn’t an option this week. Archive games so you can always get to that one version your child loved.

I do want to stress that PBS has done a great service to provide these games for free. Sam certainly makes the most of it. It does make me try to remember my “expert” users (or at least frequent visitors).