It is always interesting when games you wouldn’t expect to make waves suddenly stirring up lots of interest. Especially when they involve topics you would not expect. There are two that have been calling a lot of attention to a certain sort of game, and that is ones that are made with kids in mind. When THQ Nordic revealed it would be bringing classic Nickelodeon games to modern platforms, people went crazy about the thought of playing these older games again. The buzz was tangible. Then, Lego The Incredibles was announced and it generated the same sort of hype!
But why does this happen? What would make people get so excited about Lego The Incredibles or Nickelodeon games reappearing? Well, a part of it is the same reason people are so psyched whenever Capcom releases a compilation like one of the Mega Man collections or The Disney Afternoon Collection: nostalgia. But, there is more to it than that. There is a joy that comes from games for kids that are done well. There is an excitement that a good all-ages title can deliver. And both of these hype-generating releases happen to hit both notes.
Let’s start with the Nickelodeon games. While these definitely tap into nostalgia, some of these happen to be rather solid titles. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom was a solid platformer that just so happened to have SpongeBob as the star. Not to mention, Nicktoons Unite! did a good job of pulling all of these characters together for a solid action game. These channeled the same sort of spirit as Capcom’s classic Disney games in the SNES and Genesis era. They were for kids, but had the sort of gameplay that respected people of all skill levels and tried to make things entertaining.
The Lego series fills a similar gap. Lego The Incredibles was big news because this series respects its audience. It is simple enough for kids to play and tends to cover movies that are appropriate for all ages. But then, when it comes to playing, there is enough humor packed in, not to mention an ample dose of secrets, to make it interesting for adults. Not to mention, tying it to these popular properties makes it more appealing to people regardless of age.
Not to mention, there is the element of sharing things. These games are coming back around and returning to popularity at a time when the people who played them may be having their own children. Now, you can show the next generation what loved and helped shape you as a gamer. And of course, the Lego series has always been about sharing. After all, multiple people can play as different characters at once in the same room. Older or more experienced players can assist those who are younger or beginners. These games for kids build a sense of community.
It is easy to deride a game for kids and consider it tripe or easy pickings for mockery. But even though it may not be as the level people are used to, there can be merit to these simpler games. People get excited about things like ports of classic Nickelodeon games, because some of the cartoon facades and popular characters hid a genuinely good game. The Lego line is always a favorite due to injecting humor into beloved series. Plus, all of them allow people who are older and/or wiser to connect with those who are younger or perhaps not as experienced. Games geared toward the younger generation can really rock!