A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids can build their own video games within this game, so it's up to them where they go with it. But they can incorporate shooting -- cars, helicopters, tanks, and other characters. No blood is shown, but explosions are used when blowing up opponents' vehicles. Overall, the emphasis is on encouraging creativity and thoughtful design techniques. This is a good way to get kids' creative juices flowing.
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What's it about?
VIDEO GAME TYCOON is based around a relatively easy-to-use development tool that lets kids create their own 3-D games. Players earn certificates and unlock extra features by going through the tutorials and building games with specific goals; however, the main idea is to let kids build their own games. After naming their game, kids decide on the goal of the game. After setting the objectives, kids builds the environment. By selecting from a number of different alternatives, kids choose what the terrain and sky look like, as well as the type of map the game is played on. Finally, kids choose the options for the main character, which they will control, as well as the options for any computer-controlled opponents/objects.
Is it any good?
Many kids dream of being a video game designer. Video Game Tycoon lets them do just that: create, develop, and play their very own 3-D video games. If they want, kids can even share their masterpieces with friends by burning their creations to a CD/DVD, if their computer supports that feature.
Although the concept is a good one, the game does have limitations. The tutorials just barely cover the basics, and could use a lot more interaction. The graphics and sound effects are serviceable, but players will quickly realize they are not building games to rival the latest Tomb Raider or Gran Turismo.
Finally, although standard controls make it easy to play any of the game types, the responsiveness tends to leave much to be desired, making it a real challenge to control characters without a lot of practice and patience. Despite these concerns, most younger players will find the idea of being able to build their own video game an exciting one.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how designing your own game influences how you evaluate other games. Was it challenging to make a game that was fun to play? Were the games without any violence just as fun as the ones that had violence in them? Did you come up with any stories to go along with the games you made? Did that make the games more fun?