Gaming with Kids: Kierra’s Picks

When it comes to recommendations, I’ve never really been one to recommend games that I truly love. A lot of my interests run along the niche variety and unless someone is truly looking for such an experience, I find that it’s much easier to recommend more “popular” games. Along with that, I’m not sure if many of my favorite games (of the tactics variety) are ones that I would show a child. And yet, sometimes I am met with acquaintances asking what games to recommend to their children. Or my mom asks me what would be a good game for my sister to play. And so, I decided to think back on the games that I think I would recommend or show to any child.


I, like many people in my generation, grew up with Pokémon. And while I have seen many of my friends grow out of the series, it is one that remains close to my heart. It is also one that has several great points of entry and is very beginner friendly. There are quite a few titles that hold up today that I believe any child really excited about jumping onto the Pokémon train should play.

The DS Pokémon games are among some of the best in the Pokémon series, especially Platinum and Heart Gold/Soul Silver. As a fan of pixel art, these were some of my favorite games when it came to the in-game art. The balance of the game’s “difficulty” as well as the minigames and post-game material make these both great choices to jump into. And when it comes to making the player feel as though they were truly in a grand world, Black/White and Black 2/White 2did a great job at building out the world and characters.

However, the Switch also has a great selection as well. Mixing the popular mobile game Pokémon Go with the classic console experience, Let’s Go Eevee and Let’s Go Pikachu leaves the player with a decent experience of the Kanto region. While I still hold that Fire Red/Leaf Green is the best Kanto experience currently, these two Switch games are great places to jump in for kids (and the most accessible).

Cooking Mama

I was one of the many people who loved Cooking Mama back on the DS. It was such a simple premise: complete mini games in order to prepare your dishes and win Mama’s approval. And like many people, I always choked up at the end and lost my gold streak, resulting in me having to redo the entire recipe again. It’s so easy to just jump right in and the learning curve is easy to pick up. And while there are many games in the series, my personal recommendation runs with Cooking Mama: Dinner with Friends on the DS, as that is the one I have the most experience with.


Among platformers, Kirby has never been known as a difficult game. However, the charm factor has always made up for that and more. It’s hard to feel any sort of negativity towards this pink fluff ball. I mean, just look at him! Being able to suck up enemies and use a variety of different abilities is definitely one of the draws of Kirby. While there are definitely powers that are more convenient, you can play through Kirby games with almost any powers. Or, if you wish to go rogue, you don’t even need to use any powers at all.

Kirby has definitely been experimented with over the years in terms of powerups and gameplay elements. The DS and 3DS titles in particular seem to get bigger and bigger with their power increases. Kirby Triple Deluxe is a lot of fun as it played around with perspectives in its levels, as is Kirby: Planet Robobot with giving the player a robot suit to blast through levels. But if you’re looking for the most classic experiences without all the bells and whistles, Kirby: Squeak Squad on the DS is a lot of fun to be had.

And here’s to hoping that the new Kirby game coming in Spring 2022, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, leaves us all with a great experience!

Final Message

While it can be easy to cast a certain lens on kids and point them towards certain mediums, kids will naturally gravitate to what appeals to them most. Some of the games I grew up with, such as Soul Calibur and Dragon Ball Z fighting games, weren’t listed here. But of the many games that I can pull from to recommend people, those listed above would definitely be among the first. They are easy to pick up, have many entry points, and can give the player a decent experience into new genres that they may not have experienced before.

Games have gotten more and more sophisticated as the years go on and with new series and titles popping up, it can be a bit overwhelming figuring out what to show those who may not have their feet wet. And that’s why I think it’s important to start simply and work your way up from there. Better to be underwhelmed and seek out more than overwhelmed and not pursue any further.

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