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When We Say A Game Is "Kiddie," Is It An Automatic Insult?

It's all in how you say something, I suppose.

Now, there's nothing wrong with video games designed specifically for children, or games that have a more accessible, family-friendly design. But instead of saying "games for kids" or something like that, we often call them "kiddie games."

Nintendo fans have been all pissy about that term for years, because many of them claim the label is a not-so-thinly-veiled insult. It implies the games in question simply aren't as good just because they're designed for a younger audience. And that, of course, is dumb. On the flip side, there is something to the idea that if a game is just a tad too cutesy, it really might not appeal to adults. For example, while there was no denying the quality of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, I had to admit that it was just too "kiddie" for me.

When I say that, I mean I just couldn't find full immersion when wandering around as a 10-year-old boy and facing off against enemies that were essentially the opposite of fearsome. Obviously, the art direction is amazing and the overall game design is wicked impressive, but it was just too over-the-top "kid-ified" for me. I don't know what else to call it, really. Doesn't make it a bad game; just doesn't seem like something that would appeal to someone my age. On the flip side, there's actually a chance I'll really like World of Final Fantasy, if only because it will actually feel like a traditional RPG, and it'll have plenty of nostalgia that resonates with me.

That's "kiddie," right? Even if I like it, should I say it's "kiddie?" Or is that really insulting the game in question? Your thoughts...?

Tags: video games for kids, gaming culture, games for children

3/9/2016 9:43:56 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (11 posts)


WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, March 09, 2016 @ 11:52:26 PM
Reply

I use, and take it, as an insult when it's something clearly made for adults too.

Ni No Kuni was that way, kiddie like a classic fairytale from Ghibli or any Disney but also with deeper philosophical plot points and questions of existentialism based on age and emotion.

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Banky A
Thursday, March 10, 2016 @ 12:21:18 AM

I swear 75% of Ni No Kuni players are adults.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 10, 2016 @ 12:39:38 AM

agreed, at least that many.

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Underdog15
Thursday, March 10, 2016 @ 8:48:17 AM

Probably more.

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Rogueagent01
Thursday, March 10, 2016 @ 5:24:46 AM
Reply

I never really say "kiddie", but i will say "it was designed for kids", and it really depends on what game in particular i am talking about which determines whether i mean it as a compliment or an insult.

I will almost always explain my stance, simply because it is the Internet and the lack of tone means you can read what i wrote and come to a very different conclusion than what i had intended.

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Underdog15
Thursday, March 10, 2016 @ 8:54:05 AM
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When I hear the term "kiddie" I associate that with a level of creepiness when adults are involved. So I would be pretty reluctant to use it, personally.

I wonder if I would have been interested in Ni No Kuni 10 years ago... I'm not sure I would have given it a chance as a younger, believing in machoism youth. I don't know if it's because of having kids now or the sense of wonder mixed with nostalgia, but I just felt warm and happy the whole time I played Ni No Kuni. It was an extremely positive gaming experience for me. I totally get why it can be too "young" or whatever for some people, but it just didn't affect my enjoyment of it at all.

But then despite appearances, I am a big softy at heart for that kind of thing (family and friendship, etc.) As for the world of FF game, I'm not sold on it just yet. I'd like to see more gameplay.

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Bio
Thursday, March 10, 2016 @ 8:57:30 AM
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“Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” - C.S. Lewis

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MRSUCCESS
Thursday, March 10, 2016 @ 9:32:44 AM
Reply

No reason to be insulted. I am a grown ass man proud of the games that I buy.

There's a little kid in most of us.

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Abidan13
Thursday, March 10, 2016 @ 2:54:32 PM
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I agree that using "kiddie" is definitely giving a negative connotation. I think that to say something is is subjective; there is a threshold. To you it may be character/enemy design, to someone else it is art style, and to someone else it will be gameplay. There shouldn't be a situation in where a game is "kiddie".

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RobN
Thursday, March 10, 2016 @ 6:00:38 PM
Reply

Personally, I think the term "kiddie" is derogatory, and that's what I infer when it's used. It's not the same as saying it's a "kids' game," it's worse than that.

Then there are "adult" games (especially when put in quotation marks like that) which have a different connotation than just...games.

There are games that are appropriate for kids and engaging for adults - personally, I'd never call those "kiddie" games. Sly Cooper is a personal favorite that largely fits in the category of suitability for wide age ranges. Then there are games that I doubt anyone over the age of 12 could love, and I don't know what to call those that's more appropriate than "kiddie" games - there may be adults who like them, but they look and feel like they weren't mad for anyone with double-digit years.

I think Nintendo fans have a point when they complain about the term "kiddie" game, with the possible exception of Pokemon titles which I can't bring myself to call anything else.

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Ydobon
Saturday, March 12, 2016 @ 6:06:54 AM
Reply

Not insulting, some games have a kiddie flair to it or they are trying to gain more attention from a specific audience.

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