Kid-Friendly IF Comp Games?

I noticed Switcheroo mentions that it’s aimed at 10+ years, so I’m assuming it’s kid-friendly? I know that’s a sort of grey term, but if you think your game is kid-friendly (as in, okay to be played by kids, not necessarily aimed at kids), could you throw it onto this thread? For instance, while Zork isn’t made for kids, I would certainly throw that game towards a 10-year-old to play.

post deleted out of my own paranoia

This is useful information to know, but I’m wondering if it would it run afoul of the rule that authors can’t publicly discuss the games?

That said, I was a tester for Untold Riches and it seemed kid-friendly in the sense I think you are talking about. I believe it was written for middle school students.

Of the five games I beta tested, Untold Riches is the clear kid-friendly one. Sub Rosa is probably about the same level as Zork, unless I missed an inappropriate bit hidden somewhere, but some of the puzzles may require a learned mindset.

I played Grandma Bethlinda’s Variety Box last night, and it looked kid-safe to me. Also (in spoiler space for those who want to avoid impressions)

it’s a one-room game with a small verb set, which might make it more beginner-friendly than some; and at the same time it’s cute and solidly implemented, with responses to all the legit commands I tried. I’m not sure a really young kid would get through it on their own, but an older kid or kid + adult might well do fine.

I don’t want anyone to break the rules, but I hope this doesn’t count as discussing the game. I see it as the opposite of a trigger warning; a way of telling adults that it’s okay to play the game with their kid.

Thanks for the game suggestions so far!

We’re definitely NOT okay to discuss the games on this forum, since it’s public. [I had this utterly wrong in my original post.]

We can publicly mention the IF comp games are now readable and judge-able, but not ask people to vote for us.

This here is the public forum rather than the author forum. (I’m here, for instance, and I’m no author.)

I think it’d be nice if authors were able to mention the kid-friendliness of their games in public, for the reasons CressidaHubris says, but if you’re worried about it you should probably contact the comp organizer.

FWIW I’ve played Forever Meow and I thought it was kid-friendly, though I didn’t follow all the paths. (Review: Good kitty! 7/10.)

Maybe it would be best to rename the forum “IFComp 2015 Public Discussion”? This is at least the second time there’s been confusion.


I’ve modified my original message so it doesn’t lead others astray. Thanks everyone for pointing that out quickly.

I think (I could be wrong) it should be OK since you’re stating facts and not opinions about your game and you’re not persuading anyone to play your game. This is the way I see it.

My game is great for kids, all kids should play it. - BAD!

My game is child friendly - these are the worst bits you may want to consider. - GOOD!

Hope this helps.

‘This game is suitable for children’ is absolutely a matter of opinion, not fact. (Consider the different standards that different parents might apply here.)

Good point! But I’d like to think that an author of a game could be allowed to say “this is the worst my game has in regard to profanity/violence/whatever, please make your own decisions accordingly.” in a completely factual way with absolutely no opinions whatsoever. Then, it is up to the parents and not the author whether they let their kids play it or not.

Before we go into that, can we please define what does “kid-friendly” mean?

Kid-friendliness varies from culture to culture (and person to person), but the basic no-nos for a kid-friendly work (at least in the U.S.) are profanity, sex, and violence. Of course, these aren’t hard and fast rules (there are many works that contain none or very little of each of those things that I would not consider to be kid-friendly, and even most kid-friendly works contain a little violence), but it’s a good rule of thumb if you’re confused.

Of the three games I’ve played so far, I think A Figure Met in a Shaded Wood, though it deals with some heavy subjects like death, would be appropriate for older children, maybe in the 10-12 range.

So basically, the best way for a parent to decide whether something is kid friendly is to read the blurb, the reviews, play the game themselves, and then decide whether or not it’s something they feel the child should play.

Yeah, but that can be very time-consuming. It can be nice to have a shortcut description.

Thanks, Matt W, that’s exactly it. It is very time-consuming to play every game first, and a description would help guide people towards the few games they want to check out before passing them on.

I think the term kid-friendly is the same as trigger warning: you know what it definitely is and you know what it definitely is not, and in between, there are grey situations that make you wonder if it fits the description or not. And in both cases, I think the label is a sign of respect from creator to player, a nod that says, “I would really like you to play my game, so I’m going to do anything to make the experience as good as possible for you while not compromising the game I want to create.”

I think a good way to determine kid friendliness is whether it’s appropriate for a classroom. And, yes, I think the big three areas would be cursing, sex, and graphic violence.

FWIW, the AGS website has had for a VERY long time now three different ratings, which are quite qualitative and might help a lot towards this sort of thing. It needn’t be just a Comp thing, it could be expanded to IFDB, if there’s a pressing need for it.

It’s really very simple. Three cathegories: bad language, sex, violence. Non-numerical ratings, going from NONE to, hmmm, I dunno, actually. Strong? Heavy? Doesn’t really matter, though, the point is, if those three cathegories score very low or none then you can probably assume it’s kid-friendly.

Given the impact of swearing in the written world (it can be very, very, VERY off-putting to some people) this sort of thing may be useful in context outside of the Comp. Surely it’s not too much to ask an author to inform the degree of sex/violence/swearing the game contains; it’s not a spoiler; it still allows for some nuance and surprises.

Anyway, it’s just a thought. Doesn’t help with the inquiry at hand (unless every Comp author wants to go in and manually add this information to the blurbs. Which I find, hmmm, unlikely).