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6 Games That Make You Feel Like a Kid Again
In today’s gaming market, it’s not uncommon to find that the biggest and most successful AAA titles are centered around violence, feature massive set pieces, and boast large and mature stories that last for hours at a time. And don’t get me wrong; I love playing these games just as much as the next game enthusiast, and the pure adrenal drop that these games so often deliver can be incredibly satisfying.
And yet, for all the big budget shooters and action games that saturate the market, there are always the gentler, more niche games that come along, promising a different experience that not only takes us away from the ‘splosions and dire circumstance, but allows us to jump back in time and feel like a kid again. Of course, a list like this is totally personal, but these are the titles that have never ceased to appeal to eight-year-old me.
From the tactics of battle to the obsession of truly catching them all, few games manage to evoke our inner kid as much as any of the Pokemon games. Epic battle stories, unlocked secrets, and endless arguments over the best types and starters never cease to take us back to yesteryear when kids shared game tales over the swings at recess. Yes, there’s something truly special about a Pokemon game that always keeps us coming back for more, and I attribute that largely to the fact that it takes us back to a simpler time and sticks to the core mechanics that have always made them a blast to play.
Take a step back from it, and it’s hard to classify Animal Crossing as a video game in the traditional sense. And yet, it’s gobbled up countless hours of so many lives during its multi-year run as a franchise.
Animal Crossing hits on all the right points to really make us feel innocent and tranquil. There are limitless possibilities in the game, and everything from customizing your town and meeting all the neighbors to discovering secrets and rewards encourages experimental play and instills in us a sense of wonder the likes of which many of us haven’t experienced since we were young.
Mario Kart 7
Admit it: when you were a kid, there was almost no better feeling in the world than firing off a blue shell and having it hit your gloating friend leading the pack. Oh, the sweet, sweet revenge.
Like Mario Party, Mario Kart has the potential to (temporarily, I hope) destroy friendships thanks to its fast-paced and highly competitive gameplay.
But that’s not the only reason 24-year-old me feels 8 all over again when I sit down to race. While the items are great, its the ability of a great track to transport you to a goofier and fun world that really makes Mario Kart something special.
While Rayman has certainly never been the most popular series in the 3D platforming world, its re-emergence within the 2D space has proven to be an incredibly smart one that yielded two great games in both Origins and Legends.
Rayman is special because of two things: 1) Its whimsical art design, and 2) its ability and love of being whatever it wants to be at any time. Sure, the gameplay is awesome, but when one thinks of Rayman, they’ll no doubt also credit some of their love of it to the game’s odd sense of humor and personality. Feeling much like some of the more off-the-wall cartoons of the 90’s like Rock-a-Doodle and Fern Gully, Rayman never fails to speak to my inner kid.
While it is an incredibly challenging platformer, Fez packs a great sense of wonder and discovery in its gameplay that, much like many games in our early years, keeps us exploring and discovering new places and things all the time. The game’s gentle aesthetic and great soundtrack also helps to build up Fez as one of the best games to really take you back to the days of sitting cross-legged in front of the SNES in your parent’s basement. Unless, of course, you’re still there now.
It may be an odd choice, but Peggle really makes me feel like a grade schooler every time I play it. Its sound design can only be described as “easy”, its gameplay is simple to learn and difficult to effectively perfect, and its replayability has kept me engaged for hours on end. Really, Peggle reminds me of my time spent as a kid playing Tetris and all of its clones that released on consoles, handhelds, and PC back in the early years. With Peggle 2 in the works, I’m all the more excited to sit down and have a game recapture my kid-like imagination all over again.
Which games make you feel like a kid again? Tell me in the comments below!