Games recommendations for a 5-year-old! (multiple platforms)

So the little man is getting into gaming. No more just random light pushing, he’s really taking to it. He doesn’t get much time on it (an hour here or there), but it spikes when the grandparents come to visit or when I want to clean up Gotham for a few hours on the weekend.

His favourite games right now are Angry Birds Transformers, endless runners and a few other action games. He also spends a lot of time with puzzlers like Factory Balls and World of Goo. On the PC he has mostly educational games (Reader/Math Rabbit and the like), and the story-like Thomas games. He also likes some of the action and driving games too.

I want to get away from in-app purchases/micro-transactions because he’s way too young to understand the value of real money (and besides, fuck micro-transactions as a model). Also, no more (as much as I can avoid it) advertising directly to him. He’s five and though he knows a lot, and though he’ll eventually be exposed to the whole gamut, and yes, I saw ads that young and [del]turned out ok[/del] am not too much of an asshole, I want to keep advertisers from directly reaching him for a few more years.

I don’t want to break the bank on any Great New Game (he’s five; he has no concept of ‘new’ or trendy or bleeding edge), but I’m willing to pay outright if it will avoid in-app purchasing or advertising. I can also turn ads off via disabling wifi if that’ll help.

Platform-wise, the Devilling has occasional access to his own hand-me-down Android and iOS tablets (can’t remember the Android version; iPad is gen 1), and his own hand-me-down, slightly anaemic XP laptop. In the den we have a Wii that he gets some time on and my old gaming rig (built back around 2007 or so) hooked up to the big screen.

So, Dopers, what to get him? Where to learn/find out more about this?

My kids enjoyed Terraria, and Minecraft is a popular choice.

I say Minecraft.

Not so much because I’ve ever played it (I haven’t) but because it always comes up in threads like this, and a million dopers can’t be wrong right?

The thing about Terraria or Minecraft is that you need to read the online documentation to know what the crafting recipes are and there is not a real objective. The no real objective giving you the ability to do what you want is a big reason people love the games but I am not sure if a 5 year old will be able to find entertainment in coming up with his ideas of what he wants to do. I do see a lot of people saying that their 8 to 10 aged kids getting a lot of fun with the sandbox play style. I just wonder if 5 is to young.

Ack, I almost picked up Terraria during Steam’s holiday sale!

He likes Legos, and my best understanding of Minecraft is that it’s kind of but not quite like Legos with an interactive plot. I have no idea how close to the mark that is (keep in mind my understanding of the Sims is that it’s a super-sophisticated set of electronic Barbies), but since there are demos out there it looks easy enough to give it a go.

There is not much plot to minecraft. Using it as a virtual lego environment is one way people play it. There is a free minecraft demo available so you can see if your son is getting into it without spending $27.

Skylander for Wii is/was really popular with the kids. While it was really expensive to get into it’s now a few years old and people are selling the games with dozens of figures on ebay & craigslist for a fraction of what they originally sold for.

I do Minecraft with my 6yo daughter, have since she was 3 or 4 with her sitting on my lap and telling me to go goddamned fishing yet again. In the past couple of months, she’s finally been able to take the controls and do things like build a headless zombie statue, complete with redstone “bloodstains”, as a warning to any monsters that might want to attack our tiny little settlement. She also gets to go goddamned fishing by herself without me having to stare at the goddamned fishing pole.

In other words, I think it’d require some significant hand-holding to get your kid started with Minecraft, but that’s some awesome quality parenting time, according to me. Once he’s gotten the hang of the basics, he can fly solo.

Contraption Maker is pretty simple and fun. Some of the puzzle backstory may not be five-year-old appropriate, such as helping a drunk dude walk home okay or feeding animals to bigger animals. Maybe that stuff is fine for five-year-olds. I have no idea.

Celtling loved the Sims at five. Mind you, she didn’t use them the way we would, but yes, electronic dolls is fairly close. She didn’t play well, they slept where they dropped often enough, but she did figure out that bathing is a necessity and stopped whining about IRL so, SCORE!!

Minecraft is as much fun for little builders as it is for plot development. Try some of the “Stampycat” videos on youtube for a great intro and to see if he likes them.

Celtling also loved the “Zoombinis” games at that age, and several of the math/physics logic games like “Cut the Rope.”

A little supervised surfing at is a good thing.

We’ve got Minecraft PE (on an iPad) for my 6 year old. For a while he was totally digging Creative Mode, where you have unlimited blocks of everything. Building houses, mountains, statues, he put a “laboratory” on top of a giant pole, just because he could.

Now, he’s into Survival Mode (peaceful, so there are no monsters to kill you) and loves exploring for and collecting materials to make new stuff. This week it’s about farming, making a fenced in area, leading sheep and cows in, then shearing and milking. Before that it was making a suit of armor, and gold shoes. Next week maybe he’ll try and make a railroad.

I have had to save him a few times from getting lost, or falling down a big hole while having no torches, and it’s pitch black, and I don’t know where I am.

Better be careful, you could fall into a pit.

…Or be eaten by a grue.