Game Philosophy: “It’s for Kids”

My god! I’m actually keeping to my schedule! Here’s another:

Logo

Today’s topic:
“It’s for kids”

Yeah, you know this phrase, right? “It’s for kids”.

There’s been so many uses of this phrase that there are just as many people who use it as well as people who hate it with a passion.
Sometimes it even ends up being used AND criticized by the exact same person.

So what’s MY opinion on it?
Well, I think both points of views are right, but both have faults too.

On one hand, yes, some shows or games truly ARE made for kids, and taking it so damn seriously is completely missing the point of the whole thing.
Honestly, would Angry Birds REALLY be that much better if the characters held a funeral for every one of those birds kamikaze-ing because the pigs stole some eggs?
Would continuity truly help a show like Tom and Jerry? Do they have to explain how Tom and Jerry suddenly became Musketeers and how in the next episode Tom survived being beheaded by the Guillotine?

It's just a flesh wound!
It’s just a flesh wound!

On the other hand, just because something is a cartoon or a game that kids can watch and play does not mean it SHOULD be devoid of depth or even dark moments.
If Batman the Animated Series lost it’s depth and dark moments, that would mean removing the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents. It would mean the villains would have been one-note characters for Batman to beat up instead of the deep characters they are now. Hell, in a lot of people’s opinions, the villains are the true stars of the show rather than Batman. In fact, I’m one them.
Same with Spectacular Spider-Man. That show had continuity and you could see Peter Parker’s growth as a person. Taking that away will make Peter Parker’s scenes a waste of time as you simply wait for him to dress up like Spider-Man and beat some villains up with no real context.
Even Sonic the Hedgehog (Oh here he goes with Sonic again) the characters have certain arcs and relationships with other characters that make you like spending time with them. Taking that away would bring us back to…

AOSTH
… That…

Where I think both views are missing, though, is the fact that there is a difference between a piece of entertainment made for kids and a piece of entertainment made for the whole family.

A lot of people seem to miss this. It’s obvious Tiny Toons or Tom and Jerry are totally different shows than Batman the Animated Series or Spectacular Spider-Man. Yet simply because kids can watch all 4, they all end up getting called “Kid’s shows”.

It’s all a matter of demographics.

Kid’s shows are shows meant EXCLUSIVELY to kids. Yes, some nostalgic fans or even some casual fans outside of that demographic can still watch it. I mean, I love Tom and Jerry as much as the next guy. But it’s obvious that it’s targeted towards kids. You’re not supposed to think about how things are affecting the characters or what their ulterior motives are. It’s just fun to see a cat and mouse try to beat each other at their own games.

TomAndJerry

Family shows are shows meant for EVERYONE, and that INCLUDES kids. Because of that, while it still won’t have stuff like excessive blood and gore or sex or whatever, it still TRIES to speak towards people other than kids. Teenagers could relate to the young characters, adults can appreciate the deep stories and kids can just cheer for the hero or heroine as they save the day or whatever.

BatmanTAS

It’s the family shows where standards should be held high.
Here is where you can complain about continuity errors, characters being out-of-character, writers botching up a storyline, etc.

Kids shows however? Come on, it should be obvious they’re not meant to be taken so seriously.
Do you really want to know about the politics of Sesame Street?
Is it really going to help Teletubbies by explaining how those TVs on their bellies work biologically?

My point is, if you ever feel like saying “It’s for kids”, please make sure the show in question truly IS for kids, and not a show for the whole family.
Because as much as I’d love to show my future children Spectacular Spider-Man, it’s not going to be until AFTER they’ve seen their fair share of Looney Tunes.

Published by Huy Minh Le

Huy Minh Le is a Video Game Enthusiast, Movie Lover, Writer, Content Marketeer and regular TvTropes reader! His studies in Game Design, Art, and Writing has led to a very creative, yet analytical mind.

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