When PCs were hot in the 1980s and 1990s, my father used to be horrified whenever I wanted to play games on the machine — “Computers are not for games!”, he’d say, but I knew better.
Fast-forward to the smartphone and tablet era. Unlike my Dad, I’m totally aware that these mobile devices are made for games (and other things, like email, Facebook, Twitter, oh, and making phone calls). I don’t admonish my children with the phrase, “Smartphones aren’t for games”, but rather, “Stop playing that and clean your room!” (some things never change).
With thousands of games available, though, you want to make sure that your kids are playing the right kind of mobile game — one that has a geeky element to it. Otherwise, they may end up playing one of those Candy Crush games or asking you to help them on their farm * shudder*.
Here’s our list of the top mobile games we’ve been enjoying with our kids:
Note: We’re not going to take a stand on games with in-game transactions; your decision about whether to spend money on mobile games is up to you. However, we would suggest that you don’t give your young children the ability to pay for premium items until they understand the consequences.
The Simpsons: Tapped Out
Hopefully you’ve raised your kids correctly, and they know all about The Simpsons. This mobile game has a lot of the same humor, voice acting, and storylines seen in the TV show, and it’s pretty fun to play. Also, it’s quite addicting.
The plot of the game — Homer has blown up the town of Springfield, and it’s your job to help rebuild the town and bring back all of the show’s characters. You do this by completing quests, leveling up, unlocking other characters and, if you’re in a rush, spending real money to buy “donuts,” which is the in-game premium currency. Fortunately, you can earn donuts by leveling up and doing other daily missions, but this does take longer than simply buying them.
The game also has seasonal events, limited-time missions that unlock additional buildings, and “outfits” for existing characters. This helps keep the game interesting beyond the initial parts of the game (the game even jokes about how long most players are playing the game).
For kids, playing this gives them a chance to develop their “city-building” game skills, learning that open space often costs a lot of money, so better to put roads in grid-based form to conserve space.