It is very typical for parents to purchase new video games for their children for birthdays and Christmas. Adult gamers know the standards for an acceptable video game. We have lived through the dark times in gaming, from Kid Kool on the NES, to Quest 64 on the Nintendo 64. Parents have a good feel on good games to buy for their children.
There is another option for adult gamers looking for the perfect game for their children: develop their own game.
Many software companies have created programs for developing video games. Someone with no experience can build a game. I was a total novice when I started developing games as a freshman in college way back in 2009. Like me, fellow adult gamers have limitless possibilities for developing an amazing game for their children and their friends to enjoy.
Which Game Engine or Creation Software Should You Use?
RPG Maker by Enterbrain
One of the best programs for developing games is the RPG Maker. This engine’s speciality is developing classic JRPGs such as Final Fantasy and Golden Sun. RPG Maker was developed by Enterbrain in 1992 and has a large library of previous versions. The most recent versions are RPG Maker VX ACE and RPG Maker MV. I strongly recommend using one of these versions because they have the best graphics in the series and a much easier learning curve.
In addition, everything that adult gamers-turned-game developers need for creating a game is in the total package. RPG Maker includes graphics, and RPG Maker MV also includes a generator for creating maps for dungeons. However, the only drawback is the graphics found in the library are quite common in games created by the engine, making it easy to spot an ‘RPG Maker game’. This is only a small problem, assuming you’re only looking to develop games for children – your own or someone else’s.
Construct 2 by Scirra
Construct 2 is a drag and drop game development software. It is a good program for adult gamers making their first game, particularly for developing side-scrollers and racing games. The learning curve is very small, and those without experience will quickly learn the basic tools.
I recommend Construct 2 if you want to build fun and challenging yet simple games for your children. It is well worth the price of $199.99.
GameMaker Studio 2 by YoYo Games
GameMaker Studio 2 is hands down the best software for developing side-scrolling games. If you and your children love games such as Super Mario and Sonic, then GameMaker Studio is the best tool for your needs. You can create beautiful platformers that your children will enjoy using GameMaker Studio’s drag and drop interface.
However, the software has a higher learning curve than other game engines mentioned in this article. You’ll need to learn basic coding for GameMaker Studio to make games that exceed the capabilities of the drag-and-drop functionality. It is the only flaw to the GameMaker Studio, but also makes it a much more versatile piece of game development software.
Price: $39 for Creators
Once You’ve Made Your Game, Remember: Playtest
So, you’ve made the perfect game for your children to play…now what?
The best piece of advice is to playtest your game. You want to give a positive experience to your child and bugs and glitches can ruin their enjoyment of your creation. I, like many adult gamers, will stop playing a game due to annoying errors. You can avoid many glitches by thoroughly testing the game before giving it to your children, both during and after development.
Fix any errors, play, fix errors, play, and repeat until you have a perfect playthrough.
Find the Right Program for You
The above programs offer free trials for at least 30 days. You should absolutely try each of these options thoroughly before you buy to find the program that you are most comfortable using.