Maybe if it had characters and stuff and different levels, it would be OK


In a classic series, Electronic Games Monthly plopped modern kids, ages 9 through 12, in front of classic video games: Pong, Donkey Kong, Tetris. And then recorded their reactions. Here, the kids are playing Tetris and appear to be obsessed with stuff blowing up.

Tim: Which button do I press to make the blocks explode?

EGM: Sorry, they don't explode.

Becky: This is boring. Maybe if it had characters and stuff and different levels, it would be OK. If things blew up or something or—

Sheldon: If there were bombs.

Becky: Yeah, or special bricks. Like, if a yellow brick touched a red brick it would blow up and you'd have to start over.

John: Why haven't I won yet? I've paired up so many of the same color.

EGM: Don't worry about colors.

John: I just lined up six of the same color. Why didn't they blow up?

EGM: Nothing blows up.

Best single line: "I'm sure everyone who made this game is dead by now."

The article was such a hit that they did it again the following year.

Comments (19)
  1. Peter Ritchie says:

    I wonder if that was written while Alexy Pazhitnov was still working at Microsoft?

  2. Shannon says:

    Maybe they’re used to bejewelled :)

  3. I don’t think Tetris was ever really intended for kids aged 9-12. It was always more of an adult time-waster.

  4. Dave says:

    Kirk (age 12): It’s a hooker.

    Tim (age 11): Oh wow—she’s one of those pole dancers.

    This is just depressing….

  5. AlmostAlive says:

    My daughter (age 9) likes Tetris as much as I did as a kid.  It’s a classic game that really never gets old.  In fact, she’s actually playing my original Gameboy cartrage from 1989 on her new Gameboy Advance SP — the wonders of backwards compatibility.

    But honestly, even I find older games boring.  Just like I find older TV boring.  We’ve really created a generation of "smarter" children who need more than we had in the past to hold their interests.

  6. foxyshadis says:

    It sounds like they were given tetris, when all they really wanted was one of the Bomberman games instead!

  7. Cooney says:

    We’ve really created a generation of "smarter" children who need more than we had in the past to hold their interests.

    Don’t you mean short attention span product junkies? I still remember back when cable was new, they had a show on one of the networks called short attention span theatre.

    Anyway, outdoor things should still work to hold their attention – skiing hasn’t changed that much on the time I’ve been around (ignoring the new skis)

  8. BA says:

    Short Attention Span Theatre…

    You mean Robot Chicken?

  9. Steve says:

    AlmostAlive,

    My 10 year old daughter loves tetris, too.  She has it on her cell phone, and is begging for a copy of it for DS.

    I constantly marvel at old game paradigm vs. new game paradigm.  The old model was "Simple, easy, every level looks the same, clever ideas."

    Now it’s "Huge, Complex, multiple distinct levels, graphics!graphics!graphics."

    Not that the ideas still aren’t clever…but it amazes me how much I can still lose an afternoon running from Flaming Sentient Barrels when I get on a donky kong kick.  Of course, I can also lose an afternoon sitting on top of a tall building sniping pedestrians and throwing explosives at the police when I play Grand Theft Auto.

  10. Dominic says:

    Aren’t the comments just indicative of the fact that the kids are used to the general mechanic of these types of puzzle games, and have played ones that have been souped up a bit.

    From what I’ve seen, websites like miniclip.com are quite popular with the young’ns, and their version of Tetris does exactly what the kid wanted: there are blocks that can remove other blocks. It even ‘blows’ them off the screen.

    I just think it’s a little hard to expect 9 to 12 years olds to have enough of a sense of history to hold reverence toward a game, especially when they are already familiar with its genre. And I reject that it’s anything to do with rising complexity in games, or the fact they were "modern kids".

    All that said, yeah, it’s pretty funny.

  11. I-Shaolin says:

    FYI, it’s Electronic Gaming Monthly.

    I never found those articles very believable.  I’m not saying that they were rigged or anything, but I think the kids were deliberately going for attention at times.

  12. Yes, this helps explain why Bomberman 3 (for Super Famicom) is the best game ever made!

  13. I’ve just noticed – your posts have been coming in at 4:00 AM instead of 7:00 AM for the past week.  Did you change your posting script, or did Community Server fix (or introduce) a time zone bug?

    [Thanks – fixed. There was some time zone instability introduced on CS on the 6th. I compensated for it on the 7th and then they fixed it on the 8th… -Raymond]
  14. ash says:

    I prefer the earlier posting, I can read new posts before I go to bed (in my timezone).

    [The time has always been the same (7am Pacific local time). It’s just that the timestamp is sometimes three hours off in one direction or the other. -Raymond]
  15. Kelli Zielinski says:

    That’s a classic EGM article there; the second one just doesn’t compare to the first one, though.  Maybe they got kids that didn’t get bored as easily the second time around.

    I do tend to think the kids are likely picked on their ability to mouth off.  

  16. ash says:

    [The time has always been the same (7am Pacific local time). It’s just that the timestamp is sometimes three hours off in one direction or the other. -Raymond]

    That’d be daylight saving time that’s let me read your posts earlier, then. My bad.

  17. Eric says:

    Comments such as "Becky: It’s Zeus. He’s taking you to the Acropolis" and "The score is tied. This  is so exhiliarating!" make me doubt the veracity of the first article. I mean, that’s a lot of vocabulary for 12 year olds.

  18. RACKSHACKNBENNY says:

    It is true that kids have changed.  I collected Wacky Packages as a kid.  These were parodies of everyday products.  They have released four new series for the kids of today.  I tried turning my son onto these, but they just didn’t grab his attention.  The online games he plays (Runescape, etc.) is much more interactive and what kids look for today.  Marvel has a device that scans the trading cards and provides special abilities for the video game player.  It is a clever way of "marrying" the two.  I had actually thought of the same idea, but obviously someone beat me to it.  I really love parody.  Silly Supermarket Stickers compete with Wacky Packages.  Silly Supermarket Stickers are sold at http://www.sillysupermarket.com.  Here are a couple good examples:

    http://www.hipsteria.com/wacky/nontopps/sillysupermart3/krustykreme_cardfront.shtml

    http://www.hipsteria.com/wacky/nontopps/sillysupermart3/28_spite.shtml

    Pretty funny…

    Rack

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