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Old December 17, 2015, 09:53   #1
Wanderlust
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Is Angband healthy for 6-year olds?

I have a 6 year old son, Mark, who's really interested in Angband. He can't handle the keyboard, but he provides running commentarry ("oh, those snagas are no problem!") and supports strategic decision-making ("ok! there's tons of items around, let's get 'em. but don't forget to check for traps first!")

The interesting thing is, as a 6 year old he hasn't actually learned to read yet. In fact Angband is starting to teach him the letters of the alphabet.

The thing is, as a father of 4, I have seen my older boys play crappy videogames, wasting their time even though they're actually quite intelligent and one of them is a competitive chess player. With my 4th, one of my goals is to really introduce him to quality gaming and make sure he'll never be a victim of marketing brainwashing that will try to steal his joy and turn him into another consumer.

On the other hand Angband might actually be character-building (sorry)

So in a way I see Angband as a kind of defense for him, against the consumer game industry ...

On the other hand, Angband can be pretty addictive ...

Basically I'm wondering whether or not playing Angband is a healthy activity for a kid of that age to do with his dad. I'm interested in any interesting or unique perspectives anyone here has on this question.
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Old December 17, 2015, 10:33   #2
Carnivean
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No kids here, but he displays a healthy attitude. If you were to supervise and limit his session's durations, I can't see any reason why you shouldn't encourage him to play.

I also see many positives in the experience. The game isn't going to give him a participation award, so he'll have to earn everything he gets. It'll teach patience and risk vs reward, which are things that many people get to adulthood and beyond without learning.

On the negative side, he might sublimate the hidden messages of the game: materials gains trump self improvement, money is easy to acquire (especially through murder) and that the only way to the top is to murder everyone and everything.
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Old December 17, 2015, 10:42   #3
Timo Pietilš
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderlust View Post
The interesting thing is, as a 6 year old he hasn't actually learned to read yet. In fact Angband is starting to teach him the letters of the alphabet.
Just pile Tolkien books for him to learn reading. Tell him that most of the unique monsters come from those books.

I think I was seven year old when I read LoTR first time. Before that there were bunch of detective stories and some science fiction novels. Learning to read ASAP is a skill he will benefit a lot.
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Old December 17, 2015, 14:41   #4
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I don't have any kids either, but as someone who started playing roguelikes in general after getting fed up with the overall poor quality of consumer games these days, I can't see what would be wrong with letting a kid play Angband. It may lead to some awkward questions about what it means when Draebor gives him the finger and violates him (though someone can probably tell you a way to change the messages for the insult attack), but on the whole, I don't think there's any more objectionable content in Angband than there was in games like Castlevania or Super Mario Bros, and besides, it's a great game. Aside from the positives that Carnivean mentioned, it can also teach about the importance of learning from your mistakes and about making decisions based on anticipating what might go wrong with a situation.

Of course, you'll want to pay attention to how much he's playing and make sure that he's not neglecting more important things, but the fact that you can stop at any time and pick right back up from there later should help with relieving some of that "just one more level" mindset.
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Old December 17, 2015, 15:31   #5
tprice
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I learned to touch type by playing Moria late at night with the lights off when I was supposed to be asleep. ;-)

Since he isn't' up to reading full on Tolkien yet if letters are just being learned then i recommend the Rob Inglis narrated audio books. He has such a great reading voice for Tolkien in my opinion.
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Old December 17, 2015, 16:29   #6
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I don't think it would be harmful. I think it requires some imagination to see ascii on the screen and envision monsters, treasure, etc. As said above, just limit levels.

That said, what about Minecraft? I've never played, but that seems like a great sandbox game that probably has more of an upside for child development. Or maybe something like one of the Civilization games played on easy.

If you read the Hobbit to your kids, they will remember that forever!
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Old December 17, 2015, 18:43   #7
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Roverandom is also a nice children's book by JRRT. Now that I think of it, it would be a nice cameo to add a themed unique C or Z.
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Old December 17, 2015, 18:49   #8
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Letting a kid play Angband will, however, ruin their appreciation for mainstream games. Or at least it did for me! I discovered roguelike games when I was 12, and though I don't have the tenacity to stick with them like some people do, they have definitely changed my perspective on mainstream games. I often find myself asking why I'd bother paying $60 for a linear, ten hour game with little to no depth or replay value when I have Angband, ToME, Crawl, and other games available!
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Old December 17, 2015, 22:25   #9
Ingwe Ingweron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowman View Post
Of course, you'll want to pay attention to how much he's playing and make sure that he's not neglecting more important things, but the fact that you can stop at any time and pick right back up from there later should help with relieving some of that "just one more level" mindset.
Hmmm, I think I need help with this one....
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Old December 18, 2015, 07:41   #10
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I think what happens here is that your son likes angband because you like it. You enjoy playing it and that is what he wants to emulate, it's all about the father-son experience. I suppose you do a lot of explaining when you are playing and that's what draws him in. You can let him play but I would guess it's only interesting to him as long as you are playing with him. It's still a great thing to do with your kid but I think the actual game of angband has fairly little to do with it.
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