Since I’ve become a father, I’ve gone from fretting from the paucity of AO games to the paucity of EC games. Nintendo, the most family-friendly of the three major console producers, lists only six EC-rated games on its site, three for the DS and three for the Wii. That leaves us to look for E games that are still somewhat appropriate for a toddler.
One of these is Hello Kitty Party for the DS, which has very little by the way of challenge and many activities that can be successfully completed by hitting the screen with the stylus. It has bright colors and sounds that one would normally associate with Hello Kitty.
Kidlet (now 15 months old) absolutely loves to watch the screen and try to complete the tasks, or to watch Mom or Dad play with it. Unlike the other DS games that he really enjoys watching (such as Guitar Hero), there are few activities here that will be damaged by a toddler’s interruptions.
The “game” consists of a group of tabs representing various steps in throwing a party, each of which has one or more activities tied to a character. For instance, on the cooking tab, select Keroppi to boil the food, Hello Kitty to wash the vegetables, and so on. There is no scoring system, and no real consequence for getting things right or wrong. A few of the activities are challenging (especially frying and Keroppi’s maze game), but most are very simple, and many can be done by just randomly tapping the screen (such as the ironing game and “What was in the shopping cart?”).
For an older child, I’m sure this game would get boring quickly, but for a toddler, it’s very engaging.