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Wot I Think: Baby Games

Infantile gaming

I've been playing a new collection of games over the last few months, specifically tailored to the under one crowd, using some fairly low-tech equipment. Here's wot I think:


First invented in 16th century Italy, Peek-A-Boo's popularity has spread all over the world. Partly because of its relatively simple controls, and certainly to do with the combination of fear and relief, you'll likely find a box of Peek-A-Boo in any baby-containing house.

But does it stand up? I'm saying no. The problem is intrinsic in the game's design. The intention is that you cover your eyes, then uncover them again, and as such disappearing and reappearing right in front of the infant. But when one covers ones eyes to hide from the baby, you don't only disappear for the baby, but the baby also disappears for you. And as such, with the child to all intents and purposes entirely gone from the universe, it can become immediately confusing as to what you were supposed to be doing. Too often I've found myself wandering out of the room with my eyes covered, and then becoming engrossed in a dropped plastic bottle or beam of sunlight on the wall. The mechanics simply haven't been thought through, making this an extremely disappointing game.


Where's Lucy?!

Obviously the title of the game is adaptable to your own situation, but in our house we've gone with the cat's name. The game involves asking the baby where Lucy is, and the baby looking around in frenzied excitement to locate the current position of the cat. A Cat-pture The Flag if you will.

However, I've discovered the game is open to some serious griefing and abuse. It's possible to ask the baby, "Where's Lucy?!" when Lucy is in no way present, causing the player to stare around frantically, full of excited anticipation, only for no cat to be seen. There is currently no workaround to prevent my doing this, even when out in parks or other people's houses, where it would be entirely impossible for Lucy to appear in the first place. With such a huge flaw, it's obviously a problematic game.



The sequel to 1... TICKLE UNDER THERE was surely the best in the series. 1... 2... 3... TICKLE UNDER THERE, with its Oculus compatibility and hi-res tickling may be the most recent, but in my opinion, it steps too far away from what made 2 such a classic.

The secret is the purity of its core concept. It's essentially a game about tickling, the counting aspect kept to a minimum, and primarily used to build up anticipation. In practice, the tickling stage can go on for as long as either player wants or is willing to put up with, before having to return to a fresh count-in.

It's a splendid game, with remarkable replay value, and is currently genuinely free-to-play.



It's really not fair when he eats all the tiles and calls that winning.


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