Core Behavior Skills

Video Game Recommendations

What five year old boy does not want to be that knight, venturing across the field with his sword? What young girl doesn’t crave the thrill of being an undercover detective like Carmen Sandiego?  Sometimes your child might want the hottest most highly rated or anticipated games in the market. But is purchasing that game the best option for your child? Let alone the confusing rating system that does not tell you much about the games content. Such as, what content does the game feature to be given a rating in the first place?

The CBS team came up with a list of several games with a different perspective from the fun factor alone. In this opinion piece, the list is designed to inform the parent what potential benefits a game can have that could enforce your child’s development.

When we have a child play video games we are thinking of what skills can we enhance using the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA).  This can include sharing, taking turns, reading, problem solving, and visual/fine motor skills. For example, the child could be prompted to read the text below presented in the game Cuphead.

The list of games features two rating systems (i.e., ESRB & PEGI) plus our own minimum age rating recommendation. The CBS Rating is a  minimum age range recommendation based on the games content and purpose (e.g., problem solving, reading, taking turns). 

ESRB PEGI CBS Rating Purpose
ESRB_Everyone.svg 3_black 3+ Relaxation, strategy, visual-fine motor coordination.
Why we recommend it? Osmos is a fun game that is very PG and relaxing involving strategy and careful coordination. The game can help your child with visual and fine motor skills as it involves carefully moving a little ball to become bigger and bigger without being consumed by a bigger ball.
Cuphead: Don't Deal With The Devil
ESRB PEGI CBS Rating Purpose
ESRB_2013_Everyone_10+.svg 3_black 5.5+ Reading, visual-fine motor coordination, problem solving
Why we recommend it? Cuphead is a fun action packed game and when paired with parental supervision the parent can prompt the child to read the story clips before the child proceeds in the game. This strategy can motivate the child to read specially if they find it difficult. Plus the game features puzzles for the player to solve.
ESRB PEGI CBS Rating Purpose
ESRB_2013_Everyone_10+.svg 3_black 8+ Reading, exploration, solving puzzles and uncover mysteries

Why we recommend it? This game should be strongly considered as an alternative to Elden Ring since it has reading, exploration, problem solving, solve puzzles and uncover mysteries. The game has friendly interactions throughout the world plus a little bit of action to avoid dangers in the city.

The discrepancy in the age rating is due to what happens when the player looses similar to games like Mario or Crash Bandicoot (i.e., dies). The screen turns red or a strong “meow” is heard. Plus there is a scene where the cat can be shocked by a robot. That’s mainly the rationale for a high age rating.

The lowest age we recommend is 8+ if the child is a strong reader. If not, the parent should play the game and right down some sight words and prompt the child to read some of the dialog providing assistance.

Elden Ring
ESRB PEGI CBS Rating Purpose
ESRB_2013_Mature.svg 3_black 15+ Reading, exploration, strategy, patience

Why we recommend it? Elden ring hits all the check boxes when it comes to reading, exploration, strategy, patience, and learning to navigate a vast open world like no other game. It has amazing scenes, very beautiful background cinematic images. Plus it’s that game where you could be a knight in ironclad armor riding your horse to the battle field. However, we DO NOT RECOMMEND this game for ages less than 15 without parental supervision. Some of the areas content contain images and concepts that may not appropriate below the intended age groups. The most troublesome content we found in the game included the Dung Eater (dialog about defiling corpses) and the grafting of body parts that are on display in specific areas of the game. Plus, the game is extremely difficult.

This game does have story elements that involve a genocide, hanging, executions, hunting other players that may make some uncomfortable, therefore it may not be suited for them.

With this guide it is still important for parental supervision to take place. Game playing time is also a big aspect as to what games will be good. Knowing and understanding what type of game is appropriate (e.g., content, difficulty) for your child is crucial to help them the most.

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