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Cartoon Networks lessons learned on virtual worlds for kids August 7, 2008

Posted by jeremyliew in game design, kids, mmorpg, virtual worlds.

Via Izzy Neis, Virtual Worlds News posts a Q&A on Mini Match, Cartoon Network’s new virtual world. Some interesting lessons about how to design virtual worlds/MMOGs for kids:

Make it easy to get to the fun

To start with, we have three really simple games that you can jump into. Our thing was we didn’t want anyone to have to read directions. We’re going to introduce more games like that sort of simple, two-person game…

.. you don‘t have to wander around the map and find a game. All the games are at the top of the screen, and you can just drag it down and play it.

Make it easy to meet new people to play with/against

We had multiplayer gaming with digital trading cards, and we learned very quickly that kids need an instant match option. Particularly boys, but kids in general don’t run up to each other on the playground and say, “Hi I’m Molly, and I like juice.” They can play all afternoon and never get each other’s names. They don’t get a lot of biographical information.

Mouse is better than keyboard

Often we find that the kids interact just by dancing or the emoticons. Out of all the emoticons, the most popular is gas. So that’s not surprising.

Kids are explorers (of the Bartle player types)

And they love mysteries. They love these environmental games we’ve included where you bump into an item, and you’re turned into an alien, things like that. We’ve added mysteries and puzzles like that all over, and we’re adding more. It’s like Lost, except for I’ll promise you that you won’t have have to wait for six years to find out the answers.

Kids like exploring new identities (ie play acting) and self expression

The great thing about virtual interaction is that it’s still anonymous and safe. They can try out different identities, within reason, and play…

The other thing we’ve tried to introduce is a mix of modern fashion and a little bit of the fantastical. If you feel like looking like a pirate or alien or whatever or just layering your clothes, that’s there.


1. Pandemic 2 game - August 8, 2008

ugh, there are enough MMO’s out there already

2. wesker - August 9, 2008

yep, little kids get addicted to the computer once they find out what it can do

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