So I have a decently large family and Xmas day can get pretty crazy sometimes.
This year, we had 20 - 30 something people all crammed into a house, with 5 of them being children under 10.
My job was to handle the entertainment, and over VR: I picked the Switch.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (MK8D):
It is fair to say that MK8D stole the show.
Over the base version, the Switch’s Deluxe upgrades, really made an already wonderful game: godly.
With all the children being under 6, and with most of them having no video game experience: the assist modes in MK8D really played a key role in their enjoyment of the game.
I stated them off on 50cc, but I had complaints that it was too slow (the kids kept asking to go faster), so we moved up to 100 then 150cc.
The assist features, were able to keep them on track for the most par, and ensured we did not have to wait long for people to finish; they were visibly and audibly having a blast.
Controls wise, the assist features ensured that pretty much everything was handled automatically.
The kids found the analog sticks to be easy to grasp, but the triggers really tripped them up.
I am not sure if the triggers were too obtuse, or too hard to reach comfortably; I hope they can bind the item use, to the Y button in the future.
Menus proved to be too cumbersome during the play session.
The character select screen caused a few issues, with regards to not being able to quickly see what cursor was theirs.
The character select screen could be the cause of many fights during normal, unsupervised play sessions.
Children yelling at each other to stop moving their cursors, so the individual can see what square they are moving around is evidence of some bad design.
Luckily I was able to minimise this by keeping track the controller’s colours, this should be made simpler in future iterations.
Ensuring that everyone was ready, and has confirmed everything, was also pretty challenging.
Pressing the "b" button will send the child back, this made it difficult: as they would often do so accidentally.
Kart customisation went over rather well with the children.
At one point, a child cried out: "My kart is the best; I made the best kart for this track; my kart is perfect"(Blue Falcon with some monster tires, whilst using Mario).
This would seem to indicate a level of ownership: it is quite possible that this is caused or enhanced by the the kart customisation system.
Item boxes and items proved to be highly effective at entertaining the children.
The children found pulling the left trigger to be difficult, but within an hour they were mostly able to get past that.
I guess a Bullet Bill, is just that powerful.
Delight shook the room each time a child received a Bullet Bill from an item box, and shrieks of joy could be heard each time they activated a mushroom.
Add a party mode.
Mario Kart is a party game; I think it would be very useful if: in the next iteration of Mario Kart, we had a mode that allowed us to more easily cycle players.
Currently it takes too many button presses and too much checking to see if everyone is ready; lowering the latency between end of game, and new game could be revolutionary for Mario Kart.
Adding challenges and a variety of fun game modes into a rotation could be a nice way to add variety to a party mode.
Nintendo could use the NFC reader and print some Amiibo cards or chips, to help people keep track of their points, if desired.
Better acknowledgement of the player’s actions.
It seems that damage numbers is the way of the future, people really seem to like receiving that kind of feedback.
My suggestion is for Nintendo to experiment with adding a hit register feature / system.
Kind of like a Kill / Death / Assist message in a first person shooter.
The game needed a way for me to better manage what was happening on screen, especially as I was not playing the game.
I think it would be very useful to parents, guardians or caretakers to have a control assist / override mode.
Something that allows a third party to pick up a fifth controller to help the younger children avoid messing about in the menus.
This type of feature would allow players and parents to get what they want in a much shorter time span.
That is probably enough text for one thread.
Hopefully you can take something away from this one.
I found the time I spent, to be very valuable at better understanding the viewpoint of someone who has never played video games before.
I look forward to reading your comments.