Playing online games can be a fantastic outlet for your kids, but like all games, it’s important to distinguish between those that are appropriate for their age, and those that are too mature for them. Even if you do find games that are appropriate for your children, it’s even tougher to find games that are also fun. Fortunately, I’ve compiled a list of games that meet both those requirements, so if you’re looking for the perfect massively multiplayer online game for your kids, look no further.
CastleVille is a social game revolving around players building their own medieval empire. Your kids can build sprawling castles, construct magical items, and meet NPCs like dragon slayers and maidens. Kids make their own unique avatar, then set out building their land, while interacting with their friends via Facebook integration. Players can trade items and unlock new content, and it’s a lot of fun for kids to compare what they’ve built with others.
Wizard101 (and Pirate101)
For fans of wizarding schools, Wizard101 is fantastic. Kids can choose a school of magic (fire, ice, balance, etc.) and build their own wizard by fighting against foes using a turn-based combat system. Your kids grind levels just like in the mature MMOs, collecting spells (in collectible card form) for their arsenal as they go. There’s a large world for kids to explore, but interaction between players is less than most other titles in the genre.
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online
An MMO for kids based on Marvel Super Hero Squad, MSHSO has kids collecting groups of their favorite Marvel super heroes to go on missions against classic villains. Each of the missions throws dozens of baddies at the team, and your kids fight back using beat-‘em-up style game play. Your kids can level up their team of super heroes by fighting, which unlocks additional content for interacting with their friends online. MSHSO is a great option for little super hero fans.
Moshi Monsters is one of the better “adopt-a-pet” games for kids. While Moshi Monsters does have some physical merchandise, the bulk of the franchise is online. Kids select a pet from the starting roster of six, then customize it and take care of it in the various areas of Monstro City. Your kids can earn currency by completing challenges, which can then be spent to customize their pet, or add decorations to their own rooms. If they really enjoy the game, you can surprise them with a few Moshi Monster toys for them to play with in real life.
Probably the closest game on this list to a traditional MMO, Mabinogi is an anime-style MMORPG where classes are free-form, and made up entirely of the unique skills you or your kids choose as you play. Players can complete quests across sprawling worlds either solo or in groups, hunting monsters and leveling up to gain greater skills. Mabinogi features raid instances like your typical MMO, so if your kids are mature enough to handle what amounts to MMORPG-lite, or they like anime style games, Mabinogi might be a good fit for them.
Free Realms takes the sandbox genre approach to social gaming, placing players of all ages in an open, magical world where they can do practically anything they want (age-appropriate, that is). Kids create an avatar and pick classes like warrior, ninja, and mage, but the difference in Free Realms is in the amount of varied content the game has to offer. Kids can play mini-games like checkers, race cars against their friends, battle monsters in groups, own virtual pets, and collect trading cards. There’s a lot to do in Free Realms, so let your kids give it a try if they prefer social interaction in their games.
There are plenty of other titles out there for your kids to enjoy; these are only a few of the better and more fun ones. Make sure to do your research on a title (or play it yourself) before you let your kids log on; you can never be too safe when your kids are online.