PAX Aus 2017: ‘Think of the Children’ (Review)

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PAX Aust game review 2017

I am going to start this review with a clear disclaimer. The Evil Genius family was not involved in the making of this game whatsoever. No matter how much you may think you see similarities between this game and my life in general, this game is NOT influenced, inspired, or imitating by my family at all. However, I challenge every GeekParent here to play Think of the Children and NOT feel, at some point, like you know exactly what is going on here.

What Is It: Think of the Children

Think of the Children is a new game, developed and published in Australia. The entire game is essentially parenting: you have a checklist of tasks to complete and a bunch of children to look after. Each scene is played as a flashback, presented as evidence in court to determine if you are a good or bad parent. For example, let’s see how you manage the everyday task of grocery shopping with children running around the store, determined to play with knives, pull-down shelves, locking themselves in the freezer, you name it.

This game is available in solo-parenting play or in same-screen multiplayer with up to four (4) parents. You can select any combination of parenting teams, which in itself is brilliant. No matter which characters you choose, you are all working cooperatively to complete each stage, but for the competitive parents, you still have the opportunity to score “best parent points”—just like real life.

PAX Aust 2017 game review

Is This Really Just Like Parenting?

Yes: Each stage becomes gradually more chaotic as you multi-task between ticking off your To-Do List and protecting your spawnlings. If that isn’t reflective of parenting, then I’m doing it wrong. It is absolutely hilarious when you see your more “organized” friends completely losing their mind in the chaos.

No: You often need to protect your children by “hammer-throwing” them away from danger. I do not recommend this in real-life. Child Protection Services usually frown on this type of thing. So I’ve learned.

Yes: You can team up with other people but this is no guarantee of making the game any easier to play. Sometimes your teammates will simply get in the way. #marriage

No: Okay, the visuals are very pixel-like and blockish in a very cutesy, simple, 1980s style. So, visually, I’m hoping your life doesn’t look like this. It’s still kind of adorable, though.

Yes: There are some amazing stages to complete, including grocery shopping, going to the beach, and preparing for a party. However, let’s be honest—the Australian Outback is the winner. Of course, Australia isn’t really that bad…

I’m Convinced. Where Do I Find It?

Think of the Children launched on Steam in mid-October, so it is available right now for about $10 (USD). The game is made by Jammed Up Studios and published by Surprise Attack.

I personally loved playing this game. It is definitely the kind of game you play with a couple of mates on the couch, laughing at your dismal parenting skills. It is all in good fun and plenty of kids out there will enjoy playing it with you.

The best way to describe this game is from an overheard conversation:

10-year-old daughter playing the game turns to her father and says, “Is this what parenting is like?”

He wipes a tear from his eye with a smile and simply answers, “Yep.”