5 Things to remember when making Art in Kids Games
What defines what a kid’s game looks like?
Should it be all cute and cuddly? Should it be educational or something hardcore that would help kids develop some survival instincts? Should it be all fun and games?
OF COURSE NOT!
The answer is simple: It can look like anything.
Look at games like Kirby and Sly Cooper. Those games get DARK and yet we don’t pay too much mind to it as kids since it’s all about the cute pink puffball and the funny one-liner spouting raccoon.
Making an artistic product with mass appeal is an extremely difficult task.
You have to make it distinct, memorable, appealing, and for the sake of kid’s games especially, make it easy to draw.
SO! How do you make sure that the art in kid’s games is compelling enough to exist as a happy memory as they grow up?
Well! Don’t worry ‘cause here are the 5 things that you need to remember when making art in kid’s games!
1. What’s popular?
Like I mentioned before you need to know what’s popular. There are literally millions of games out there that employ an outdated art style.
You need to do your research. The things that are popular on the Google play store and the Apple app store and why are they so popular? What differentiates them from the other apps? What sort of art style are they using? All those things.
Now when it comes to creating art for kids game things do tend to get a bit tricky. In a sense that most art that we are used to doing is for characters, enemies, aliens, guns and stuff but you need to be very careful when you make kids art.
Since you can’t make something that is a lot more mature with intimidating characters and duller colors instead you have to come up with something that is really cute and compelling, something that the kids can get attached to.
Back in the day, it was Angry Birds and Talking Tom, now it’s more like Brawl Stars and pretty much anything by SuperCell. Usually, kids gravitate towards already established properties like Batman and LEGO.
You take all that and figure out how you can innovate those things in a way that the kids are always playing them and then you can create something that is amazing!
Like we did with Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe. We did all the art-work for their game and have been provided with amazing feedback and since kids absolutely LOOOVE! Steven Universe, the game was a success. Kids were instantly hooked to it!
2. Attention-Grabbing Art Style
The first thing that you need to focus on is the Art Style. You need to know what sort of art style is popular and what sort of colors would be able to attract the right audience. Remember the old cartoons? Like Mickey Mouse, Sonic, Tom and Jerry, Mario, Thunder Cats, and Dragon Ball Z?
Were these names able to trigger some sense of nostalgia? Did you suddenly remember how they looked like and what colors their characters had? You did!? GREAT! Now I have your attention and that’s exactly my point.
We remember these characters because their designs and art style were unique. So when our artists are making art for kid’s games they make sure that their designs are unique and the colors that they choose are according to their targeted audience.
However, we definitely tend to get funkier the younger the target audience is, with unique shapes and proportions with interesting contrasting colors to grab their attention.
3. Exciting User Experience
Now, this is where all the magic happens. When making art for the user experience you need to make sure that you come up with something that is both compelling and simple.
In a sense that you should use bold colors for your user experience because it is extremely important so that kids know what’s going on at all times.
You need to give kids a lot to do in your game, and there needs to be a visual representation of the progress that they make, it needs to be clear and concise.
Even in the simplest of games where a kid just has to tap on the screen or mash a button, they want some kind of progression like a house getting bigger or a number going up.
For kids, it’s more about what they interact with the game and how they’ll be able to interact with it so it’s convenient for them. The user experience for kids needs to be easy to understand.
A lot of the games we work on have the appeal in them already, it’s definitely hard to find an appealing art style that kids will surely like but it’s harder to make it mesh with the user experience.
The same technique is an excellent way to design an educational game for kids since it’ll incentivize their learning experience. And they’ll learn and have fun at the same time, which is a fairly difficult task to achieve.
4. Hilarious Animations!
Imagine something heavy falling on someone! Now, most of you will imagine what would actually happen while some of you would imagine that person get squashed under the weight and after a minute of silence…. Something like this!
These animations were done so beautifully that everyone remembers some specific moment from those cartoons! If I were to say ‘MEEP MEEP’ or ‘BEEP BEEP’ you would know what I’m talking about!
The Art of that era has, as a wise man once said –
‘Inspired several generations of people who think they’ll reinflate rather than be instantly killed when heavyweights fall on them’ – Zaair.
Take a look at the animation that we did for our game – Boddle
The thing about art is that in some form and shape it is immortal. Remember Mario? Sonic? Bugs Bunny? Do you remember the episodes or the gameplay or do you remember how they look like?
Art, for commercial products such as video games, needs to be extremely distinct especially if you want those games to be remembered. That’s why mascot characters were so huge in the late ’90s and early 2000s. We ate that stuff up!
It’s art that sticks with us all the way and that’s what one should hope to achieve with their games.
When creating art for a game or anything else you have to realize how many characters there are that will be able to stand out to your targeted audience!
Like Link, Mario, Sonic, Sub-Zero, the dudes from Contra and Metal Slug, and pretty much all the Pokemon.
Something that is able to access those specific memories which makes the kid feel that the art that has been created is similar to what they’re used to seeing on the TV.
So you have to be up to date with what’s popular for kids, for example; I know that Cartoon Network has been amazing with its recent lineup of shows like The Amazing World of Gumball and Steven Universe.
You need to make sure that what you create is following the same beats but is also unique with your own personal touch to it.
So yeah, when creating art for kids we hope to create something that will stay with the kids all their life, something that they look back at when they’re 30 and smile as they are visited by nostalgia.
When creating a game for kids we make sure that it’s not all just fun and games. We hope that when kids play our games they also learn something from them.
To brag – We’ve developed a couple of games like ‘Boddle’ and ‘Coda Quest’.
Coda Quest is an MMORPG that we developed from scratch and is being piloted in schools in the US.
As for making the experience better, what we keep in mind is what the kids, who play our games, are getting out of it? Will they be able to learn something that will help in developing their personality?
Will they be educated?
Nevertheless, It’s a tough balance but if you manage to get it then that’s when you get a game that is rich in experience!
WOW…. Writing all this down has led me to remember when I was a kid and when I used to sit on the floor, eating my morning cereal and play games or watch cartoons.
Carefree days… Enough to make a grown man cry. *sniff sniff*
That’s all, Gamers! Until next time, PEACE!!
Do YOU have a Kids Game in mind? Would you like feedback for the idea or to talk about how much it would cost? Hit us up!