Educational retro games advice

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mad_ady
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Educational retro games advice

Unread post by mad_ady » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:25 am

I'm thinking of setting up a XU4 with either batocera/recalbox or meveric's Gamestation Turbo as a gaming platform for the kids.
I may be using multiboot and use Android as well. I'm thinking of hacking the power button and make it work as an OS selector.

Now, i need to sort out some hardware and software aspects and I need your help (I have no experience with retro consoles - I've been a PC and keyboard user all my life):
1. What controllers should i get? I want them to be usable in most games and also on Android. Hardkernel's joypad seems quirky and needs special mapping per game. I would prefer something wireless (bluetooth?) since the sofa is about 3m away from the TV
2. In order to pass this project past the wife it needs to have a high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). For this I will need to market it as being a platform for educational games. Can you guys recommend games that develop reading/writing (typing)/math/logic that would be suitable and entertaining enough for a 6 year old? I'm thinking of "The incredible machine" :)
3. Should I go with Android and run an emulation platform, or is it better to run dualboot? Do game launchers also support native games (like hedgewars?) or PC games (dosbox)? Are controllers adequate for them? Can they emulate a mouse where needed?

Thanks!

PS: What cutoff options do I have? Can I impose a maximum playtime per day? And have the odroid pause/shutdown when the limit is reached?

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meveric
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Re: Educational retro games advice

Unread post by meveric » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:22 am

mad_ady wrote:1. What controllers should i get? I want them to be usable in most games and also on Android. Hardkernel's joypad seems quirky and needs special mapping per game. I would prefer something wireless (bluetooth?) since the sofa is about 3m away from the TV
Most compatible with most games/emulators is XBox 360 controller. Many games have build-in XBox 360 support even if they do not support any other controller.
Another good option would be GameSir G3s as this controller has different game mods and pretends to be XBox360 or a controller for Android.
XBox360 requires a wireless PC dongle but one dongle supports up to 4 controllers, so that's nice as you only use one USB port.
My Image comes preconfigured for XBox360 controllers, so everything should work out of the box.
Normally retroarch support joystick autoconfig which I use but I don't know if other images do this. It's quite handy as it configures all emulators automatically.
mad_ady wrote:2. In order to pass this project past the wife it needs to have a high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). For this I will need to market it as being a platform for educational games. Can you guys recommend games that develop reading/writing (typing)/math/logic that would be suitable and entertaining enough for a 6 year old? I'm thinking of "The incredible machine" :)
When I prepared an ODROID for my nephews (when they were 3 and 6 years old) I told their mom (my sister) that since I (or the parents) can put games on their, they decide what their children are allowed to play, it reduces the risk of them coming in contact with games that are not "good" for them.
Also I could add some Movies and TV shows on it, as I used Kodi as a frontend.. So not only gaming, but also video content that was approved by parents ;)
No internet required, so no youtube etc.
Aside from that, when they get older it's a full linux desktop, so they can use it to do homework, writing or spreadsheets in libreoffice, browsing the web when they are allowed.. that kind of stuff.
To directly answer your question.
There are a lot of children games in the ScummVM library especially from Humongous Entertainment: http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/Humon ... ment/Games
Series like Putt-Putt and Freddi the Fish are made for children and are some kind of pre-school education.
There are probably other games outside of Humongous Entertainment for scummvm that are very educational or just suitable for children as well.
I can suggest more from the large library if you like.
Some consoles also had a few educational games, but I guess you find more on PC probably for DOS.
Also Linux has quite some educational educational software available as well try apt-cache search junior
Of cause this requires a Linux Desktop.
mad_ady wrote:3. Should I go with Android and run an emulation platform, or is it better to run dualboot?
Depends on your preferences I guess.
It's probably harder to get gamepad support for all games/emulators under Android, and you might have to configure more of them individually while with Linux they work out of the box.
But graphics and available software for Android is very impressive.
Still I have the feeling many children lack coordination. My 6yo nephew really had issues playing a game with a gamepad.. even if it was just pressing left or right and one button to drive forward (racing game) this was somewhat hard for him to understand and he kept looking on the gamepad and not on the screen.
The 3yo figured it out much faster.

I guess many children nowadays are like this:
Image
mad_ady wrote:Do game launchers also support native games (like hedgewars?) or PC games (dosbox)?
By now most of them are but it's sometimes a little harder to set it up. But since you are setting it up and not your children, it shouldn't be too much of a hassle.
Retroarch even has a dosbox core, not sure how fast it it though.. the standalone is much faster.
Best ask someone that has done it already to help you set it up... Once you know how it works it's probably easy :)
mad_ady wrote:Are controllers adequate for them?
Yes, Controllers are much easier to understand than mouse and keyboard if they are little and they can control nearly everything with it.
mad_ady wrote:Can they emulate a mouse where needed?
I use something called antimicro on my GameStationTurbo image, it map nearly anything you want to your controller.
Including entire mouse movements and clicks, even keystrokes (you could type an entire text with the click of a button if needed).
It's very handy and rather easy to configure.
mad_ady wrote:PS: What cutoff options do I have? Can I impose a maximum playtime per day? And have the odroid pause/shutdown when the limit is reached?
Android I'm not familiar with, but under Linux, you can script everything you want.
A simple idea:
A cronjob that runs every minute (or every 5 minutes).
And writes a log file.
First line current date: `date +%Y%m%d` -> 20171109 -> first check current date != first line -> new day timer = 0
Second line -> playtime in minutes -> add 1 or 5 to the value (depending how often you run the script) in that line and rewrite the line each time until a certain limit is reached, then do whatever (poweroff, show a lock screen, something like that)
That's just a few lines of code and runs in the background, so they never know where it is :)
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Re: Educational retro games advice

Unread post by mad_ady » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:54 am

Thank you for your advice!

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Re: Educational retro games advice

Unread post by mad_ady » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:55 am

@meveric: can you recommend a split-screen karting game suitable for kids? I'm thinking of Mario Kart - but what platform? Target device is H2 running Linux.
Thanks
Regarding the time-limit program - it's under way, with lots of features :)

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Re: Educational retro games advice

Unread post by meveric » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:54 am

SNES should be fine.. there aren't many consoles with good games like this and multiplayer.
PSP has some nice racing games for children (Disneys Cars) but they aren't multiplayer.
PSX has some games but not too many I guess and I'm not sure if they are really good for children.
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mad_ady (Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:24 am)
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Re: Educational retro games advice

Unread post by meveric » Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:52 am

PSX:
Crash Team Racing
N64:
Diddy Kong Racing (has some nice variety)

There really aren't many that come to my mind :(
Most racing games I played were either for the Amiga, or later PC, both not necessarily child friendly or multiplayer (Lotus - Turbo Challenge, Carmageddon, Sega Ralley, etc.)
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mad_ady (Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:21 pm)
Donate to support my work on the ODROID GameStation Turbo Image for U2/U3 XU3/XU4 X2 X C1 as well as many other releases.
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Re: Educational retro games advice

Unread post by mad_ady » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:21 pm

Carmageddon - how could I miss that one :) :D

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Re: Educational retro games advice

Unread post by meveric » Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:17 pm

one other which is more complicated.. Star Wars Racer for the Dreamcast.
That's a very excellent game. I always played the PC version, but Dreamcast is nearly as good.
Just don't try the N64 version, that one is terrible.
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mad_ady (Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:35 pm)
Donate to support my work on the ODROID GameStation Turbo Image for U2/U3 XU3/XU4 X2 X C1 as well as many other releases.
Check out the Games and Emulators section to find some of my work or check the files in my repository to find the software i build for ODROIDs.
If you want to add my repository to your image read my HOWTO integrate my repo into your image.

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