My kids are not so much into movies.

I have tried to introduce them to some of the old Disney classics, like Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty — and even some newer ones, like Hercules and The Little Mermaid. But. My kids just can’t get into them.

I’m not going to analyze why that should be; though the new things my kids like are flashy and active and most of those old movies are very slow. I could pine for the days when kids had the attention span to hold through slow parts and didn’t need to be constantly stimulated.

What I want to do, however, is point out a side effect of one of Disney’s video game efforts that our family has enjoyed. (Is enjoying. Will continue to enjoy?) Because my kids DO like video games, and while not all of Disney’s video game efforts have taken our fancy, one in particular has become a family favorite.

The first Kingdom Hearts game came out in 2002, when I was expecting my first child. We bought it because it was created by SquareSoft (now Square Enix), who were also in charge of the Final Fantasy series of games. We were skeptical at how the game would work, because we knew it would combine a lot of characters from the Disney movies (including having Donald and Goofy as major characters) and we were afraid that would be kind of silly. But since I was on partial bed rest and had pregnancy brain, and later was caring for an infant, which meant my creativity was nil and I couldn’t focus enough to work on anything meaningful, I ended up playing Kingdom Hearts quite a bit in my down time.

And you know what? The couching story SquareSoft created for the game was really interesting. And it made tying in all those worlds from all those different movies make sense. Plus they added cameos from characters from their other games (Final Fantasy games, primarily) which became fun encounters.

It has had a couple interesting side effects.

First off, because the first game was so engaging (and the ending was partially UNRESOLVED >:I) we felt as though we HAD TO GET THE REST OF THE GAMES just to get some closure. Plus they introduced other fascinating original characters whose stories unfold in yet other games. And you know what? Some of their stories are Not Happy. But we love them anyway. (In spite of that? Because of that?)

Second, because the games introduce different Disney worlds and characters, the kids have started to pick up some of those old Disney films and say things like “Hey, this Maleficent is from Kingdom Hearts.” And I can say to them, “No, actually… you want to see what her REAL story was like?”

And sometimes… just sometimes… they say, “Yeah! I think I’d like that.”