Fat Mogul vs. That Thing I Said Yesterday (also cute kid stuff)

downloadAlright, alright, you’ve all made your point.  After many many passionate responses to my continued comments about how I am an atrocious marketer (I definitely appreciated the person who told me I was just being a diva about the whole thing), I’m finally backing down.  I will do better at marketing my book.  One of the things I’ve heard most often stated by those who have actually succeeded in marketing a self-published book effectively is to take the time to do one thing each day that would count as an attempt to sell your book.  That’s my new resolution.  I will do this and see how long I can make it before my brain implodes with sales-y slimeyness.

But.. since I’m now going to do some marketing, I don’t really want to spend any more time talking about it today…so, instead, I’m going to talk about my kids…because, you know, I haven’t done that in a while.

Recently, my daughter became aware of the fact that she can actually play video games.  No longer is my life filled with the wonders of handing her some random controller-looking object and asking her if she wants to “play with me”.  Nope, now she actually wants to play with me…and she is addicted!

This isn’t an entirely new situation.  It began shortly after Christmas where her eyes glowed brightly with the images of the new Super Mario 3D World I was playing, thanks to my family for knowing it’s what I wanted under the Christmas tree. She would watch for long periods of time, entranced by the new Kitty Mario as well as the fact that she could actually be Princess Peach.  It was a magical moment…

So, of course, me being the father who likes to try to get my kids to work on new skills…I said, “Hey, you want to try?” and offered her a controller as I walked out of the room to do some fatherly task like, I don’t know, kicking my son in the butt.  I left the room because this was not the first time she had played a video game…and she was horrible at it.  I just couldn’t watch her repeatedly walk into walls for hours on end.

I returned to the room not too long after she had started playing and, of course, she was in the midst of walking directly off a ledge to Peach’s demise.  I laughed and sat down next to her, deciding I would attempt to do a bit of teaching on the many skills required in moving an avatar in directions that wouldn’t cause the life count to decrease as such a rapid rate.

Here we are approximately 3 months later, and my daughter has actually become something of a talent (for that one game).  She definitely can outplay her mother now (which, admittedly, is not that much of a skill), and can actually complete levels on her own.  In fact, I’m impressed at how well she can attempt to learn new platforming skills when approached with new puzzles within the game.  She’s still got a long way to go, but her growth over these past few months has been impressive.

But what I find even more amazing is her ability to transfer these skills onto other games.  Now, she’s horrible at pretty much every other game at this point, as she’s really only spent the time playing the one.  But, she is able to pick up the basic concepts of a game through trial and error rather quickly.  A few weeks ago we put on Mario Kart, because it’s a game my wife actually enjoys playing, and although she was almost always in last place, it was only a matter of minutes before she understood how to utilize the controller to get the car moving in the direction she wanted (mostly), even with me telling her incorrect directions on how to do so based on my never using that control method.

Last week, at her request, we put in Ghostbusters, a game who’s control scheme I had completely forgotten and is atrocious even for Nintendo-savvy gamers like myself.  It took her a bit of work, but she finally got control of her avatar and even managed to shoot a couple ghosts a couple times.  I was, needless to say, impressed.

But here’s the thing…even though my daughter has the skills growing inside that cranial cavity to play these games, most of the time she completely shuts that brain off when the screen turns on.  So, although I know for a fact that she can actually walk toward an intended goal with most control schemes, especially that of Super Mario 3D World, she does, in fact, still kill off Mario characters at speeds Bowser and his Koopalings could only dream of.

Which has caused me to wonder…is it possible that’s how my brain reacts to video games now that I play them more out of muscle memory than actual puzzle-solving brain power?  Is it possible that I just got to be rather good at video games through years and years of having those short moments of video game lucidity in between long, drawn-out bouts of drooling with a controller in my hand?

I don’t believe so, but watching my daughter melt into the couch has definitely gotten me questioning the fact.  As it is, her game time is severely limited, since I fear her being eaten by the couch cushions.

Also…Super Mario 3D World is a pretty great game, especially for fans of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World.

Have fun out there!

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