Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
18 August 2008
Super Mario Bros. 3 Skillz
My son and I recently began playing Super Mario Bros. 3 on the Game Boy Advance. He's found it much easier than Super Mario World.

After his first day of kindergarten, I found him hanging around in the gymnasium with all the other kids in the after-school program. They'd set up a lot of different things to do, one of which was an old-style NES with several games -- including Super Mario Bros. 3.

And there he was, holding one of the controllers, and watching this other kid -- slightly older than my son -- struggle to figure out the NES controller and understand SMB3. The other kid would hold the controller with one hand (not unlike a Wii controller, but I am not sure there's a connection there) and press the directional pad and then press the jump button, all with his pointer finger. Sort of like holding a calculator in one hand and pressing the buttons with one finger of your other hand.

To his credit, my son stood silently watching the other kid struggle and made no comment on the lack of understanding or skills. Once the other kid lost his turn, my son very competently finished a level. Not perfect -- I also made no comments -- but still showing some poise. The other kids, to this father's eyes, seemed somewhat impressed.

Then I told him we had to leave and we took off. He put the controller in someone else's hand and off we went. I think I'm beginning to understand that even though I wince when my son doesn't do well playing games at home, he's getting an education playing games around me that other kids simply won't get.

Then again, I don't play sports games, and that will no doubt be a blind spot for him. Oh well.

---

Then today my son completed his first save-point-to-save-point section of SMB3 nearly by himself. Most of the time I've had to do a level for him, usually after he's spent a good time trying and failing on his own, but he surprised me by showing me that he'd reached the mini-boss and asked me to do the honors of finishing it off. He's still intimidated by the bigger enemies, but I suspect he'll eventually manage his anxiety after he learns that these things inevitably are simple after a bit more practice.

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--Matt Matthews at 21:21
Comment [ 1 ]

Comments on this post:

To his credit, my son stood silently watching the other kid struggle and made no comment on the lack of understanding or skills.

That's to one's credit? Help the poor young sap!

...even though I wince when my son doesn't do well playing games at home, he's getting an education playing games around me that other kids simply won't get.

Poor, poor C~n. Hopefully said tongue in cheek. ;^)

By Blogger ruffin, at 19 August, 2008 14:34  

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