When Gabe was young(er), I was very conscious about not playing games in front of him. I wanted him to develop other interests before he discovered video games, which was obviously inevitable in this house. We gave him a MobiGo when he was 3, which has mostly educational games, but I didn’t let him near my handhelds or the big console games at all. I wouldn’t even let him watch me play when he crawled out of bed to get a glass of water, ask question, etc.
Of course I couldn’t keep him from this stuff forever. When he was in preschool, he watched the after-school kids play Super Mario Kart Wii and always asked me why he couldn’t play it at home. (The answer was we didn’t have a Wii, but he didn’t quite understand that since he knows I have game consoles.) And of course he would wander into my office, see the games, and ask me if he could play them or watch me play. The answer was always no until this past weekend.
He’s really into Batman as of late, and naturally, he has an affinity toward LEGOs, so yes, he’s asked me once or twelve times if he could play my LEGO Batman 2 game. Saturday, we sat down for some co-op. I really thought that a LEGO game would be a great way to introduce him to console gaming, especially since our Wii U is arriving very soon with his very first console game, LEGO City Undercover, a game he’s been begging me for since we saw it at Best Buy (you bastards). (And yes, he has no idea that Disney Infinity exists, and I’m doing my best to keep it that way, thank you.)
I realized very quickly in that perhaps LEGO Batman 2 isn’t the best starter game. The controls are a little more complicated than I thought, and it kind of helps if you can read the instructions. I tried to explain to him what to do, but he kept getting confused. I had to swap controllers with him often to get through parts. Maybe he’ll get it with time, but for now, it’s a little much. That hasn’t dampened his spirits, though; he’s been asking if we can play again practically every day.
So perhaps it’s time he learns how to play console games the way his father and I did–with Super Mario Bros. Whenever the Wii U gets here, I plan on buying SMB via the Virtual Console and telling Gabe that as soon as he beats that game, I’ll buy him another. I then remembered that I have SMB on my 3DS thanks to the early sucker adopter program Nintendo had. I showed him how to play, and then I watched him get just as frustrated as we all did the first time we played.
He’s already asked for a different game. I told him he had to practice, that he would get better each time he played. I even reminded him how bad he was at Angry Birds at first, and now he’s better than his father and me. He said he would try, and he played for another few minutes before asking if he could watch a movie instead. I think he’ll enjoy the game a little better on the big TV instead of the small 3DS, but we’ll see.
I wonder what game I should torture him with next whenever he does beat SMB. And, should I tell him about the Warp Zones? That may be too cruel to keep that from him.