Monday, July 30, 2012

Mario Kart Tragedy and Lego Batman Triumph

ABC Wide World of Sports used to have a montage that went on about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, with a very famous video clip of a skier plummeting down a mountain. This week, my son has experienced both as he's played his favourite video games.

Paper Mario Helper Characters by The Girl
 My son is a Mario Kart expert but the one achievement that has eluded him is the mirror mode cup. He decided during this summer to try to capture this prize but it's very hard. He knows the tracks so well that he instinctively turns in the direction he knows that it goes - but in mirror mode, they are all reversed. He has to get first place in every race four times to earn the trophy and although he is improving, he wasn't able to get it. He had to go in his room to weep in frustration. Poor kid.

Don't feel too sorry for him, however, because he has been successful with another goal he set - to completely finish Lego Batman 2.

The Boy's Lego Heroica diagram.

 He has unlocked every single character, earned over a billion (yes, that's right, not a million but a billion) studs, and mastered every achievement, so much so that the civilians that used to run around Gotham in a panic are all gone - because everything has been solved. It took him about a month to complete. He was very excited to show Super Girl to his sister.

The boy perseveres when he wants to - not because of any artificial extrinsic rewards like badges and levels (please note the difference, educators who want to "gamify" things) but because he himself has chosen the goal. (Before I go off on a rant about two certain blogs I follow that ignore James Paul Gee's book and the lessons inside, I'll stop there.)

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