Sunday, August 5, 2012

Savor the Victory, Perry!

 Games have a lot of elements that are intended to keep you playing long after you finish the main story. There's a lot there to keep you occupied (just like there are a lot of different Kirbys for you to use for your battles, as these illustrations by the boy show - that's my tie-in for today's drawings and even though it's weak, it's the one I'm using today).

When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we went to a casino to see what it was like. We earmarked $20 for the excursion and played the slot machines. Every attempt had a lead-up, the moment, and the aftermath. I chanted my good luck mantras, pulled the handle, watched the spinning dials eagerly, and made the appropriate groans and gasps whether I won or lost. I saw other people, mostly seniors, who took a decidedly different approach. I vividly recall one elderly lady, who was tethered to an oxygen tank with one string and had her pre-paid gambling card tied to her with another lanyard. Rather than pull the arm, she pushed a button, and rarely paused in between pushes. She won - she pushed. She lost - she pushed. Her reaction didn't differ in the slightest. This is supposed to be fun? What happened to enjoying each moment as it goes? What happened to taking your time?

My son reminds me a bit of that old lady in the casino. We uploaded "Where's My Perry", a puzzle game, to the iPad last night. The full game has 80 levels - and he's done them all, in less than a day. He's still tinkering with the game to ensure he has earned full points on each stage. He raced through them at a dizzying pace. The same goes with Angry Birds. He had Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Seasons and we just bought the original. I finally tried it out myself, with my hubby watching. We talked about the trajectories, admired the handiwork after launching a bird, discussed strategy for the next assault, and so on. That was with one encounter - I think it took me at least 5-10 minutes. I watched my son play a round that he was having trouble with and he'd speed through them. He had three red birds at his disposal to accomplish his goal and he kept missing one of the pigs on the edge. The minute he realized he didn't succeed, he wouldn't even wait to see if the buildings fell; he'd hit buttons to go back and try again. Finally, he was able to destroy all the pigs, with just two pigs instead of the allotted three. Instead of watching his victory, he clicked and moved on.

Now, I have to give the boy his due - he does enjoy watching his wins on things like Mario Kart and explaining his successes to a camera. I'm not sure why this tendency to "stop and smell the virtual roses" isn't consistent throughout all his game play experiences. I thought the Perry game was interesting - it deals with water in its various stages of matter, from steam to liquid to ice, and you had to manipulate the elements to achieve your goal. Maybe if he's willing to share, I'll get a chance to play on the iPad. I'm signed up for a class next Thursday to learn how to use the iPad and some of the games I can get on there a little better.

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