About a Girl: Game On

My daughter and I are in a current struggle over Super Mario Nintendo DS, most specifically the castle at the end of World – 1. I got hooked on the game myself and created a new file where I’m up to World – 3 now, but my kid is still stuck over on World – 1. What started as a good way to keep her entertained during long car drives and when LOST was on has turned into another one of my parenting dilemmas.

So I get to World – 2 and she’s all excited to see a new world since she’s been playing the same ones over and over again. I go ahead and let her play in World – 2 just so she can see it and have a break from dying in World – 1. I tell her not to save my game and she happily plays with those conditions.

A week later and I’m in World – 3. She’s still in World – 1, but now she keeps playing my saved game and just World hopping. This was cute for awhile, and then I suddenly got concerned over the fact that she still hadn’t beaten World – 1. That might sound crazy. Really. Who cares if my daughter’s not good at video games? There’s no law that says she has to be a Super Mario playing machine. It’s fine. Really. So why was something still nagging at me?

It finally dawns on me, and I say this with trepidation because it still sounds a bit like I’m reading to much into this. But to me it seems that my daughter went to the castle at the end of World – 1, died, and is now just playing the easier worlds over and over again. Let me break that down. In life, my daughter tried to defeat an obstacle, failed, and so decided to go back to the obstacles she already knew and was familiar with and could defeat without too much effort. Plus, by not trying to overcome the difficult obstacle, was unable to advance herself.

See, when you put it like that it sounds so much worse. Suddenly Super Mario Brothers is no longer a video game, but an indication at how a person views life.

It’s not just the Super Mario either. She has a stack full of Nintendo DS video games that she doesn’t bother with. The only ones she has shown any advancement in are the Cooking Mama series. For months she begged me for the new Alice in Wonderland game and when I got it for her, she was defeated by a plant in the first couple of minutes. She played for a few more minutes where the plant killed her a couple of more times, and then that was it. She hasn’t played the game since. The books she read have remained at a certain level for a little over a year now too. In school they are assigning other books, the kind without any illustrations. She seems hung up on Diary of a Wimpy Kid and select knock-offs.

I want her to challenge herself. I want her not to back down from so something so arbitrary as getting to World – 2. She wants to play different worlds? Then she has to stick it out, struggle and overcome the obstacles to get there. She wanted Alice in Wonderland for months. How can she give up so soon into the game?

So, task set. It’s time I face this challenge of giving my daughter some new values about facing challenges.

Game on.


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