Primary Education

"Daddy, what's that monster's name?"

"That's, uh, Mitey. He's a Mite. So Mitey the Mite, then."

"Oh. Daddy, what's that one's name?"

"That's Ken Griffey Jr., the Griffy."

"Oh. Is his name Griffy because he has wings?"

"… Sure. Let's go with that."

"Oh. Is that Oliver's monster?"

"No, right now the girl, Esther, is using Griffy. Oliver is using Mitey."

"Oh. Does Droopy have a monster?"

"No, Drippy doesn't fight in battle. He just jumps around on the sidelines."

"Oh. Daddy, Droopy is really silly."

"It's Drippy, honey. Drippy. And yes, he is."

"When Droopy wore the girl's hat, it was really silly, Daddy."

"Yes. Yes, it was."

"Daddy, why does that monster have a heart?"

"It has a heart over its head because it's ready to be tamed by Esther's song. See, we have to tame the monsters before they'll fight on Oliver's team. Watch, she'll take out her harp and tame the monster."

"Oh. Then we can feed the monster chocolate?"

"Yes, we can feed the monster candy after we've tamed it."

"Daddy, let's feed the monsters!"

"Okay, but we can't feed them much; they're still pretty full from when we fed them last."

"Oh. Daddy, let's feed the robot."

"Okay, honey. What should we feed him?"

"Um … give him the blue ice cream!"

"Okay, done. Now let's see if we can capture some more monsters."

"Daddy, I like Oliver's cape really much. I have a red cape, too."

"I know, honey."

"And I like his blue shirt."

"That kind of shirt is called a tunic, honey."

"Oh. But I don't like his pants, Daddy."

"No? Why not?"

"They're not my favorite."

"… Um, okay."

"Daddy, is Oliver looking for his mommy?"

"Well, that's originally why he set out. He's trying to do other things now, like help all the people in the towns we've come across. But yes, he's still looking for his mommy."

"Oh. He still hasn't found his mommy?"

"No, not yet, honey. But he hasn't given up looking."

"Maybe she's in the forest."

"Maybe. I guess we will find out soon enough. Should we go there next?"

"Yeah!"

"Okay. Let's heal up first."

"What's that blue stone for?"

"That's where Oliver can heal, and where we can save the game so we can turn it off and come back later. Do you remember? We've discussed this before."

"Oh. … Daddy, why do the monsters fight each other?"

"Well, that's arguably one of the central questions of society throughout all of history. But in this case, I guess, it's because Oliver's monsters are trying to subdue the other monsters so that we can tame them and they'll join our team."

"And feed them chocolate?"

"… Yes, and feed them chocolate."

Comments

Awesome. I have that conversation or a similar one every day with my three-year old.

Someone's been dropping eaves at my house....

Is it bad that I had a similar conversation with my wife?

CptDomano wrote:

Is it bad that I had a similar conversation with my wife?

If your wife says things like "really much" and "chocowit", probably.

Heh, my 3.5 year old niece was visiting our new house a couple weeks ago and we had conversations a lot like this.

"What's this?"

"That's soap."

"What's this?"

"Tweezers."

"What's this?"

"Oh you know what those are. For cutting fingernails."

etc etc!

Hey, nice terrible stock photo.

wordsmythe wrote:

Hey, nice terrible stock photo.

What? I totally thought Minarchist was that old.

[looks at photo] Damn, man, you're old.

This is just like my conversations with my daughter while she watches me play Minecraft.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

[looks at photo] Damn, man, you're old.

You guys never read my alt text

You claim it's a reenactment. Reenactments usually at least try to get the general descriptions correct. I can only assume that you're a balding grandfather inexplicably playing Ni No Kuni with a Sega Genesis controller even if you're not that specific balding grandfather inexplicably playing Ni No Kuni with a Sega Genesis controller.

Well, it was a Lifetime Original Series reenactment. Y'know, they're not big on accuracy.

It sounds like that playing with my daughter and she's 22.

And we will both concur that feeding my mitey Hubert chocolate may be "the single cutest thing, like, uh, ever."

Woah. There's alt text... O.O

I have had this conversation plenty o' times, too. Kids are great.

Answering my toddler's questions about the story and motivations of people in Lego games has proved to be an excellent exercise in my own understanding and in some cases imagination.

What I really enjoy is watching him run up against video game mechanics that a 15 year veteran takes for granted, and watch him solve them.

Great article. I look forward to similar conversations with my hypothetical-future-children.

Aries wrote:

Woah. There's alt text... O.O

Ditto. Now I need to go dig up Min's other articles.

Minarchist wrote:

Well, it was a Lifetime Original Series reenactment. Y'know, they're not big on accuracy.

Needs more man-hating.

There should be alt-text on all the images. Usually I stick with stuff to help screen-readers, though. That was pretty funny, Min.

My alt texts aim to please.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

You claim it's a reenactment. Reenactments usually at least try to get the general descriptions correct. I can only assume that you're a balding grandfather inexplicably playing Ni No Kuni with a Sega Genesis controller even if you're not that specific balding grandfather inexplicably playing Ni No Kuni with a Sega Genesis controller.

And here I was, thinking that this was an image from another world where Sega got the jimp on th Wii's marketing back when the Saturn came out. Also, I thought that they were Saturn pads...

Lets arguing over frivolous things!

Whatever the image, the era works for me. I had plenty of conversations like this back in the mid ninties when my siblings were still kids. The game is kind of irrelevant: could just as soon be Burning Rangers ("Where do you buy a thing that turns fire into crystals? Mum and dad should get one!";"Can we email that person back? She was my favourite.") as Ni no Kuni.

Garden Ninja wrote:

Ditto. Now I need to go dig up Min's other articles.

They're all about TF2.

Yup. Same conversation I have with my 4 year old every time we turn that game on. Except that every time she walks into (she controls Oliver in town) a invisible wall she gets frustrated and can't understand why she can't walk behind that tree. There's nothing behind that tree but some grass and a wall, yet it is imperative that she gets behind the tree. Eventually she gives up and hands me the controller so I can "fix the game".

I sure wish there was away to see alt text on iPads. :(. I'm glad I read the article on the laptop instead. Totally worth it.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Garden Ninja wrote:

Ditto. Now I need to go dig up Min's other articles.

They're all about TF2.

That's why I haven't read them.

Conversations like this with my niece, or watching her turn every game into an attempt to go swimming, are what make me wonder if people should just sit down, watch how kids try to interact with a digital world, and then build them a game around those ideas.

But then my niece got old enough that I had paused a game when she came in to give a good night hug, and before she left she pointed at the gun and then a random NPC on screen (that wasn't hostile) and told me "Point that at that guy and shoot him"

Then she skipped away to bed.

I liked it better when she was asking why I was killing the people instead of assuming everyone was bad and needed to be killed.

ccesarano wrote:

Conversations like this with my niece, or watching her turn every game into an attempt to go swimming, are what make me wonder if people should just sit down, watch how kids try to interact with a digital world, and then build them a game around those ideas.

But then my niece got old enough that I had paused a game when she came in to give a good night hug, and before she left she pointed at the gun and then a random NPC on screen (that wasn't hostile) and told me "Point that at that guy and shoot him"

Then she skipped away to bed.

I liked it better when she was asking why I was killing the people instead of assuming everyone was bad and needed to be killed.

Well, after being told "because they're bad guys who will shoot me if I don't shoot them" enough times she's obviously going to start assuming that all the guys on the screen are bad guys.

Maybe she's been playing too much Far Cry 2.

CptDomano wrote:

Is it bad that I had a similar conversation with my wife?

Don't worry, I was thinking the same thing.

momgamer wrote:

There should be alt-text on all the images. Usually I stick with stuff to help screen-readers, though. That was pretty funny, Min. ;)

Luckily, GWJ's interface for Front Page images allows for both alt text (for robots) and title text (for mouseovers). I try to take advantage of this for everything I post, but a lot of times I post things for authors and in those authors' names, so there's no trace other than the title text.

Minarchist wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:

[looks at photo] Damn, man, you're old.

You guys never read my alt text :cry:

Touche, sir. Touche.

Tropes and stereotypes exist for a reason, so that we don't have to learn everything from scratch every time we start a new game. Of course, the risk is in skipping straight to the conclusions without understanding how things developed that way. Why do bad guys have British accents? It's a cognitive shortcut, even if it makes no common sense at all!

The charm of playing with true novices is that they don't understand any of the historical patterns, and they're neither constrained nor jaded by them. For them, smashing crates is novel and unexpected!

(There's a nascent discussion of Antichamber buried in here somewhere.)