Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Playing RPG's with your kids

A few weeks back I started my son on Zelda games. He watched me play through the 2nd quest of Zelda, then I even got him to play for an evening on his own.

Soon when we were outside, he just wanted to run around and pretend to fight Ganon with his toy sword. Random things outdoors became secret passages, and monsters were everywhere, just swing around your toy weapon.

I decided next to get him Zelda: A Link to the Past (Super NES Zelda), one of my all-time favorites, and closer to the original Zelda than any other since. He watched me play through that game the 2 weeks that followed.

We finished Zelda: A Link to the Past, and I had to find what we could play next. On a visit to a used game store I found Gameboy Advance-Gamecube connector cables at a great price. I had Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles in my collection, but hadn't really played it much. To play 2-4 players, you have to have the connector cables.

So I brought those home on Saturday, and my son and I finally played a 2-player rpg together for the first time. This was a pretty amazing experience.

He has just enough experience with games now, that if I tell him a few times to go left and point my hand, he can usually go the way I ask. I can even tell him to follow my character on the screen and he does pretty good with that, too.

Playing with my 3-year-old boy is also an amazingly challenging and satisfying game experience...He has enough coordination to walk and fight, while I handle Cure and Life Spells to keep him running. We walked through the first level of the game, and I hardly used any attack powers period.

It's pretty exciting to see a little baby grow three years, and finally become a playmate sophisticated enough to play games that even I enjoy right alongside me.

When we get to the boss (He knows alllll about bosses now), he gets excited, and sometimes jumps and screams. The frantic fighting that ensues is rather intense for both of us, and at the end, I get a big hug and an "I love you, daddy." True gamer father-son bonding right there.


Cap'n John said...

I can't link to the post itself, only the archives page of my old Pitas-based blog, but 6 years ago I attempted to play FF:CC with my (then) 4 y/old son. Scroll about 2/3 of the way down to post Sept. 15, 2004 post, titled "I'm so proud of my son".

I really enjoyed playing FF:CC. It was a visually & aurally amazing game. I just wish they'd done a better job with the Multi-player.

I recall that my boy & I tried playing it again a couple of years later, and even then, with him being a little older and more game-savvy, combining our spells to make the more powerful versions to take down Bosses (or just harder Mobs) was still a painful affair.

As much as it is to play with others, I think FF:CC is actually easier to play on your own.

Anton said...

We just passed the 4th area yesterday, so we're not on the REALLY hard stuff yet. So far, him randomly swinging his sword and me healing constantly is working out :)

Anton said...

Hehe, I just went back and read your archive post. I did the same strategy as you...carrying the chalice and healing him. And he got really good at hitting the bad guys. Yesterday was our third play session--I got home from work and he was just begging to play with me again. I'm sure it gets harder as you go, but so far we've only died one time out of the whole first 4 levels (he died several times in each level, but I could use the Life spell).
I played a healer in WoW for 2 years and when I played FFCC before with my wife and another couple all the way through, I healed in every boss fight then. I think that experience helps too.

Tesh said...

I played FFCC with my younger siblings when they were teens. It was a lot of fun... even though spell fusion was indeed a pain in the neck. I always got further solo.

These days I play Minecraft with my four year old. She loves it, and it's our "daddy-daughter" game. She tells me what to do and I go do it. She loves to make the character jump, swim up waterfalls and dig snowballs... then after we're done, she pretends to be the "game guy" and jumps around the house.

This is the same daughter who loves a WoW Druid's Travel Form. She would sit on my lap and just want to "make the cheetah jump" as I ran around from place to place. She didn't like combat, just running around.

I love kids.

Anton said...

Hehe, yeah, after Crystal Chronicles is off, we almost always go outside and live-play something akin to the game. Yesterday he put a big binder on the ground and said I had to put the chalice on it so we could get the water from the tree.

We just completed our 7th and 8th dungeons, and he's definitely getting better. I haven't tried to teach him to use spells, he just fights and follows around. I don't remember, is it actually necessary in multiplayer to use spell fusion at some point? If that gets too hard, we could just play a new game from the beginning and go back to when the levels were easier. Or just go grind until we get much stronger power bonuses and we can handle more.

Cap'n John said...

The Fused spell "Gravity" makes it a lot easier to defeat some of the flying Mobs, so if you're not using Spell Fusion in Multiplayer you're probably making the game a little harder than it has to be. But in my experience Spell Fusion (in multiplayer) is tricky to pull off under the best of conditions, let alone with a 3-year old wingman.

Anton said...

Hehe, yeah it would be tricky...though I am seeing progress...he's starting to get good at picking up objects, he even wanted to carry the chalice a little last night. Our death rate is starting to climb a bit with levels growing more challenging, but we're still making it along--last night, we completed our 9th dungeon and then replayed one of the first ones which seemed to have ramped up for the second play-through.