It has taken the better part of year, but sporadically picking away at it, this jRPG on the Playstation 3 is finally starting to take root at our house.
That’s right, after logging nearly fifteen hours of sporadic gameplay over the past nine or ten months (summer doesn’t count!) the kid’s comfort level finally elevated to the point where she nabbed the controller and wanted to help move the game forward.
Grinding Ni No Kuni
I may have alluded to this game a couple times in that past year. One part modern role playing video game and one part Studio Ghibli anime film, all of it geared at a pre-teen demographic, the game caught my interest a while back and I picked up a copy so that Claire and I could share some proper gaming time together. With Studio Ghibli involved I knew there would be an awesome story layered below the pretty graphics, and while some of their stuff deals with complex themes, they don’t cross into the realm of crude or graphic… so, kid-safe.
We’ve been poking at it. We’d load up the game for an hour here or an hour there, and pick our way through the story. And it captured her. She was getting it, remembering key characters and important bits of the story as we progressed.
Lately, she’d sit with the strategy guide on her lap, a bit of an indulgent purchase I’d made to see if I could coax her out of her mostly-passively-watching state of involvement. She turned out to be a bit of an elegant strategist, making notes of enemy weaknesses and suggesting battle tactics whenever we squared off against a random baddie.
“No, Daddy! I’m too scared.”
But… always watching, never playing. No matter how often I tried to shove the controller into her hand: “No, Daddy! I’m too scared.” She say.
This past weekend something changed. I might have been because we’d cranked our level up to a point where battles were becoming routinely balanced in our favour. Or, perhaps she’d started to become more confident in how the game was played and that losing a fight didn’t actually mean anything bad was going to happen in the real world. Or, maybe the strategy book had planted enough raw data into her sponge-like head that she was inspired to put it to use. Who can say, but a moment arrived quite suddenly on Saturday morning after breakfast when she reached over and asked if she could “try fighting a monster.”
And next thing you know she’s been planted on the couch for over half-an-hour on a very chilly stay-inside-sorta-day, just happily level-grinding up our characters. All by herself, and bragging about how great she is at it, too. Then suddenly I realize the implications: I get to be the guy who’s begging for a turn while my daughter has all the fun.