- 5:36 PM,
Wednesday, December 6th, 2017:
- I'm trying to be
objective here. I really don't like the
subjective bullshit that parents throw on their kids.
No, your kid isn't great, he's doing what all kids do.
No, your kid simply had access younger, he's not
necessarily special. Kind of like we don't really know
if Cam was "special" at putting when he was making
putts at 1 and 2 because who the hell else has that
kind of access to a minigolf course? So I let it go...
just move on. We'll know in time.
- Here's Cam's
history with video games: first two years of his life
he really didn't play them. However, in his 2nd year
he did WATCH them. And we noticed that he would
go down Gameplay Video Rabbit-Holes on YouTube
frequently. I mean, had to pull it away from him.
So I handed him a controller? Total mess. Couldn't do
it. Which is fine. He was 2.
- Super Mario Run
comes out and THAT he can do. Even at 2 he was
rocking that game. For those that don't know, it's a
one finger game (which surprisingly and creatively
gets challenging) and it taught Cam everything about
platforming. But 3D Mario was not happening. (Vienna
btw, never showed any care one way or
- We cut to the
Nintendo Switch. Cam is now 3. I give both of the
kids the little controllers and Vienna can control it,
Cam's thumb is a mess. Thank the fuck christ for the
assisted steering and assisted gas in Mario Kart
because without it, it was PAINFUL to even attempt.
Neither of them have the left-thumb dexterity to
control the stick in a 3D world. August turns
into September and Mario Odyssey is now a month away.
So, I decide to bring out all the old
- We had a good
week. And, incredibly, Cam finished the first level of
Super Mario Bros. Not particularly hard, but this is
where all that Mario Run really helped: he understood
what was happening and what he was supposed to do
instinctively. Not kidding, hours of just watching
gameplay videos of Mario games. He figured the mental
part out, but I figured it would be years until
the dexterity caught up. From what I saw online 5 was
about the time.
- Mario Odyssey
comes out t the end of October and he watches me play
through it. I handed him the controller and he
started to "get it". He wasn't making big jumps, but
he could run around, go in and out of Mario's ship and
change clothes (which he and Vienna did for more hours
than I could handle - seriously hundreds of
clothing changes to much laughter) and he got good
enough I figured I'd make him his own game file and he
could play around.
- Then he started to
really make things happen. You could see his brain
moving really fast and getting frustrated with the
controls, but he wasn't giving up. I'd grab the
controller and help him through stuff but more and
more he was attempting stuff. Then we got to the New
Donk City level at night and I watched him slowly walk
across a construction beam, while it was moving, in
the rain, to get one of the moons. He kept going and
did all sorts of acrobatic shit and I was
stunned. I kept looking at him and his fingers (which
could barely get to the right stick for the camera)
and when he went to bed, I handed the controller to
Talya and explained what he just did and asked her to
do it. She thought I was lying that he had
accomplished it. She immediately fell off and then
looked at me like "Oh come on, he didn't do THIS". But
- So we kept going
and got to Bowser and he did a good 50% of it before
I took over and I turned to him and said: "We're
gonna start over. Completely from scratch... and I'm
NEVER touching that controller. I want to
see if you can actually complete this game at 3 years
old." He said OK, and tonight he did just
- Now, it should be
noted that "complete" is strange with this game. You
can complete the story mode with 15% of the Moons.
Also, several of these moons are painfully simple to
achieve. Still though, Ya need 125 of them and it
takes some dexterity. There is an assist mode that
allows you 6 hits instead of 3 which I put on
simply for frustration purposes. That's what I think
most parents realize quickly about kids and games:
they get angry QUICK, they get frustrated IMMEDIATELY
and it's that maturity that is the biggest hurdle to
doing "older" things. You have to be able completely
fuck up and keep trying. Hard to explain to 5 year
olds. Easier to explain once they're passed the age of
reason (6ish) and the whole world opens up. So at 3?
Yeah, I'm giving him the "6 hits" over "3 hits" so he
keeps trying. Even with that? Dude, we had some
I wasn't involved too much at the beginning. Gave him
moral support. He pretty much knew where everything
was because he saw me do it once, and we did it
together once, but now? He had to control EVERYTHING.
The camera being the hardest part because his fingers
literally can't get to the camera stick without taking
his hands off the grips. It's crazy he can even do it
and keep going, but he did.
- Thankfully he
could avoid a couple bosses by getting other moons
(seriously the way this game is structured is wacky as
hell - no idea why they made it like this) and we
found ourselves at Bowser's Kingdom and by this point
I feel like Joe Jackson yelling at Michael. He's
clearly overwhelmed, I feel awful for yelling and
it's a bit of a mess - but at one point? We look at
each other and he gets that we're on a team. I keep
saying "dude, you can totally quit here and we can try
again later" and he won't have it. For 45 minutes, in
a fight that you can do pretty simply in a bout 5, he
did it repeatedly until he finally beat it. We hugged
and I apologized and he thanked me and it was an
emotional MESS. Bonding moment for sure, but he
grasped how big of a deal it was (I mean, it really
isn't) and he didn't back down and he kept trying.
I mean, he tried probably 40+ times to do a
certain pattern in order to get to the top of this
robot to butt stomp some bad guys. He's 3. That's
really, really intense to me. I don't know any kids
that age willing to do that. Vienna does something
twice and it doesn't work out? "I'm done!" Pleasantly,
mind you, but it's not fun to her to not be good. With
her we're constantly trying to tell her that not
everything will come as easy as drawing does for
her... ya gotta give stuff more than one or two shots.
Cam is the opposite. He's IN THERE.
HE WILL DO THIS SHIT. Brother was
actually whimpering he was so frustrated... and every
time I said
"DAWG YOU CAN LET IT GO MAN"
he would shake his head and say "I got
- At 3.
- I did
actually document the end and I wish I had more
footage of him beating the whole game. I really
didn't think he'd be able to pull off some of this
stuff and whenever there's a next time I'll be a bit
more studious in how I document it but he
absolutely, 100% by himself beat that game. The next
thing to do would be for him to pull it off without
being in Assist mode, but this kid needs a break to
run around in the game and have fun. There's still so
much more he can do in the game (he skipped the really
intricate shit) and he needs a lot more skills to
achieve those even with the assists on. What is cool
however? We can finally race each other in Mario Kart
with NO assists and he's starting to understand
the powersliding. He's very good at processing video
- I hope he
looks back at this in a couple years as a cool