Frustration Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Frustration RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 7 Frustrating Things About the Crash Bandicoot Trilogy You Probably Forgot https://www.gameskinny.com/wd098/7-frustrating-things-about-the-crash-bandicoot-trilogy-you-probably-forgot https://www.gameskinny.com/wd098/7-frustrating-things-about-the-crash-bandicoot-trilogy-you-probably-forgot Fri, 09 Dec 2016 03:00:01 -0500 SarahKel

[{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash1-9fa19.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash1-9fa19.jpg","type":"slide","id":"143919","description":"

So yes, Crash Bandicoot was an amazing game, with a great deal of fun to be had.

\n

We loved playing it, but oh boy, there were some pretty annoying things in the game that really did make us throw our controllers down in frustration. I’d forgotten just how infuriating some of these things really were.

\n

Let us know in the comments below what things you loved about Crash Bandicoot and equally the things that frustrated you.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-bosses-606cd.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-bosses-606cd.png","type":"slide","id":"143918","description":"
7. Bosses
\n

Like every platform game, at some point there is a boss battle. These bosses start easy and then become progressively more difficult.

\n

Battles in Crash Bandicoot were conducted in a small, possibly too small arena. Couple this with the inability to move the camera, Crash’s not so perfect jumping and collision detection; these added an extra layer of frustration to dealing with said bosses.  Possibly more frustrating than they needed to be.

\n

And adding to that frustration, players needed to learn the boss patterns too! Which again, took away lives as you practiced and perfected the patterns.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-camera-6196f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-camera-6196f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"143916","description":"
6. The Camera
\n

Hello? What’s over there? Oh right, yes, I can’t see you, the camera won’t move in that direction! Much of the camera’s point of view was over the shoulder of characters and could not be moved.

\n

This restricted the ability to see a number of items, as they were slightly obscured by the camera angle and therefore they were often overlooked. It was almost like playing the game with blinkers!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-slippery-1c6d5.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-slippery-1c6d5.jpg","type":"slide","id":"143912","description":"
5. Level Design
\n

For the most part, many of the levels were fairly straight forward; but then that one level comes along that makes you want to crush your controller into tiny little pieces.

\n

One level that comes to mind is Slippery Climb, the level that involved moving platforms.  Each platform moved in one of four directions that would disappear into the walls and would sometimes require you to jump on a moving enemy to reach the next platform.  This required pinpoint accuracy, something not helped by the sometimes over generous jumping system.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-bonus-level-52997.gif","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-bonus-level-52997.gif","type":"slide","id":"143910","description":"
4. Dying in a Bonus Level
\n

Congratulations, you’ve collected all the tokens to make it to the bonus level! 

\n

But, for whatever reason within the bonus level, you died. Not only have you lost the chance to save the game, to add insult to injury, the game makes you sit and watch as all of the wumpa fruit you have collected is emptied from the gauge as if to say “this is what you could have won.”

\n

These levels are meant to be treats!

\n

 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-jumping-b2b4a.gif","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-jumping-b2b4a.gif","type":"slide","id":"143908","description":"
3. Jumping
\n

This was never an exact science; it was simply down to practice, practice, practice!

\n

Players had to have split second, impeccable timing and even then, it was all luck based, as some jumps felt nearly impossible!  This was frustrating, come on, we did not fall down that hole and we totally made that jump! The ground suddenly became transparent and we had to start all over again.

\n

Pressing the D pad or the thumb stick during a jump often pushed Crash too far from his intended spot, leading to yet another death.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-detection-6ff93.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-detection-6ff93.jpg","type":"slide","id":"143907","description":"
2. Dodgy Collision Detection
\n

This is where players think to themselves -- I should be far away enough from that TNT to live.. *BANG* dead”, “oh I’ll just give this enemy enough room to get past *BAM*, dead”!

\n

With Crash being hurt by objects and destroys crates by accident without seemingly being near them, the collision detection was another one of those frustrations that players had to gain intuition for, especially where the invisible bubble ended. 

\n

We thought we’d sussed it all out – sometimes it turned out we were wrong!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-save-85600.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash-save-85600.png","type":"slide","id":"143903","description":"
1. The Save System
\n

Saving progress after the end of a level is a good idea right? Of course, every platform game does it, however in the original Crash Bandicoot game, it worked a little differently.

\n

To save the game, you had to either collect 3 character tokens that would send you to a bonus round which you had to complete; or break every single crate in a level, without losing a life, in order to collect a gem.  Completing either one would allow you to obtain a password, or enable the game to be saved on a memory card.

\n

If neither of the save actions were completed and players ran out of lives or turned off the game, all progress was lost. Booo!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash1-4215f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crash1-4215f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"143902","description":"

Like many retro games, we have fond memories of playing Crash Bandicoot. After 20 years of the game’s release, we look forward to the game being remastered for PS4 in 2017.

\n

The platformer game, with amusing and quirky characters, such as Doctor Neo Cortex and Crash himself, made the game really enjoyable and was fun to play. The colourful and superior graphics made the game really eye catching. This worked well with Crash traversing sequentially through differing environments and worlds. The cartoon like appearance was an aesthetically cool art style, linking the video game world with a style similar to television.

\n

The game was also very challenging, so gamers who wanted a difficult game to beat, finally had something to really concentrate on. It relied on razor sharp timing and incredible precision, which was refreshing and different.

\n

The game play was always solid and struck a great and varied balance to keep players returning to the game.

\n

However, as nostalgia for the game is now so high, many of us remember the game with rose tinted glasses. There were a number of frustrating things in the game. As time’s gone on, we may have forgotten these things and if you have, here is a reminder of those things that may have made you want to throw your controller out of the window!

"}]]]>
7 Tough Games That Meet at the Corner of Frustration and Fun https://www.gameskinny.com/ocsmu/7-tough-games-that-meet-at-the-corner-of-frustration-and-fun https://www.gameskinny.com/ocsmu/7-tough-games-that-meet-at-the-corner-of-frustration-and-fun Mon, 03 Oct 2016 17:15:36 -0400 Jeremy Brown

Plenty of games lend their sense of accomplishment through their stories, atmospheres, and satisfying mechanics. However, some games offer a more masochistic approach to their gratification by giving you "never back down" challenges, which push you even more to overcome them.

This concept applies to many more games than the ones on of this list. Those on this list made the cut for having a foundation of cruel-yet-fair gameplay. Whether or not that makes them good, well, that's up to you.

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is a platformer focused on speed and pain. Meat Boy's girlfriend, Bandage Girl, has been kidnapped by the nefarious Dr. Fetus, and you must save her by going through a series of circular saws, and spikes. Believe it or not, salt is really lethal too. 

What pushes players in Super Meat Boy, however, is the drive to collect more bandages, hidden in hard-to-reach spots, and getting the "A+" ranking to unlock secret levels. The game requires patience, but the controls and animations make every mistake the player's and not on the game's. Even better, when beating later levels, the replay (showing every single attempt simultaneously) is that much more rewarding.

Hyper Light Drifter

Perhaps the least punishing on the list, Hyper Light Drifter puts players in a bleak world where everything has already gone down the tubes, and they must fight through the villains and bullies of the world to rebuild it. 

What makes Hyper Light Drifter so challenging is the fast-paced combat. Every step counts, and any misstep can mean death. Those only set you back to the beginning of the room, though. Of course, that'll happen quite often, and boss fights will increasingly test your skills by being more difficult than the last.

Furi

Furi is a fairly recent game, as it was a free game of the month for PlayStation Plus over the summer. It has a plot focused on a silent protagonist and a person in a bunny hat telling him to kill bosses. While the slick style of the game does help overall, the real focus here isn't the story.

It's a test of determination that the game demands of its players. Boss fights have increasingly harder stages as players keep fighting them, and players only have three lives. If they fail to defeat the bosses, even on the last hit, these long fights will start all over. It makes for a real struggle of memorizing moves, which results in the biggest trial-and-error in the game, even though the basic combat is rock solid. 

 

VVVVVV

VVVVVV is an incredible game for those looking to push the boundaries of their sanity. After a sci-fi disruption in space-time causes the players' ship to crash, the captain of the ship must go out and save the loyal crew to rebuild and leave this frequently spike-filled land.

The idea is simple: players move left and right, but instead of jumping, can only invert gravity. From then on out, the level design decides how well players can wield the tools given to them. There are parts where gimmicks make the game even more crazy, but even its premise makes for a difficult, but ultimately, rewarding game. 

Lovely Planet

Oddly enough, Lovely Planet has more in common with Super Meat Boy than anything else. It doesn't require you to be the fastest player, but it does force players to have peerless precision and a lot of coordination. Apart from the Katamari art-style, nothing is kid-like in this game.

Players are given a semi-automatic weapon to shoot red guys, and they must use near-death leaps to cross at any given point. The frantic nature of this game makes it one of the most demanding on this list because one small mistake means starting the level over.

The Witness

Agreeably the most calm, calculated, and methodical game on this list, Jonathan Blow's latest acclaimed puzzler, The Witness, stretches the boundaries of its simple premise to every conceivable length. Though the game doesn't present fail-states like the rest on this list, it sure feels like it does.

Simply, players walk up to panels and draw a line from point A to point B on them. As players progress across the game's luscious landscapes, the levels become more and more complex, using reflections, shadows, and field of view. Melting distortions shape even how your character moves within a hedge maze to squeeze every single way the puzzle can be completed into one game. The result creates later puzzles that can leave players staring at the screen for hours.

Honorable Mention: Hotline Miami

While I loved Hotline Miami, I felt it wasn't a perfect fit for the list. It's a top-down hyper-violent shooter that requires bold strategy, quick reflexes, and improvisation. Why isn't it part of the list, though?

Rather than something players did which lead to their demise, the biggest issue holding it back is random flukes in the enemy AI that are completely out of player control. I still highly recommend it, even though you're going to see "You're dead" pop up fairly often.

Do you agree with our list? What games would you like in this subgenre of genres? Let us know in the comments section below, and as always, thanks for reading.

]]>
Super Meat Boy Review: A Dastardly Devious and Deceitful Platformer https://www.gameskinny.com/s899g/super-meat-boy-review-a-dastardly-devious-and-deceitful-platformer https://www.gameskinny.com/s899g/super-meat-boy-review-a-dastardly-devious-and-deceitful-platformer Mon, 04 Nov 2013 15:59:14 -0500 Ford James

Super Meat Boy is aptly named for Edmund McMillen's first masterpiece. You quite literally play as a 'Meat Boy,' the protagonist who is just a cube of flesh with red, squishy arms and legs. The 'Super' aspect comes from his ability to traverse the environment in such a nimble fashion; it's necessary, really, as everything in the Super Meat Boy universe is out to kill him and ultimately stop him from reaching his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, who has been kidnapped by the unique antagonist Dr. Fetus.

Death Galore

I sent our flesh filled friend to his death 3000 times over the duration of my Super Meat Boy journey, which is around 200 levels, so the game clearly isn't a breeze. Even though the controls allow you to be so precise, your experience with the game will consist of replaying each level over and over, progressing a tiny bit further each time until you reach Bandage Girl. Then Dr. Fetus swoops in at the last second, and you begin the journey again with a different path of obstacles to manoeuvre.

Art of Perfection

To rub it in even further, at the end of each level you're able to see every single attempt you had at that specific stage replayed simultaneously. It's like a small army of Meat Boys that you know will all fail and plunge horribly to their death, except for one. So as you can see, it's not a particularly forgiving game. There are no checkpoints, there aren't many safe zones, you'll struggle to find an area in which you can actually take a breather.

For the majority of the levels, you'll need to from one end to the other without stopping. This is where the art of perfection comes in, trying it over and over till you can narrowly dodge that last moving spike wheel or evade the missile that kept killing you.

Enjoyable with Friends

Even though there isn't a multiplayer mode in the game, it's still an enjoyable experience with friends. If you're playing it on console/with a controller, it's the perfect game to just pass the controller around so everyone can enjoy each other's failures.

The game does recommend that it be played with an Xbox 360 pad, however, I managed to cope okay using a keyboard. I can't comment on the difference between the two as I haven't tried it with a pad, but if you just have a keyboard, don't be put off by the warning at the beginning of the start-up screen which mentions using a pad.

If you do only have a keyboard, you can still enjoy Super Meat Boy with friends, as you're able to create your own levels. You can then upload them to the Super Meat Boy community where anyone can download them, so you can swap levels around with your friends and see just how difficult you can make life for them.

Huge Depth

There is also a lot of depth in the game; Meat Boy isn't the only character you can play as. It's possible to collect bandages on each level, and the more bandages you collect, the more characters you unlock. You can then switch to whichever unlocked character you like whenever you like, except for during a boss level.

It's worth noting though that these bandages are located in incredibly hard to reach spots, which require you to go out of your way by quite a bit to retrieve them, then still come back and complete the rest of the level without dying. So if you are a completionist, then prepare to spend a lot of time collecting the bandages.

Easter Eggs

The other collectibles in the game are called Warp Zones. These are more similar to easter eggs than collectibles, however, as when you go through a warp zone you're taken to a level in 8bit style graphics where you're only granted 3 lives to complete it. Once these 3 lives are up, you're back to the start of the normal level. You're also given a timer to complete these by, which means that you have to speed through each level to reach them, often being more careless than usual as you have to move faster than usual.

Upbeat Tunes

Danny Baranowsky has done a fantastic job with the soundtrack for Super Meat Boy; most of the tracks are upbeat, buoyant electronic tunes, very appropriate to the style of play in the game. However, after repeating a level for the hundredth time, one specific song will start to become a little repetitive. It'd be nice to have some variation with each level, maybe a rotation of tracks for each level.

Hilarious and Referential Cutscenes

The cutscenes are filled with hilarity and references too, obviously showing where Edmund McMillen and co.'s influences came from. You'll see references to Donkey Kong, Ninja Gaiden, Megaman and more within the cut scenes and the game.

However, one disappointing but expected aspect to the cut scenes is that they're not brilliantly made; it's obvious this game was a two person job, as it sometimes does look a lot like flash animations. The humour and wit within it definitely make up for that however, and Super Meat Boy definitely isn't a game you'd play for the story.

Nine out of Ten

Edmund McMillen has created a winner here for sure. It's fun, it's challenging, it's cute and it's addictive. It takes skill to complete and there is a ton of depth when you include all the community levels, too. It's not cheap for an indie game, as the asking price is £11.99 on Steam, however for a platformer enthusiast that's a fair price to pay.

For anyone who can't afford to fork out that much for a game you're not sure you'll enjoy, just wait for a sale or a bundle. It regularly goes to 75% off, which makes it a definite purchase in my opinion. I give Super Meat Boy a 9/10; a challenging platformer with classic aspects and elements that you'd be a fool to not take a look at.

]]>
4 Ways Of Handling A League of Legends Losing Streak https://www.gameskinny.com/42c08/4-ways-of-handling-a-league-of-legends-losing-streak https://www.gameskinny.com/42c08/4-ways-of-handling-a-league-of-legends-losing-streak Sat, 14 Sep 2013 11:51:42 -0400 Wokendreamer

Nobody likes losing. Unfortunately, losing is a fact of life for any competitive endeavor. Even the very best in the world at any given thing will occasionally have an off day, or a streak of bad luck. League of Legends, being a competitive game and eSport made up of five-person teams, is certainly no exception to this rule. It is entirely normal for games to go sour repeatedly without having any real option to pull out victory.

Sometimes games go bad, and sometimes they go bad several times in a row.

Still, unless you are a professional gamer who is paid to play League of Legends, simply telling yourself to stiffen your upper lip and press on is not necessarily the most healthy response to a losing streak.  The frustration is liable to only get worse if you lose the next game, and worse after that, and the last thing any of us wants is for someone to become so angry at their losing streak that they stop enjoying the game at all or even become toxic to those playing with them.

Here are a few tips I've found help me deal with the inevitable bouts of bad games that happen sometimes even to the best players.

Start A New Game...Type

So you just got out of a really frustrating Ranked game.  You won your lane, but had three people on your team who went 0/13 and you just couldn't carry that hard.  You grit your teeth and click to start a new game... but switch from Ranked.

This is part of the reason ARAM has always been such a popular game mode.  It is simple, often quick, and because of the inherent random element and lack of laning build-up, often lets people take it far less seriously.  Bot games are often used the same way.

Switching to a different game mode can still let one looking to self-improve practice their mechanics while removing themselves from the stress-inducing situation they were previously involved in.  The change of pace or focus can help ease the tension of building stress, and if the game goes well, can even leave one feeling motivated and ready to go again.

Start A New Game Altogether

If the stress is building too high to want to risk even playing a different game mode of League of Legends, then load up an entirely different game to play for a little while.  Most of the same logic as above applies here.  It does not let you practice your League mechanics, but the extra separation makes it even easier to actually catch a fresh breath and relax a bit in a less stressful situation.

Obviously you should be sure the game you play is one you are unlikely to become stressed about.  I tend to jump on Minecraft and simply explore for a little while, or play a quick game of Scrolls, but really any game where you can take your time and be assured of a chance to slow down a bit works perfectly.

Get Some Rest

Nothing complicated about this, sometimes you just need some sleep.  It lets the mind reboot so you can start fresh, and as a side benefit also helps ensure you do not get queued up again with any of the bad/toxic players who might still be playing.

Eat Something Delicious

Grabbing some food could ease the stress regardless, but eating something you truly enjoy can sometimes actually have an inordinate effect on your overall mood.  Taking a few moments to 'treat' yourself, maybe while watching a good movie, can have an even more profound effect than a full night's rest on your mindset.  Getting sleep can help reboot, taking the time to savor something that is always enjoyable can actually leave you feeling better than you did before.

The theme of all these tips is obvious.

However you do it, whatever method you choose, finding a way to take a break from the game and ease your gamer brain back to its normal non-raging state is an essential part of any Summoner's skillset.  Being able to lose gracefully is not the most obvious of skills to train, but it is the one your opponents and teammates will notice the quickest if you neglect it.

]]>
Walking the tightrope- The parent's perspective between fun and frustration. (Part 1) https://www.gameskinny.com/nbc17/walking-the-tightrope-the-parents-perspective-between-fun-and-frustration-part-1 https://www.gameskinny.com/nbc17/walking-the-tightrope-the-parents-perspective-between-fun-and-frustration-part-1 Sat, 30 Mar 2013 03:41:09 -0400 Nicole Nymh

Alright readers, we're going to take a quick journey (sorry folks, my Tardis is in the shop)....

So you’re 8 maybe 9 or thereabouts, and you are sitting down to what is about to become an overly heated and competitive situation.  You're on the floor of course, since that’s where all the best early 90’s games were played. You are prepped with canned soda; maybe some microwave popcorn (the extra butter kind since the childhood obesity wave is still a good generation away).  It’s a decent day out, but you've logged the appropriate amount of time outside, and you finally have the OK from your friend’s mom to put away the jackets and unwind the controllers. 

So readers, now that you’re back to that warm, fuzzy, nostalgic place where the SNES lives in your hearts and dreams:

I’d like to turn your attention to life altering gaming related event from my past, which occurred on an otherwise unremarkable fall day in the mid 90’s.

My best childhood friend (we’ll call her “Peach”), Peach had an SNES at the time, and what’s better- is that she had all the right games. That’s right about where the awesomeness stopped in our gaming related interactions.  Peach and I had many an adventure that probably would have, and often times did, push the boundaries of our IQ's and sanity.  

This particular event is something I am now as a parent, absolutely f#*$ing terrified of.

Peach and I had decided it was a Donkey Kong Country kind of day, and we jumped into a level that she was trying to get a better score on; it involved a lot of mining carts and screaming at each other without tearing our eyes off the screen. Being something of an amateur completionist, she was absolutely set on not moving to the next level until all of the available bonus items had been completed. I was on board, at first.

As the evening went on things did NOT look good, and when the popcorn and soda were gone, Peach got a little scary. You know that kid who can’t beat the level, but tries about 9 million times doing the same exact thing over and over again- getting progressively angrier at the situation? They blame the controller malfunctioning, or their sweaty hands, or the glare, or the fact that you’re breathing too loud. This was the first time I met Peach the ‘Secretly Psycho-Killer Angry When I Fail at Video Games’ friend.  

After 4 straight hours of not being able to get that stupid gold coin, Peach threw herself back in anger so hard she split her head open.

No I am not kidding. At not even 10 years old, my dear friend Peach split her scalp open in a video game related injury while playing Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo.

I walked home while they rushed her to the ER to get her scalp glued back together (yes I did say glued, I was pretty fascinated by that too). On that incredibly eye opening walk home, I vowed that I would never become physically injured in anger while playing a non-physical video game.

So far, so good.

This leads me to the predicament that I am currently in; my son absolutely LOVES mobile games. I spend more money on his games than I do on my own. When he was playing “peekaboo”, it was really cute watching him tap around and figure stuff out. Now that he wants to play “birdies” and “bouncing game” (which for the non-parent readers is code for Angry Birds and Doodle Jump) it’s still cute.

Or it was cute, until he got frustrated with our iPad the other day and whacked me upside the head with it.

At the time when I first wrote this post all out, my son was two.  He has since been diagnosed as having sensory processing disorder, and I find myself walking a daily tightrope: Gaming calms him, but also has the potential to infuriate him.

My son is now three, and can play through some parts of Cut the Rope, Angry Birds, Plants Vs. Zombies, and Doodle Jump completely on his own without getting frustrated.  He also loves interactive story books like the Mickey Mouse Road Rally, (please see game descriptions below) and Toy Story interactive.  He loves educational games like ABC Alphabet Lite, and Railroad Lite, and has recently become interested in trying Simon Says style games. I know that within over two to three weeks of installing apps like these and others, spending quality time with him helping him work through the initial frustration of their learning curves- my three year old started correctly identifying colors and letters 90% of the time. Through building that recognition skill with mobile games- I have been able to test his recall working in reverse. (Recognition is asking your child to pick out the letter A amongst other letters; Recall in this particular instance is taking J and asking him what letter it is.)

 


My son playing with our iPad after breakfast.


They did not teach me this when I had my Tamogatchi.

Herein lies the issue: as my son has become more comfortable with interactive games, both those designed specifically to be educational, and those not, he has looked to more challenging games with a very familiar gleam in his eyes.  I recently started teaching him how to play Mario Kart for the Nintendo DS, and he absolutely loves it.  I set him up in time trial mode, he picks a character (always Peach, go figure) and I usually put him on Baby park or a similarly basic course.  I do this despite the fact that he does understand the mechanics of stop, go and turning. I put him in simple courses because as soon as Peach gets stuck on a wall, he screams that she needs a time out and throws my poor antique DS Lite on the ground, Lonely Island style.  

Almost immediately however, he picks it back up- turns it off, turns it on again, and asks to start again. 

He exhibits this behavior with more complicated games like Color Sheep (which I love and am NOT knocking by the way, he gets the concept but can’t manage the execution at his current level of development); He also has the “AppMates” Cars game, and when Lightning McQueen doesn't respond to his input fast enough, we don’t see Lightning McQueen for a few days.  Sometimes this is my choice, my executive parenting decision.  Sometimes however, I can't get there fast enough and poor Lightning learns what it is to fly and play a really long involuntary game of 'Hide-and-Seek.'

As a gaming parent, this is truly a conundrum for me.  More so as a parent of a child who is considered special needs, who has a developmental disorder which leads him to be overwhelmed by some types of sensory input (in his case he is largely set off by frustration due to a lack of independence).  Gaming has done so much for him already, and continues to do so- but I will not condone a level of frustration, or expression of that frustration at three years old which manifests physically. 

A trigger? Yes, but also an unmatched opportunity for sensory "Reset."

As helpful as it is, our iPad (and now his iPad Mini- Thanks GameSkinny!) goes up on top of the fridge for a few hours at least any time he hits or tries to throw it. 

On the flip side- if he is set off by something a few hours later, and is losing control of his little body.  When he’s unable to handle the sensory overload he’s experiencing- the iPad or the Ds, or my iPod when we are out and about; these are his safe havens.  I guess this is a tightrope I will continue to walk, as I hear more stories from parents who are also struggling with their developmentally delayed or disabled child. 

All I can hear through all of it, has and continues to be, that despite some minor setbacks or frustrations, interactive gaming is a godsend

It is up to us, parents (and future parents) to maintain a balance. 

Regardless of our children’s developmental comparison to their peers, it is completely up to us to teach them how to manage their frustration, and expression of that frustration, in a way that is healthy.  We have the power to help them remember and realize exactly how much they can and will get out of their gaming experience.

Do you want to face the tantrums and the fits, and the feeling that you just wasted your money on a game your child can barely play- because they got too frustrated and you made them take a break? No.  I can’t really imagine any of us do.  But as a young girl, I put my hand on the back of my best friend Peach’s head and tried to hold the sides of a bleeding wound together.  All because she got so mad that she couldn’t get a perfect score on a game, that she ended up in the emergency room. 

We have all rage quit a controller, flipped a table, or ripped a power cable out of a wall once or twice.  (Let’s be honest here guys)  We have the privilege, power and responsibility now- to walk that tightrope, with pride and love as gaming parents (with a great respect for the cost of emergency room visits and replacement controllers, if nothing else).

How do you manage the balance?

 

]]>