Today my friend Caralyn came by to play some Guitar Hero II for the first time. You may remember Caralyn as the friend who claimed to not know how to play video games, which I took as a personal challenge of sorts.
We did indeed play some GH2, but then she asked if I had more games in which “you don’t die” (an interesting characteristic of video games that I’m not sure developers are actively considering, but which my girlfriend also identifies as her preference). She saw the case for Nintendogs, which I’m borrowing from friends for an experiment I’m working on this summer, and asked to play that.
It is amazing how badly we as human beings want to play with cute animals. I don’t even think the “uncanny valley” applies to dogsâ€”even the handheld virtual ones are so cute that Caralyn proclaimed this game better than GH2. And when I told her to blow into the microphone to blow bubbles at the puppies onscreen? “This is like the future!” (Game system sales figures and Nintendo stockholders would probably agree.)
This is an important reminder to me that I must play video games with more newcomersâ€”not because I need to convert them or anything, but because I need to see how people approach this stuff when they haven’t been doing it since they were three years old.