Playing on the Wii with a 4-year-old

We learned another lesson about playing on the Wii with a 4-year-old, courtesy of neighboring 4-year-old, grandson Cole. This lesson concerned canoeing for two.

Beating a 4-year-old at anything is not much of an accomplishment. Unless you’re also 4. Or perhaps even the 8-year-old sister of a 4-year-old. But for the grandparent-grandchild play connection, the real accomplishment is finding a game we can play together and both have fun.

We have two controllers, so we can play some games simultaneously. Even with the controllers and the simultaneity, it’s still not as fun as it sounds. In most of the games in the Sports Resort package (e.g. bowling, frisbee, baseball, air sports) the discrepancies between our abilities are too obvious. Try as I might, it just seems wrong for me to keep throwing gutter balls, or purposely tossing the frisbee in the wrong direction…well, you get my, so to speak, drift.

Canoeing, on the other hand, it seemed a little easier for us to wander gently down the stream together. Sure, there are goals to cross, but, if I want, I can paddle around, making up my own goals – like trying to follow him as closely as I can, even trying to see if we can both cross at the same time – and still find challenge enough. There are a lot of opportunities for us each to develop our own versions of paddling mastery. Unlike many of the games in the Sports Resort, this one doesn’t pressure us to compete.

This was an important lesson for me about what we need from games if we want to share them across wide ranges of abilities. One of those fun lessons.

Here’s what the game looks like:

video via Gamersonica1

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