There is a chapter in The Snowflake Effect where I take a pretty hard stance (as I am wont to do) about video games and how they have become easier in tandem with the rise of the snowflakes and the widespread removal of anything they may find challenging and/or might result in failure. I mention the Lego Batman games as one of the primary examples of this, and I stand by the idea that they are purposefully easy. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy them, it’s that I found them to be pandering, even when keeping in mind I am a grown ass man playing a children’s video game.
I might have been a bit hasty with my judgement, though. And because I always do my best not to be a snowflake, I own up to the mistakes I have made. This was one of them.
I recently picked up Lego Marvel Super Heroes, and holy guacamole is it fun. Few things match the relaxing entertainment of zipping around Marvel’s Manhattan as Iron Man or Human Torch, just exploring or looking for hidden collectibles. I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve already got plans to pick up the new Lego Batman game along with the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings games. It’s good, low-impact gaming.
Perhaps the energy I expend as a parent has sapped away at energy previously reserved for railing against things for any reason at all. Maybe I’m getting soft, and see childhood as a more difficult thing to navigate than I remembered it was. Either way, I no longer take issue with something like a video game being easy in the name of good, clean fun.
As an adult, I have to invest none of my cognitive energy into playing the game, I just get to zone out and enjoy myself for a bit. For a kid, it lets them play something that isn’t going to demand too much of them. I do kind of hesitate to say that last bit, though. On one hand, in my daily life as a parent and employee of a school system, I see how demanding childhood can be, and how much stress it generates. On the other hand, I know that life is challenging, and that we should not be teaching kids to shy away from difficulty.
Of course, all of this musing is probably for naught. My kiddo is only 18 months old, so it will be quite a while before I figure out if she will be a video game kid. Even then, she will be required to cut her teeth on old Mario games, which will present her with adequate opportunities for failure, challenge, and enjoyment.
Mostly though, I just want to get back to my Lego games.