Saturday, October 9, 2010

What Zelda Teaches Kids...

We've talked about the interesting lessons from inside the game, but what have we learned from actually playing the game? Something like this:

Zelda Teaches Kids How to Innovate: In Mario, what you do is quite intuitive. In modern FSPs, reflexes are the bodily function necessary. In RPGs, you can basically win by spamming the action button all the way through. However, in Zelda (and games like it), you have to think. For instance: In Misery Mire, there is a complex puzzle (especially for a young kid! lol) where you have to set off a switch, set down a bomb next to the switch, cross the new area, and wait for the bomb to go off. I remember thinking as a kid, "If I can solve that puzzle, I can solve -any- problem. I beat Misery Mire dude!"

Zelda Teaches Kids About Persistence: When I was playing A Link to the Past, I died in Misery Mire more times than I can count. Too many. I got all of my friends to try it, but no one could finish it. The ice was too slick and the monsters too tough. Then one day, after countless attempts, I finished it.

Zelda Teaches Kids How to Share: I still recall hearing that crap in kindergarten about 'sharing'. I didn't buy it for a second, and I wasn't the only one. A silly puppet show about not being greedy can't get into the minds of today's kids. However, realizing that Zelda is just one player and that you actually need the help of your friends is great advertising for sharing.

Zelda Show Kids Collaborative Problem Solving: In the context of taking turns playing Zelda with friends, kids realize that many of the puzzles are extremely complex, requiring the study of countless maps and putting the layouts of multiple floors together. It's not enough to just take turns 'trying to take a crack at it'; you actually need to discuss the problem. This is a valuable skill which most adults still don't have.

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