Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Super Mario Galaxy

I left SMG yesterday night (well, really early this AM) wondering whether I'd want to keep progressing through the game or file it away as a great exercise in fun Wii-mote based game play that had no deeper draw to it.

After playing another couple of hours, I must admit that I'm hooked. It's got just the right mixture of relaxing navigation and puzzle solving to learn the basic mechanics that is then combined with more interesting challenges that really make you feel smart for completing them.

And, it is all available in bite-sized chunks. Yes, I wouldn't want to play an hour and then let a week go by before picking up the controller again for fear of forgetting some crucial mechanic that would then block my progress. But it's still very accessible (at least to me) and at least the first few galaxies are designed to let you remember and practice the core components that you'll need to creatively assemble later on in the game.

At its heart, SMG, is really no more than a fun training sim. There is clearly a well designed syllabus that covers in-class lectures, hands-on lab experience, home work, and a grading system. There are extra credits and opportunities for make up tests to boost grades if you're struggling or failing. Failure is punished, but not too harshly.

But, best of all, the core work is fun to do over and over again. How do we make math textbooks and grammar rule books as fun and rewarding to explore as the world of Mario?

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