The desire for new, better and bigger seems buried deep in my children’s genes. Whether this is really nature or their being nurtured in a consumer culture I’m still not sure but this weekend we managed to escape the more-cycle.
My son had been saving up for Lego Batman 2, the latest in the Lego videogame series, and was working out whether he’d have enough money when the game lunches in June. A few calculations later and he looked downcast — it was going to take a lot longer to reach the $39.99 price tag.
I suggested he looked around for something else closer to his pocket-money finances. A few minutes later he had discovered the first Lego Batman game on Amazon for $8.97. Not only was it cheaper but he already had enough money to buy it.
As I mentioned previously the earlier Lego games also have the advantage of a multi-player mode if you have two carts. After a few negotiations with his brother and me we decided to pool our resources and buy two copies of Lego Batman.
It’s the best thing we’ve done in a long time. Not only has the novelty of Lego Batman 2 dropped from their radar but they the boys have spent ages playing together cooperatively.
They each sit on their bed with a DS in hand. To start a cooperative game they go to the central Bat computer to link up. From there they both exist in each other’s game. What I wasn’t expecting though was that they could both progress their characters and earn money as they played. Map changes are synced to ensure they are in the same place but apart from that they can free-roam around.
Because they each have their own screen (two screens actually) there is none of the compromise that the console cooperative modes have from their split-screen approach. Whereas it can get a bit confusing playing those versions, the DS game was much more straightforward — even for our youngest.
One frustration was that if either player closes the DS lid to pause, the link between them is broken. There is no way to re-establish the link without restarting the current level. My boys usually decided to play on separately to finish the level and then go back to the Bat cave after that to re-link their consoles. It would also be good if you could play cooperatively over the Internet rather than locally. My kids have friends and family elsewhere who they would love to play with, but that’s not an option that’s catered for.
It’s great to hear them play together, talking to each other about what they need to do next. Whereas they are usually quietly absorbed by other DS games, this cooperative play really brings them out of themselves. It’s also proved to be an excellent way to pass the time on car and train journeys as well.