Leveling Up: Geeking Out With The Next Generation

By Domoni

All of the contributors of this blog have much in common. We love our books and our movies, our television shows and our games.  We love to talk about crafts and comics and how to next experiment with alcoholic beverages. There’s one more thing that quite a few of us here at the blog like to do as well. That would be to hang out with our kids. I myself have two pretty kick ass sons that take up most my time. They are a blast to hang out with and leave me with stitches in my sides on a daily basis. So, each week we are going to try and cover a little piece of the fun that is being a parental geek to a nerdling. Today, let me introduce you to Sky.

The boy loves Luigi, can you tell? Some down time at the grandparents, ignore the canning supplies. He does.

Sky is the younger of my two sons. He’s a wicked smart 12-year-old who has the best brain around. Sky lives with autism. He didn’t talk for a long time, now he never stops. One of the bits of Sky’s personality is his obsession with video games. Yeah, most boys his age have that, but his is fairly specific and extreme. Sky loves old school games.  Sure, he will throw down on Minecraft and enjoys a good hour of Skylander’s, but you bring out an old Sega or Nintendo system and this kid will light up.

Not only is he a whiz at playing these games, but this kid could sell books when it comes to the knowledge he has amassed under his dome. When my boy has his free computer time, he tends to want to spend it on YouTube, watching old glitch videos or listening to podcasts about how they came up with the concept for a background on an 8-bit scrolling game. (He knows the jargon, I am not going to claim to follow it all) So as we go along, I am going to let Sky teach us a thing or two about the games he loves, or tries out. Today, I learn something new about those crazy Mario Brothers, aside from the fact that they have always been super. Imagine a conversation if you will……

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels


Me, the fun Mom: “OK so when I was a kid, I played Super Mario Bros 2. I was excited by the option to play as Peach, though quickly bored with the game and doubt I have progressed past level 2. So, when you asked me to get you Super Mario Bros 2, The Lost Levels., I had no idea what you meant. How did you find out about this game?”

Sky, the cool kid: “This one I first saw it on the eshop on the 3ds and it was interesting, I thought it was an extension of Mario Bros, like an actual game of lost levels. Then I researched and its more of a direct sequel to Super Mario Bros. there’s an interesting story about why it wasn’t released in America directly as Super Mario Bros. 2 though.”

Me: “OK so, what’s the story?’

Sky: “Well, it wasn’t localized to America until recently because the localization team back then, there was only one person testing it and they decided it was too difficult and punishing for players and he felt that something should be changed. So, the Super Mario Bros. 2 we have in America is a game they were working on in Japan called Doki Doki Panic, they just changed the sprites and it became a Mario. In Japan, our American version of Super Mario Bros. 2 is called, Super Mario Bros. USA. (I did do a quick Google on this because I wanted to be on the same page, it’s true)

Me: “Tell me about the game itself.”

Sky: “The game is obviously very difficult, but I think it’s a good difficult. It adds a power down, called a poison mushroom. It interacts with your character like a power up mushroom but causes damage to your character.  This game also adds other things not seen in the first Super Mario Bros., some levels have gusts of wind. There’s a red piranha plant which comes out whether you’re next to it or not.  They made it so you can play as Mario or Luigi but took out the two-player aspect. So, if you play as Mario, its similar to Mario Bros 1 but when you are Luigi, you jump higher but the ground is slippery. They also added more Bill Blasters (they fire the Bullet Bills) and Lakitus (the cloud dudes that throw the spiky dudes at you). The animations are different too, the bushes and clouds have smiley faces and the ground looks different. The pipe, bricks and. blocks that contain items are the same though.”

The Grandparent’s spare TV compliments the vintage graphics, right?


Me: “So, you like the way it looks and the way it plays, what’s you overall opinion of this game?”

Sky: “I enjoy it, it’s a good game, it’s really easy to die and the water levels are frustrating. But you can jump the flag at any level and it creates a warp zone to world one and that’s fun.”

Me: “Ok Kid, in a 1 out of 5 scale, what would you rate it?”

SKy: “3.5 because I think it’s a good balance of easy and difficult and it’s fun and very satisfying when you get to the end of a castle.”

So, Sky is excited to share with the world a little bit of who we are and he wants to talk about video games again some time. I am thankful that I have a new excuse to hang out with my kid and play games. I used to think of myself as a gamer, I enjoyed video games and spent a lot of time playing them. As my sons got older, I realized I know nothing. I get to learn more about it with every session we log. The entire time we play the game together, he fills me in on the history and fills me up with trivia that I may be able to use in a pub quiz someday, win-win situation for me folks.

Talk to me about your gaming kids. Hit the comment section and tell me if your kid is also one of the ones who wants you to buy them a random book because a game designer he admires is talked about or has idols with names you will never recall. I don’t want to feel like the only clueless mom out there.


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