Saturday, August 30, 2008


J-Man (9.5 years) made it to level 60 last weekend. That's a big achievement for anyone- just over 18 months ago, that would have been the highest level (now the highest level is 70, and probably 80 come January '09).

He's come a long way since the days when I was called in to help him- in tears without a clue how to get the items he needed for his first quest.

I asked him how we talk to other people on the game, and he showed me. I asked, "Help Please: Where do you get Spider's Legs?"

Some delightful character replied, "On the end of Spider's bodies."

It would be impossible to list all he's learned in this game, but some of it is...

map-reading, typing, spelling, history (of the game and world history through chat), typing, spelling, geography, time zones (he plays with people all over the world), masses of people skills- forming groups/parties/guilds, running poeple through "instances" for (WoW) Gold, and helping other people with quests or kills, maths (adding scores, working out XP needed to level, amounts of gold needed to purchase items), running and buying from auctions. He's worked out different wyas of making extra cash, and gone on websites to work out if they are legal or not. He's played two characters at once (alt-tabbing between two accounts), and with a Multi-Plex download. He's made videos of the game, and an intro for newbies. He's taken coutntless screenshots of himself levelling, or funny and amazing situations he's observed. He's helped several friends get started, and sent them all sorts of mail in the game.

That's just a little bit of what he's learned. Mostly though, as with anything he undertakes- he's been having fun.

Yesterday we were out at shops and he spotted a copy of the Guiness Book of Records Gamer's Edition. He was so excited, and asked if I thought it was OK that he carry it aroudn with us while we were shopping. I didn't see a problem with it, so he proceeded to read me chunks of it, and find hidey-holes to get lost in it.

J-Man is an excellent reader, and has been since he was 4...but he is not a book-lover. In fact, the only time he ever asks to *buy* a book, is the Guiness Book of Records. He asks for it every year.

He kept getting a little lost as I moved from place to place- he was so absorbed in his book. After a while he said, "Mum it would be so much easier if I could just right-click on your head and press 'follow'."

We found a t-shirt he likes, with a picture of a puzzled monkey holding a game controller. It said, "You want me to go outside? Is that a secret level?"

When we got to the counter, J-Man decided that since the book was $37.95, and he had $40 saved- he could afford it. He does not usually make decisions quickly, and I was suprised. I reminded him he'll be paid for his ad soon, and can easily afford it then...but he wanted it right away.

So, he bought the book, and before we were even at the car he wasn't sure he should have. He was worried he would read it once then not touch it again.

If I buy him a book he will usually tell me I shouldn't have wasted my money. I can't think of another occasion where he has spent his pocket money (1 month's worth) on a book. I think that's really cool.

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