The tyranny of autonomy

Posted on January 3, 2015

I’m sitting in a Game Truck Australia party right now, at the tail-end of two-hour timeslot. This one has been a little more challenging than normal – of course, they are always awesome, but as they say, anything to do with kids is always unpredictable. It’s all a learning experience, though, on my journey to create ever more awesome Game Truck Australia parties.

After a bit of rough start the kids have all now settled into four-player splitscreen fun: a kart-racing style game. I had offered the option earlier, knowing that it works really well at parties for this age, but they seemed to see it as a kiddy option, and not cool enough. But once they finally came round to it they have discovered how enjoyable it is: it’s simple fun, and a well-crafted game.

Sometimes gaming fun comes from the unlikeliest of places

Sometimes gaming fun comes from the unlikeliest of places

It just hit me why things didn’t work so well to start with: if the kids are given too much choice about what games they play they are indecisive and prone to conflict on the choice of game. Sometimes they just don;t know what will work best in the specific party environment. However, if I am more prescriptive about what they play, things run more smoothly. It’s about setting boundaries and knowing when to relax them.

Sometimes too much choice just doesn’t work in this context. From now on the mantra is more likely to be: ‘OK, we have X game and Y game; what do you prefer? OK we have two consoles with X; two with Y; you can change over in the break.’

At least this will save wear and tear on the disc trays, and the Game Coach’s nerves. One thing is for sure: too much choice is not always a good thing.


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