Lizzy Plays Kingdom Hearts


Pro Adventurer
So, as some of you guys know, I share my house with a lot of extended family, played to the number of an aunt, uncle, my aunt's daughter, and her three children (5, 3, and almost 2). The oldest, Lizzy, has taken to video games. She loves Sonic the most, but she's eager to play anything I do. Since she can't read yet, I'm introducing her to RPGs through Kingdom Hearts.

I thought it might be nice to document her progress, her triumphs and struggles, to see what its like to see a kid grow and learn through games. Although she can't read the unspoken dialogue, most of it isn't too hard for her to grasp, and she's gotten a grasp of 3D action through a lot of Mario 64. I wanted to share this with you all, so you can get your D'aw moments, as well as maybe advise me on how to teach her some of the more obscure concepts, such as navigating menus to use magic, handling melee, or solving logic problems.

Day one: Awakening
We started the game with a lot of confusion. The usual Square style of smashing together a lot of abstract imagery in dream-like sequences was kinda totally lost on her, and a lot of her questions kinda made me stop and think: Yes, why the hell is Sora dreaming about seeing himself fall out of the sky into an ocean of water that isn't water, but is also water, to quote Butterbuns. Square is a little too self reverential.

Knowing that she'd have trouble even with normal battle concepts, we went with Beginer mode, something I never did even when I first played the game (God so long ago).

After some initial squee-ing at seeing the pictures of the Disney Princesses (She loves Belle the most!), we had to decide what her strengths. She decided that she wanted to focus on strength, while giving up magic. We choose early leveling at a fast pace.

She had trouble at first, but the auto-lockon pretty much got her through most of the heartless but she needed me to take over with Darkside.

When we got to Destiny Island, she imediately declared Kairi her favorite, and giggled that Sora has a crush on her. She thinks Riku is cool, but hates that he beat me the first time(She insisted I fight till I won). She actually almost won the race, but hit a snag with platforming the tree tops.

We had a fun time looking for all the items, while Lizzy got the hang of climbing, and using the triangle button to talk to people or activate the events (Me reading them aloud to her). She had to cover her eyes when Ansem appeared in the hidden cave
"He's scaaaaary! Why is he there? Did Sora know he'd be there! Make him go awaaaay!"

She absolutely loved the funny scenes with Donald and Goofy departing, but was sad that Minnie and Daisy stayed behind. Donald is her favorite of the two though.

Once we got to Traverse Town, it took a little trial and error for her to get the hang of exploring, and some of the packs of heartless were a little too much for her to handle. I should note that the Beginner Mode really softens the difficult by handing you a ton of stat boosting items, a ribbon, and an EXP chain, so as long as there weren't more than 4 Shadows, she did alright. We haven't gotten around to learning how to handle items right now.

Because Lizzy wasn't able to understand how to use items in melee yet, she died while exploring District 2, and got very upset about how many heartless there were, and that she lost. We took a couple minutes to talk about how failing is okay, and that its a chance to learn. She took her next loss in district 3 with a little less tears. I'm proud of her for learning to embrace her mistakes, and keep trying, even if sometimes she thrusts the controller at me in a panic.

She thinks Aerith is pretty, and called Leon a "Poopy head" for beating Sora, and thinks Yuffie's funny.
Lizzy: Moggle! Moggle Mog Mog Moggle Mog! Moggles!

I was a little worried how she'd handle her first ever boss fight. Guard Armor is a bit of a chaotic battle, but to my surprise, she actually started getting the hang of the lock-on to orient herself, and remembered to grab HP balls when each part died. She actually beat the Guard Armor on her first try without asking me to help, to which I'm super proud of her.

Next saturday, we'll embark for Wonderland. I'm a little worried about how she'll handle the puzzle solving, but I have hopes for her! If you have any advice, or comments, please share, especially if you yourself have had experience of sharing your love of gaming with the children in your lives!

See you guys next Saturday!

Lizzy: "Donald is silly! He quacks me up!"
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