Thursday, December 27, 2012

Playing Games with Lily: Lego Harry Potter

 I was hanging out with Lily a couple weekends ago and we spent a couple hours looking at the Lego versions of Harry Potter characters in the Brickipedia. If you have a daughter, you've probably done the same thing.

(Brickipedia is a Wiki about Legos. I never even imaged such a thing existed, but I am thrilled that it does. The Internet does occasionally produce something worthwhile.)  

I thought, "Hey, this Lego Harry Potter game looks fun!" so we drove out to the mall and traded in some stuff for a used copy.

It's just about the perfect game for Lily. The only thing I could think to make it better for her would be to add something where she can practice her reading.  But it has cooperative gameplay, puzzles to solve, tons of stuff to unlock and it's impossible to fail (you just explode into bricks if you lose all your health and then immediately respawn minus a little bit of money), which is great when you're playing with a six-year-old.  The cutscenes are cute. It's got a little fighting, but it's not too violent. Just like you, the bad guys just explode into bricks.

The puzzles are mostly pretty easy. When in doubt, zap everything on the screen, and as my friend Frederick observed, if the bricks don't disappear, then you're probably supposed to build something out of them. Occasionally, the trick to a boss fight is not immediately obvious. The basilisk in particular is a pain. The fight involved luring the thing into smashing three sets of walls, brewing a potion that includes components that are obscured by the geometry due to the fixed camera angle, pulling a chain after you drink the strength potion, summoning Fawkes, using the same spell at the same time as your partner on the same item, jumping down into the pipe, using a spell on the Sorting Hat to get the Godric Gryffindor's sword and then finally levitating the sword to stab the basilisk who for some reason was positioned somewhere off screen where I couldn't see him.  I used a walkthrough at Gamefaqs for that one. It was just astoundingly tedious. Unfortunately, Lily reads well enough now to realize what I was reading and she doesn't want to do the puzzles anymore, but would rather consult the walkthrough for a solution.

Lily has come to hate Ron and Dobby for some reason. I can understand the Dobby hate, but Ron? Ron's a cool cat.

No, Crookshanks is a cool cat.

Lily's solution to whenever the game makes her play Ron is to run to a cauldron and brew up some polyjuice potion, which lets you select another character. She usually changes him into Hermione in a ballgown, which suggests to me that Ron has some really particular fetishes.

(I usually turn my character into Lucius Malfoy and run around Avada Kedavraing random Lego people. Whee!)

But yeah, Dobby sucks. A friend asked how I could hate Dobby and I said that the only sock I wanted to give him has a bar of soap inside.

When she's not playing video games, Lily likes to play "Would you rather?" where one person poses a choice between two good things or two bad things and the other person has to choose.

We had this exchange earlier today.

Me: Would you rather...get a bunch of candy, or....push Dobby into a wood chipper?
Lily: Wood chipper.

Ha, ha, ha. Fuck Dobby.

I'm so proud of her.


  1. I never liked Dobby either. And I grew to strongly dislike if not hate Hagrid by the end of the series as well.

    How well does Lily know the HP stories? I can totally get girls not liking Ron. Just about all of the male characters are jerks. Lupin and Mr. Weasley might be the rare exceptions.

    1. Lily has only seen the first three movies. We read her some chapters from the books, but, even though Jen wrote a note in 2001 to her in the first book about how she hadn't been born yet, but we were going to love sharing these books with her, she has shown zero interest in the books themelves.

      I didn't dislike Hagrid, but he was a pretty awful teacher. (And Lily saw this and pointed out that he was a GREAT teacher and the kids just didn't do what he said!)

      I liked Mr. Weasely throughout the series, but I hated what they did with Lupin in the final book (that his offer to help three children defeat Voldemort was interpreted as a chance to go on an adventure, and this interpretation, wildly against his previously established character, was leveled against him by Harry, with almost no support for it and later turned out to be true.) It drove me nuts!