The kids and I play a lot of Mario Super Smash on the Wii. It’s a simple game in concept. Each player selects a character, and then they try to beat the snot out of each other. The violence is mitigated by silly graphics and music and a whole lot of randomness.
We’re pretty evenly matched, with my oldest son having something of an edge.
This weekend, in a bid to increase the fun of allowance, I decreed that the only children who would be getting their allowances would be those who could beat me one-on-one in Super Smash. The first round of battles went well for me.
Apparently, having a little money in the game sharpens my reflexes.
So I eased things up a bit, and over dinner, I suggested a new approach. Each son would pick the characters for his brother’s matchup.
“Oh man,” my oldest son. “You’re getting Jiggly Puff!”
Jiggly Puff is a character that I simply can’t win with. It’s a weird little pink puffball whose special power is putting things to sleep. I’ve never won with Jiggly Puff, not even when I was fighting Jiggly Puff.
“Are you sure?” I asked. “You may give me Jiggly Puff when I’m fighting him, but what will he give me when I’m fighting you?”
The boys looked at each other, and their eyes narrowed. This was a primary opportunity for betrayal.
“Who goes first?” they asked, almost simultaneously.
“You can do rock-paper-scissors,” I said. “The winner can go first.”
“So, I could give you Jiggly Puff to play against him,” my oldest son said. “But then he could have you play Spud against me?”
Spud is a character I created, crazy powerful, and very difficult to beat.
“Yep,” I said. “But if you go first, you could do the same to him. Or you guys could cooperate and both get your allowances.”
They huddled. They discussed. They considered. They discussed again.
In the end, they both got their allowances.