Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Little Big Planet 2: Da Vinci's Rookie Test

When Little Big Planet 2 players first begin their mission to play this game, they encounter a video that engages your imagination! Objectives include mastering levels and creating levels. Every level that is won allows for tools and objects to be used in building a level of their own. Through the act of creating, individuals begin understanding the obstacles that come with constructing their own personal level. In addition, participants can also post their created levels online for others to play and evaluate. Peer reviews starting at such a young age – how exciting!

Why Little Big Planet 2?
I chose Little Big Planet 2 because it is a game both my children and husband play. I do not play video games; so this gives me time to play with my children, learn what motivates them to play this game, and to share with them an interest they have in common with one another. For at least one week, I get to submerge into their world of playing and learning.

For the novice.....
Little Big Planet 2 is a game that engages your imagination, eye-hand coordination, and strategy skill abilities! The players' sack-person either explores different worlds of imagination or creates a world with several levels of play for others to explore. In order to be successful, players must familiarize themselves by watching company-made tutorials or YouTube videos and playing/creating the levels. It is marketed as "the real, meeting the fantastic!"

Above, I have posted a screenshot of my level and a short video of Da Vinci's Rookie Test (the level I played this week.) The level I named is called "mom." The description says, "Mom made a level." I know, not very original - but it was 4am and I was really struggling with how to create a level. The level I created has an entrance, some bounce pads, water/waves, fire and spikes, and at completing entrance to another level. Players receive a sticker, key, and an object for playing my level. After publishing MOM to the online community, I received a smiley face from "confuzz" that said: "ok we will say it is ok but only because mom made it" - which made all of us laugh hysterically! Thank goodness I wasn't ridiculed and kicked out of the gaming community!

New Media Literacy, in my opinion, is the ability to read and write in "new media" - it is not simply how to read and write an alphabetic text as much as it is how to use, interpret, and combine digital symbols, images, and icons. LBP2 incorporates the rhetoric of the computer culture and thus moves those immersed in this culture further ahead - if you are not already immersed in this culture, you may experience "culture-shock" just as you might if you visited a country unfamiliar to your way of life. I think it is important to be literate in new media if you truly want to be a global citizen. The language of new media "might" be universal. What do you think, is the computer culture's language, rhetoric, symbols, images, and icons found in all parts of the world - could it be a 'universal' culture? For example, does "griefing" mean the same here as it does in China - when in the context of video games? What about LOL? Or BRB? Do players in Russia play LBP2 with the same symbols an icons as we do in the United States?

In order to be fluent or literate in this particular genre of new media, one must understand the vast potential of skills to be garnered from this game. It requires patience and listening skills, not to mention TIME to immerse oneself into the culture of this particular game. Players must also understand the "language" - "traditions" - "etiquette" - and "rituals" of members of this genre. Other skills needed are: strategy, problem solving, some physics, and design concepts. If playing with other players, then players must communicate effectively and collaborate with one another as they either play a level or build a level. In addition to all of this, I also realize that the players need a rather good memory, hand-eye coordination, and some reading ability. The readings are read aloud by characters in the game, but you may not understand what is said, so being able to read is helpful. However, one can play by way of "trial and error" if reading alphabetic text is not an ability acquired yet.

Playing Little Big Planet 2 (LBP2) is definitely an example of "playful learning" because the players are engaging in a learning enriched environment that encourages the use of tutorials, collaboration, communication, and imaginative play all the while having fun! Since I am not an avid game player, it will take me several more hours to grasp the techniques and eye-hand coordination/thinking skills required to play this game. Prior knowledge from playing other new media games is transferred when playing LBP2, as observed when my children or husband play.

References and sites to visit to learn more about LPB2:


  1. Hey Kate!!!

    I can't wait to see some of the pictures of your playful learning experience! How does the reading ability affect how you are playing? What are some of the objects to work with?

    I am glad you are picking one of the coolest games to play. I have a hard time with the actual gameplay but I love designing it. We have this game in our lab, too, so I am hoping to play with it again soon!

  2. Oh, I forgot to add...

    The post looks like you copied parts of it in. Are we missing some of the pieces?

  3. I just started the post and thought I would modify it as I process the information! Piece by piece! :)

    PS. If you need a good book to read about writing and getting published - I'm reading a book called, "Bird by Bird" it's really an easy read and has great practical advise! K

  4. As I played the game with my children, I realized that I am not cut out for this type of learning! First, I am a reader - so I like to read all the text that pops up - this is distracting to me and frustrating when you can't retrieve it (if it should pop off the screen) - On the other hand, my children either have the text memorized or they already know what to do - because they quickly "click the text off" seconds after it pops up - which frustrates me, because I want to read it! So we had to have a chat about how they needed to remember I was a "newbie" and that I don't know everything about the game yet. Their response was, "don't worry, mom, we will 'show' you. So this makes me wonder - are kids reading the text in these games or are they 'showing' one another how to play the game?

    I only play in 15-20 minute increments because I get easily frustrated with the controllers and the "unspoken" communication that my children understand with one another - AH~! I will return!

  5. Playing LBP2 was a fun experience - but definitely requires time alone to get acquainted to the way it fits together. The designers certainly thought of everything from music to stickers to create your own world/level! I am very impressed with the abilities of those that play this game (it seems) with ease. I couldn't even keep my objects floating - and I ran out time to figure out how to 'fix' that portion of my level. (As I wrapped up my learning experience with this game from 4am - 8am this morning!) I do feel like I have jet-lag and wish to sleep now!!! :)