Friday, September 23, 2011

Castle Crashers: Video Game or Writing Lesson?

I am not a gamer. I know nothing about video games--unless you count the old school glory days of Mario (all versions), Sonic, Mortal Kombat and anything else invented for the Super Nintendo or the Sega. I can even hear the theme songs from all of them, including the Sega, in my head. I liked them. I can maneuver my way around the Wii, but all this new stuff I know nothing about.

Story time: I live with boys. They like video games. We have an awesome TV to play the video games on and they can instantly bond over their love or hatred for these games. Don't even ask me what they play because I couldn't tell you. They have conversations and try to explain to me. But me? I'm like this:

And then...AND THEN. They showed me the world of Castle Crashers.

If you don't know this game (like I didn't) it's simple. You're a knight. (I love knights.) You have to save princesses. The point is to hit things with your sword and not die. If you're lucky, you hit lots of things and get lots of XP and get more power. And there are these super cute little animal companions that help you get better at things you are lacking. (There's a giraffe= :) But I never get to have him. It is sad.) Together, you travel through the world, defeating evil water cat trolls and bad guys with swords. (I promise! There's a point to this.)

This game is not only FUN (so, so much fun), I can also pull out some parallels for writing.

My roommates are awesome at making me write. I have learned that this week. One of them goes to the gym in the morning and this week we've made a deal: the amount of time he spends at the gym, I match with writing. I like this because there's accountability--for him and for me. He doesn't play around either. There's something great about that. It reminds me of this game, because in Castle Crashers, we all work together as a team. We keep each other alive because when more of us are playing, we can go further.

There are other things I can pull out too. The knights are facing lots of bad guys. I think these bad guys for writers are things like: procrastination, discouragement, all the other commitments we make and the things that are distracting us from our goal. This last one is a big one. There are so many things. I know for me I've learned how much I miss writing all night. I get up at 5am already--so there's no way I'm getting up earlier. When I'm home around 4, I'm so done with thinking. Then people come home and things are happening--the last thing I want to do is leave it all and go write. It's a challenge that having accountability really helps me overcome. This week anyway. Next week may be a different story.

In the game, there are those little animal companions. They are called Animal Orbs. Cute, right? They do things like add XP or keep health up or make magic stronger. I think these are like other writers. What else is there than being surrounded by other writers?? This is what we do. We make each other stronger.

The game has also taught me the best thing ever about writing: rewards. I mentioned earlier that in the game you get XP and your power increases. This is awesome because you can do things better and the better you get the more you want to do it. This is a reward. When we're writing, we need rewards. I think it's totally perfect to say, "I'm going to write for one hour today and then eat a cupcake." Or "I'm going to write 1.5k and then watch a show." Or, my new thing, "I wrote can I play too?"

What are some things that you have in your life? Do you have accountability with writing? Do you give yourself rewards? What are some "bad guys" that you're facing and what can you do to overcome them? How can we help? Do you have people who can challenge you to try new things and push yourself? What are some things you can "trade" with someone to make sure you're both working toward your goals?


  1. Danielle, I love this! I definitely have 'bad guys.' This week it's been other stuff just needing to get done and such. And I reward myself with READING!

    Anyway...I should go and write instead of continue to procrastinate. ;p

  2. The bad guys I'm facing are huge, giant green life-eating monsters. They eat my XP and my health. They're called housework. Dishes, cleaning, garden and all those keep me from the cute and cozy place that is my word processor.
    Anyway, the rewards I get are my friend's words when I give her something new I wrote and she goes like this: ." OMG! I. Want. More! More! When are you giving me the next good stuff?"
    Yeah, great post. Those little cute animal thingies look pretty! It must be a real fun game!