That title would have been so much better if Nintendo had named their fabulously innovative console the “Zen”! Anyway, I was playing on my Wii at the weekend. The Mariokart game to be precise. For those of you who have a Wii but do not have this game – get it! For those of you who do not have a Wii but have seen the advert on TV – what are you waiting for? You’re missing out on some great fun! For those of you who haven’t even seen the adverts, well, I can’t help you. You’ll have no idea what I’m rambling on about, unless you follow the link above.
We got Mariokart Wii for Christmas and I’ve been steadily improving with each play of it. I occasionally play it on my own, but more commonly with Barbara and, when the family visit, with various other family members. It can cause problems, of course. Especially when playing with my wife. My argument of “what else was I supposed to do with the heat seeking shell missle?” has yet to receive a sympathetic hearing! But this weekend I found the answer. Not only to that question but also to the wider (yet strongly related) question of how best to keep my marriage intact without giving up on Mariokart Wii!
It’s called “Team Mode”. When playing with two or more people, in setting up the game you can choose to be on the same team. In total within each of the races there are 12 racers involved and the Wii controls all those not controlled by a real person. It allows two teams, so with only two people playing, the Wii controls 4 other team members and the entire other team. Team mode changed my approach to each race quite dramatically. In this mode, the weapons you pick up along the way only hurt the other team’s racers. So firstly, I could stop worrying about blowing up my wife! But, more than that, I found myself driving and using my weapons very differently. Previously, I was completely selfish. Never mind the other racers, the object was to finish first at all costs. Two or three races in on team mode, though, I picked up on the fact that I might be coming first but the team was losing overall. I adapted to the new situation and started racing as a team player. Now instead of blasting away to help my kart come first, I was holding back and trying to take out racers on the other team that were threatening my team members. Instead of racing away as fast as possible, I was holding back to see the bigger picture and help my team mates as best I could. I learned it was not about me coming first but about playing my part in helping the team come first. And it worked – we started winning!
I can’t speak on behalf of my computerised team mates (though they looked happy enough!), but my real one really appreciates the difference in the game play and enjoys playing to our now joint direction.
Usually, at this point, my blog entry turns to helping the reader see the parallel to his or her own workplace. I’m guessing this time you can work it out for yourself! I also tend to gently hint that our team building activities might be good options to consider as and when the time comes. Oh look, I have here too…