I’ve been struck before by how babyhood and toddlerhood seems to have some aspects in common with interactive fiction. There’s a fascination with objects, for one thing, and on top of that there’s a quality of experimentation, of trying various things with objects just to see what will happen. It’s as if he’s testing the world to see what’s implemented. Sometimes I watch Dante interacting with his environment and imagine it spooling out as a text adventure from his point of view:

Grass, near rocks
You are standing at the edge of a grassy expanse, next to a patch of ground covered by small rocks. There is a street light pole here. To the west are some mailboxes, and your house is to the east.

D is here with you.

You pick up a rock at random.

It’s a speckled grey-orange, and a little bit larger than some of the rocks around it. It feels heavy and smooth in your hand.

Nothing happens.


D says, “Rock!”

You try, but it comes out “Rah!” Nevertheless, D understands and says, “Rock! Good talking!”

You heave the rock in front of you. It happens to hit the light pole, which emits a ringing sound.

D imitates the sound, saying “Ting!” It sounds HILARIOUS the way he says it.

The orange rock is lost among the other rocks in the patch, so you pick up a new rock at random.

You heave the rock in front of you. It lands back in the rocky patch.

You try, and manage a high-pitched “Teeeee!”, which you emphasize by shaking your head back and forth. D understands what you were going for, and laughs hard.

[Your score has gone up by five points.]

Now, just to make things even more IF-ish, we have some advice from Dante’s speech therapist to try to teach him language using very short sentences, leaving out connecting words. Consequently, we do a lot of playing with him where we label his actions as if translating them into a text game. “Open box!” “Close box!” “Green ball!” “Green ball on box!”

I have a feeling that this practice is more amusing to me than to anybody else around, since I’ve spent so much time in my own life typing just those sorts of phrases.


2 thoughts on “EXAMINE ROCK

  1. You’re not the only one. For a while Eli would carry his stool around and use it to reach things he shouldn’t be able to read; he would also try everything in his inventory on everything else.

  2. from aunt jenny

    >I have a feeling that this practice is more amusing to me than to anybody else around,

    No way man! This post made me laugh out loud.

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