Pretty much since he was able to hold a crayon, Dillon has drawn complicated mazes, maps, racetracks, and what-have-you. These pictures were always more about the process than the result, and always part of a complex narrative that was happening in D’s head (and often out loud with lots of sound effects).
Lately, his artwork has become “video game designs.” (His phraseology. Also his teacher’s when we were discussing what he had to do less of in school, in service of actually getting some work done.)
This afternoon after we took Rose to gymnastics, D asked me to play through a game he’d been working on. And I was surprised at how well-developed his ideas were, and how well he followed the typical game structure and format. Also how he was able to replicate the ideas with a pencil and paper.
If you’ve ever played Dungeons & Dragons (I know, my geek is showing), this was sort of along those lines, a one-on-one with your ten-year-old DM. He had drawn a series of elaborate maps/mazes over several pages, as well as status bars for tallying hit points, inventory tallies, money tallies, and a ‘store’ of things that you can purchase with your dimes and quarters won for defeating evil creatures.
He was just so smart about everything that it sort of threw me. I mean, he’s a really smart kid – he and
his buddy stayed up late at a sleepover pretending to be amoebas in their sleeping bags – I wouldn’t say he’s totally typical. But he was organized around this game to a level I haven’t really appreciated before.
Also, there is the delivery, which is lovely. He isn’t a cynical tweener yet. He’s got his moments of snottiness, but he can be so earnest and unreserved about things he enjoys, and he was completely involved with this idea. He would say stuff like, “Now we have to battle this ghost, and I really don’t generally like to fight things my punches won’t connect with, but our enchanted bows and arrows should do the trick!”
He would draw villains in rooms as we walked into them, and each had a little hit counter bar underneath that he would shade in, and then after the bad guy was defeated his bar would be erased back to zero or the character would be erased entirely. You got loot for defeating bad guys (I earned a bow, single-bladed axe, double-bladed axe, sword, and was almost to the magic lightning weapon when I had to leave to go to a meeting). In general, it was pretty fun. I might just have a little Gary Gygax on my hands. I could certainly do worse.