Settling for Two Stars

I am not much of a gamer, but I do like to play single player time management building games. The one I’m playing right now is Kingdom Chronicles 2. It is a typical game set in something of a Medieval type setting:  you collect resources, build farms, sawmills, quarries and diamond mines that produce additional resources that you use to clear roads and destroy enemies. It is a somewhat mindless diversion, but each level brings different challenges that require some strategy to solve. And, as it involves time, there is a reward for finishing quickly: you get three stars. (There are also points involved but I haven’t gotten that involved in how they work.) I go for the stars.

In Kingdom Chronicles 1, I was able to fairly easily earn three stars on my first try on each level. There were a couple later levels where a surprise part of the way through the level made me rethink my strategy and required a second try.  Finally, there were just a couple that sent me looking for cheats and video tutorials.

Kingdom Chronicles 2, on the other hand, has been much more challenging. At first, I stuck with my usual approach to playing: don’t move on until I’ve gotten three stars. But, even with the support of videos, I got stuck on a level.  I like the game, but playing the same level over and over with similar results was boring and I didn’t seem any closer to getting that third star.

So, I moved on. And I got two stars on the next level, and the next one, and pretty much every level since. I haven’t given up on that coveted third star, and  I’ve tried each one at least twice. For those where I seemed close, I may have watched a video or two.

Mostly, I just decided I wanted to play the game, and I was willing to settle for two stars. I wonder how this might apply to kids and school: we’ve all known kids who likes school, engage with classes, but don’t necessarily care about the grade. It is an external motivation that can take away the intrinsic joy of an activity.

Maybe some day, I’ll return and work on those three stars but for now, I’m settling for two and enjoying the game.


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