Saving the Princess

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There aren’t many things Jake loves more than Super Mario.

Mario is a hero.

Mario can jump and throw fireballs.

Mario lives in a world where the path is known and the enemies always behave as they should.

If you remember, we interviewed Jake the other day here at BigCalfGuy.

You can find that interview here:

He was quite reserved, gave all of his answers with forced drama and exasperation.

Tonight, I present for you a different side of Jacob.  This time, he gets to be Mario; his hero.  Before we delve into tonight’s video, I need to share something.  When Jake is playing one of these epic games, be it Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Mario Bros Wii, or the Wii U version; or one of his many Nintendo 3DS Mario adventures, he often gets stuck.  He can’t find the third Star Coin; or he can’t find the Secret Escape.  He will retreat to the desktop in the dining room, load, find the world he’s stuck on, and watch someone else play it.  He may watch intently through the video once, or maybe 4 or 5 times.  When he’s satisfied, he’ll return to the living room and play that level like it’s his job.  He is an expert player.  Unless you’ve seen it for yourself, it’s hard to understand how cool this is.

Anyway, our setting is my living room; where Jake, Gabe and I are battling the final castle of Super Mario Wii U to defeat Bowser once and for all and to save the fair Princess Peach.  The video’s a little longer than I had hoped it would be (7:39), but I wanted to include some special aspects of it.  Firstly, Jake is Mario.  That’s a gimme.  I read somewhere that little brothers get Luigi.

little brothers get luigi

little brothers get luigi

For whatever reason, this was not the case tonight.  I got the coveted second-in-command slot.  Gabe was pulling up the rear as Blue Toad.

When watching the video, I want you to notice a few things; just like we did last time:

  • Jake is in his element, and he’s loving every minute
  • When Gabe and I are momentarily out of the picture, and I tell him that it’s “all you, Jake”, he takes that phrase and runs with it, using it to suit the situation for the remainder of the 30 minutes or so we spent trying to win
  • Needing his script, there are a few times in there where he feeds others their lines.  Usually they’re how to properly cheer him on
  • He stomps and jumps on the floor in mimicry of Bowser’s stomping and jumping
  • He even roars like Bowser, complete with head tilt and pelvic thrust
  • When Mario and Luigi run off at the end, Jake stutter-steps on the floor to copy this, too.


The reason I bore you with this seven and a half minute video is to hammer home one point.  It’s often said that

If you know one kid with autism, you know one kid with autism.

I want to amend that tonight and say,

If you pigeon-hole a kid based on one interaction in one setting, you might be missing the key to that kid.

Jake comes alive when playing video games.  He’s interactive, verbal, he jumps and shouts and responds to those around him.  He is able to talk amongst his teammates and really seems to be a part of the whole.  This is exactly the opposite of “autism.”  There are those (you know who you are), who would say that we allow Jake to spend too much of his time engrossed in his videos or games, but it’s not much different than anyone else escaping from the real world by burying their head in a book, or with painting, crossword puzzles or building model ships in bottles.  This is the part of his life where he gets to be in charge; he gets to be the man with the plan; and he rocks at it!

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