Bessie cranks up the Amplitude
Serendipity! Last weekend I was doing the dishes singing FreezePop's "Science Genius Girl" and Bessie said that she wanted to play Karaoke Revolution to sing it with music. I immediately tried to defuse the situation. I dearly love my wife, but I must either be out of the apartment or unconscious when she dons the KR headset. So I humbly recommended Harmonix's sublime Frequency as an alternative, because the "Science Genius Girl" appears in that game as well. Shockingly she agreed and I got her in front of the PS2 sans headset.
Bessie had some difficulty completing the initial few songs in Frequency. Her opinion of the game was not improved when the game actually booed her if she failed a level. Frantically struggling to keep this dim light of gaming interest glowing, I hastily replaced Frequency with its successor, Amplitude. Harmonix mentioned in its post mortem that they did significant usability testing on Frequency in order to make Amplitude a more accessible game. Among the lessons learned: There should be an easier initial set of levels and the game shouldn't don't mock when you fail. *Shocker!*
Did the experiment work? Bessie was able to complete the first few stages of Amplitude with ease and the gentle difficulty curve has improved her skill while rarely failing to complete a track. She's gotten much better at the game - she knows how and when to use the powerups, which ones are useful, and how to transition between tracks to keep combos going. Most shocking of all - she is having fun and plays without my prompting. When I saw her turn on the PS2 after Frazier last night, I nearly fell out of my chair. She jokingly picked up my GBA in response and said "Wow, this Fire Emblem stuff is cool!"