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There is this famous YouTube content creator named James Rolfe. He does the "Angry Video Game Nerd" and other creations as "Cinemassacre". He is about 40.

In the last half year or so, he has uploaded a few videos where (allegedly) his three-year-old youngest daughter has created "Mario Maker" levels for him to try to beat. We don't get to see any of the "making of" (only him trying to beat them), and he does sometimes remark that "I think her 7-year-old sister helped her out a bit with this one", etc., but still, this blew me away when I saw it.

I'm ashamed to say that when I was three years old, I could barely walk/speak/do anything whatsoever. I certainly would never have known how to create custom levels for a video game, even if said game obviously is intended "for all ages" and engineered to be easy to use for most normal people. Still, at age three?

Perhaps I was just an unusually stupid boy, but I wonder if I could've done those level even at age 7.

Here are the videos (some start with ads):

1/4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxAp6aFUbiI 2/4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HFTaqWbP2Y 3/4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-0Z4wS6KmA 4/4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xel4MXfE744

I'm not saying that these are any kind of "masterpieces", or that James is making this up, but something about this seems strange to me. I guess it's possible that she might be some kind of prodigy due to being born by at least one parent with great genes, and perhaps these videos are him indirectly bragging about the intelligence of his child, but I was genuinely blown away that such a young kid could sit and create all these levels which (mostly) are actually playable and beatable. They aren't completely random button-mashes, as one might expect from a dog or something! Thought and effort has clearly been put into them, albeit from a very young mind.

Have I grossly underestimated how capable many/most/some such young children are?

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    I’m voting to close this question because it is not about parenting. Jul 23 at 5:14
  • I'd have to agree with Paul and others. This could possibly work on Skeptics (but it's not really structured to fit their guidelines)
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 26 at 13:39
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Can every three year old? Probably not. But yes, it's not outside the realm of possibility. What you'll find is that oftentimes kids who are particularly exposed to one thing will end up learning far more about that thing - think Mozart, for example; while he was undisputedly a genius regardless of his experience, there's no question that his ability was in part shown at such an early age because he was surrounded by music - his father was a composer and exposed his son to music, both by teaching and by simply surrounding him with musicians playing music frequently.

Kids at 3 have an immense ability to learn, and they'll learn whatever they're exposed to. So if you ask me if the daughter of a Youtuber who is a gamer and undoubtedly plays around his kids and lets them play, might be able to do something a bit beyond the typical three year old - I'd not be surprised at all. My kids were playing games at 3 (infrequently, as we were careful with screen time, but still) that shocked me - like Asphalt (a racing game), for example; my oldest is amazing at that, even at 4 he was better than I was.

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I let my niece make some levels on my account when she was four, and I'd say they're on a par with James' daughters levels, or thereabouts! Like his daughter, her chief goal was adding a lot of enemies to make the level hard to beat. Note that since they are both playing the levels on the same console there is no requirement for her to beat her own levels, as there would be if they were uploading to the internet. He does also mention that sometimes her older sister helps, as you say. Mario Maker is designed to be easy to use, and creating levels is a case of simply using the touchscreen to select what elements to add, and then touching the screen again to place them. It's not massively different from drawing a picture - her levels show clear signs that in some places she has simply scribbled all over with coins or blocks selected to place them everywhere. If a three year old can colour in a picture, then making a Mario Maker level is not much different.

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