Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A Blackberry never tasted so sweet March 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:48 AM
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“TELL ME AGAIN. What is a Blackberry Playbook? What does it do?”

I’ve asked him for the umpteenth second time and he is clearly frustrated with me.

“Never mind,” he says.

I persist because I want to understand. My son knows I am technologically-challenged, that I can’t distinguish a Blackberry from an iPAD or a Kindle. It is all too much for someone who grew up without a telephone during the early years of her life and only within the past 18 months acquired a cell phone. It is all too much for someone who learned to type on a manual typewriter. It is all too much for someone who recently upgraded from her 2003 desktop computer.

I don’t decry technology. I am simply slow to understand the ever-evolving world of high tech gadgets.

But my high school senior, with his scientifically and mathematically-wired brain, embraces technology and is planning a career in computer and/or electrical engineering. It’s a career path that will suit him perfectly, focusing on his passions.

That leads us to his latest endeavor, which ties in with the Blackberry Playbook. My son created Agon, a Blackberry Playbook game app which released March 17. Described as “an abstract strategy game with perfect information,” Agon was invented in France during the late 18th century. I won’t even attempt to explain the game or how my 18-year-old adapted it to the Blackberry. He would tell me, “Never mind,” if I asked. Click here to read for yourself. And feel free to try the game and post a review.

One reviewer compares the game, also known as “Queen’s Guards,” to chess. This does not surprise me. My teen plays chess and enjoys strategic board games like Settlers of Catan and Power Grid. Pull out those games and I run the other way. Give me word games. My boy once tried to teach me chess, but without success.

His success with Agon, though, has netted him a sweet prize—a Blackberry Playbook. Pretty cool, huh? Besides getting the actual product, this accomplishment can be listed on college scholarship applications and eventually on his resume.

Additionally, my son tasted sweet success at the recent Minnesota Science Olympiad, placing second in the astronomy competition. Yes, he knows a lot about the sky, too.  He and a teammate also took sixth in state with their gravity vehicle after coming in first at regionals. Faribault High School, his school, finished 14th overall in state among 33 schools.

Success tastes especially sweet when you’re only eighteen.

NOTE: The creators of Blackberry Playbook and the creator of the Agon app (namely my son) have no idea I wrote this post. I am simply a proud mother sharing my boy’s success. Had I not googled “Blackberry Playbook,” I would be mostly uninformed about this tablet.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling