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9/04/2012

No More Moves, Bucko


In PC games just as in life there is such a thing as Game over. In games, it's when your game is over. In life it's when your life is over. 
In games, Game over is not as finite, thus less scary to think about since you can always reload your last save and retry what you failed to do before: go bring that hostage to safety, or roof jump a vertiginous distance, this time, more ammo, and one step closer to the edge.

Now there is a bit of confusion regarding the terminology. 
A certain elderly citizen named Clara likes to play the tile-matching game Bejeweled on her computer. In this game, you have to form chains of isochromatic gems to make them disappear. You get points for that. It's random which gems appear, so you have to hope for a good hand.

When there are no more options to form a row, the remaining gems start shaking and a message flashes in, overlaying the gems. No more moves, it says. All you can do now is start a new game and hope for a better hand the next time.

I wouldn't have to dispute this game's way of announcing that the game has ended, if it weren't for Clara, as she clearly doesn't believe in the whole concept of Game over. She is completely old school that way; never wasting much thought on the end. Clara is deeply suspicious and firmly believes that someone is lying his ass off about her having no more moves left!




The screen goes away way too fast for me to count gems and verify that the game really is over. I tried. I don't think it's a lie, but I doubt that Clara would believe me even if I had proof.

She is convinced that someone has good reason to keep her from playing. It's because she spends too much time with the game. According to her, no more moves is the computer's way of telling her to do something else, to shut down the PC and go outside.

In her world, the PC is a good guy, and he prefers her to be in excellent physical shape. He sees her tired red eyes in front of the screen and immediately calls for an emergency.

Sure, I told her, sure.

What a mind-boggler! I marvel at how we, in our own naiveté and fear are prone to make things - and us - bigger than they - and we - actually are. It would be great if we had technology that advanced, telling us when to go the hell outside, because our oxygen levels are too low or something. For now, we have day planners reminding us of to-do's and blood sugar alerts for diabetics, but nothing like a software telling us what is what at a mere glance. 

I tell Clara that for now, no more moves is just what it is. Not a fancy way of saying something else. It means restart the game. 
Go outside. Do whatever. But this game is officially over.

And although she nods her head, she doesn't believe a word I say. I can see it in her eyes.