There is a strange current in IF where games propose something impossible and dare the player to actually do it; I say strange because such actions are clearly impossible, so why would anyone try? Is there some kind of bravado necessary here, where frustrated males yell “I’ll show THAT game designer”? Folks, the game designer isn’t even laughing up his sleeve at you. He’s shouting his derision at you using a megaphone.
For instance, take the game Square Circle. The intro asks if you can square a circle. Obviously, you cannot, so why bother torturing yourself?
Fate is another one. Can you change your fate? Obviously, if you can change your fate, it is not fate. The definition of the word fate removes all hope and all choice. To try to change your fate is futile.
I understand the self-torturing appeal of self-hate, but I’ve never understood the sure call to failure. Back in college, I had a comp sci professor who said something like, “Here is the fastest sort algorithm ever. Try to beat it.” I looked at him and thought, “You just said it was the fastest, and so therefore it is logically impossible for me to try to beat it. I think I’ll make the worst sort algorithm possible instead, since my failure has been guaranteed.”
I was reading up on the Doom series by Peter Kilworth (Countdown to Doom, Return to Doom, and Last Days of Doom), especially the author’s description. Then, it just hit me. How would these games be marketed today, in the internet age? Here are three possible adverts for the first game in the series, Countdown to Doom.
Before Doom, there was Doom — Doomawangara, that is. Graphics are for whimps! You need to learn how to die in many different ways solving puzzles that would give Einstein brain cramps! And you know if you turn down such a challenge, it means that you are teh lamest evar!! Go download Countdown to Doom today and learn what real pain feels like.
Doomawangara. To know the name is to fear it. All text so your third-grade reading comprehension skills will be taxed to the max! Puzzles harder than Jeopardy. And, millions of ways to die. Countdown to Doom is, by these objective measures, the ultimate game.
Dooma, Dooma, Doomawangara!
The voice chants your uhm, doom. You open your eyes and find yourself on a planet with totally schizo environment, puzzles harder than Mission Impossible, and best of all, a bajillion ways to die. Should you do A or B? It doesn’t matter! In Countdown to Doom, one thing is sure — you’ll die. An awful lot. Save early and often, that is, if you’re foolish enough to believe that you can beat this game!
Note: I’ve played only the first two games in this series, and yes, this is humor.