September 1st, 2007

evil plan

science fiction horror movie as documentary

I caught this article on Slashdot and everything about it screams one of two possibilities: (a) it's the end of the world as we know it, or (b) it'll never work.

I don't know which possibility I like more. (a) is practically the foreword to a science fiction horror novel set in 2020 and (b) is mostly due to: "They're going to put a bunch of component parts in a solution and just wait for cool stuff to happen? Do they think that will actually work?"

Ah, but it's all FOR SCIENCE! (Quick! Heroic pose!)
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on the computational complexity of Candyland

So there's this "game" out in circulation called LCR.

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This game appears to be rapidly growing in popularity. A fun story-style review of it is available here. The take-away, should you decide to read more about LCR, is that it's not a game. It requires no human decision-making, strategic thought, creativity, memory skills, social skills, or even a pulse. You could build a machine that plays it. Your brain can be turned off and you could still participate in this game. I'm not saying that this game is boring. No, this goes beyond boring and straight into I-refuse-to-debase-myself.

Its outcome is ENTIRELY dependent on randomness. Nothing you can do can change that (unless you're telekinetic). Given this sort of mechanic, why would you bother "playing" it in the first place?

As I was off on a rant about this in the car last night, jcobleigh pointed out that Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land can be reduced to the same essential mechanic. I remember being singularly unimpressed with Chutes and Ladders when I played it as a 10-year-old, but I have fond 4-year-old memories of playing Candy Land with my parents.

As I sat in a kind of shock, absorbing the full import of this American-originated games culture that requires no actual critical thought, jcobleigh pointed out that for a 3- or 4-year-old, Candy Land is probably the right level of mental challenge. That comforted me a little, but then I started wondering if there are any other well-known games out there that fall into this category of non-game...
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nerdness says I'm a Cool Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

Yay, I qualify as a nerd, but I'm not as socially-deficient as I used to be. :)
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