The recursive existence
et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum
Health warning: Not for those who cannot read for long. Feel free to stop any time you feel unwell.
I have talked irrepressibly, time and time again, of how playing thoughtful games pleasurably trains me to study about life. Snakes and Ladders is not a thoughtful game, it's just hamster wheels of mindlessly sliding up ladders, only to get swallowed down, down, down the slimy insides of snakes, to brainlessly use up yet time to start at the bottom again, and not really feel it worth finishing at the last space up top.
Thoughtful games give you persistent headaches called migraines, and you barely sweat and odour and an unclean body building up, as you rack your brains barely staying sane in your thoughts, calculating, desperately seeking solutions, while frustration keeps flooding to end your meaningful pursuits.
Then at long last, a great suggestion came that I write further into this, elaborating in breadth how my thinking goes that way, that you can actually study time-wasters and life-killers like video games, that they don't actually turn decent sheep-like people into violently manic killers who talk poorly, look bad, and smell awful from long hours.
It is hoped that after my succinct precis here, the reader feels the entertainment, noble cause, and higher calling that I do, devoting myself to writing about such intellectual trivialities of study-gaming, and yet worse, have been selfishly keeping all the carnal pleasures of such mental stimulations for myself.
But wait, it's not my selfish fault either. I'm the innocent scapegoat here. No matter how much I evangelise about gaming and serious studies of it, very seldom do I get people responding to me, “More! Tell me more! I want in on the fun too!” Usually, they expect me to amuse them further, without even requesting courteously - then indifferently forget even if I took the trouble to.
So this time, I delve into a strategy video game, with both turn-based and real-time modes. This means that when hunting each other into extermination, your game enemies and your units alternate in causing each other sorrow. But when you're conquering the larger game world, everything happens in minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months.
It is another of those aliens-out-there overrun-our-home titles, which once began with UFOs unknown that carpet-bombed our pitiful Earth all the way till we had to kick their butts in the end on Mars, and was followed by getting re-invaded from deep inside our Pacific Ocean, about the environs of Marianas Trench. (It gets even more bizarre in future installations, including the last of humanity in one fat megalopolis, with final excursions into another psychedelic-drug dimension, if we don't blow up damn aliens, and fade from this reality).
And no, since all resemblance with reality is purely coincidental with creative work, by alien invasion I don't refer to Eurasia today since the war started last year as a send-off to Covid. Although veterans of such games would admit imagination does mimic reality too closely, when real people in power start hallucinating dark fantasies.
But nope, this alien invasion game I refer to is not the forever-famous XCOM sagas, which will live on in diehard lovers like us, ever looking for morose ways to lose against excruciating odds of aforementioned UFOs and deep-ocean terrors, last super-city standing at the gateway into bizarre dimensions not of this world.
Rather I refer to the successor from the original game maker decades later, but for all its game expansions has supposedly culminated in the more underwhelming Phoenix Point. Yes, the variant game that goes on and on like our daily work and school lives, full of hopes and expectations of heroic successes, but actually turns out to be long periods of grinding logistics and routines, in which your combat promotions, better gear, and stronger protection resembles your study graduations and work promotions, higher salaries to be taxed more, and better security in life paid with increasing spending as you age.
Yes, the knowing amongst you may be disappointed with my game choice for comparison with our humdrum existences, but that is because the lessons of life on Earth are similarly not that glamorous and top-scoring for most of us ordinary people, we don't get to run around in rousing music anthems, posing with style before getting bled out or blasted dead in heroic sacrifices.
Yet, as in game, so in life, for too many of us, we start anonymous, not with the grand riches of business generations, the high breeding pedigree of proudly inbred royalty and large bloodlines of related nobles, and inheriting deep influence and great power, from dried skeletons of past centuries of history, with which to trouble the world and impoverish everyone else again, in this generation. We look around for certain families that persist this way, especially in Europe and North America, but also in the many nouveau riche clans in Asia and round the globe today.
Nope, boys and girls, most of us start off quite humbly (pathetically) like in this game, a few of the last decently armed soldiers, and one powerful armoured car that will break down before the end of the first journey. When you start playing this game, your rifles and grenades are little different from what modern soldiers have to play with in the cold winter of another year of war, and the thawing spring muds to come soon
Yes, you begin insignificant, but at least these days you get some excuse of pre-schooling, maybe curtailing your natural childhood before kindergarten with inventions like nursery and playgroups, as excuses to control your social conditioning and factory engineering, before you're even barely conscious of being a toddler.
You are still fortunate to be trained so young, unlike these pathetic few forces you start with, in a world with no education system and indentured economy. But like your weak game beginnings, before long you will get out there into the grind of a world full of scary new stuff to be tested against, at an unforgiving pace.
There is a similarity between being stung by a mutated poison worm, and the sting of being detained for poor work after school, or not getting your pay rise because you were stung by the arbitrary standards set by uncaring bosses.
AND NOW I BEGIN MY ACTUAL CHAPTER
Except that, my poor suffering readers, this is the end of the free preview, if I continue writing in a long, long, long fashion like this.
You'd have to continue paying for my many more chapters, the volumes of books that will continue my flowery ramblings, and the sagas I will drain my creative writing life planning for, which may or may not become signings of agreements to make television series, and movies with prequels and sequels, prequels of sequels, and sequels of prequels.
This is why I actually don't write like the above any more. I would die before I ever finish what I have to say succinctly, maybe like that famous writer who made a drama series about dragons based on his last books he has still not written or completed. And then he went on to cast its prequel series! Dead faint.
OR: I've written a shorter version of this post, a more complete one, released right after this, called more simply, The long life. Tell me you're more relieved that I finished what I started to say there, and then you can leave behind this long-winded nightmare that never took off. I told you so.
Aftermath check: Did you actually read till the end here? … Wow.
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