But I don’t think any of that is why people play games, deep down.
The Austrian novelist Robert Musil wrote that, whether we realize it or not, we are all always aware of our “strange cosmic situation,” of the unanswerable questions of being alive: “Death, the tininess of the earth, the dubious illusion of the self, the senselessness of existence, which becomes more pressing with the years: these are questions at which the average person scoffs, but which he nonetheless feels surrounding him all life like the walls of dark room.” I think people play games because they let us spend a little time in a different room: smaller, sillier, uglier, but with the lights on bright.
This will either feed their ego or really, really depress them as they think about the futility of Tinder and how they will never get married or have kids or be happy, really. The PERK cards are the qualities you want in a date. These get played on your totally rad date by your mean friend to make your carefully crafted dreamboat an undateable mess. Each player except the Single draws FOUR Perks and THREE Red Flags.
Try and make your date as cool and unique as you are, you beautiful, shining snowflake! Your cards should be separated into two piles: PERKS and RED FLAGS.
If you play too long you end up feeling awful — crampy, grit-eyed, obscurely guilty.
But the tiny, stupid world of a video game is suffused with meaning, and with clarity.
To start the game, go ahead and pick the person with the most dates under their belt. The RED FLAG cards are the qualities that make your date really AWFUL. If they're all mixed up then it's time to think about your organizational skills, you bloody savage.
By clicking “I agree” below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms.
Every now and then you take a break to look at some other numbers and maybe switch hats (your character’s hat, I mean). Sometimes when I’m playing I can hear my books making fun of me.
But I keep playing, because playing it feels great.
Not an anxious, uncertain human being, but a peacefully whirring component.
Some games use this solid base of purpose and clarity to build some larger structure of meaning — to subvert the player’s comfort, say (there have been a number of recent games that attempt to make the player feel bad for participating in simulated violence, for instance, even while the whole game is built upon that same violence), or to use that comfort as a base for empathy or creativity.