Sitting at a coffee shop, I am watching an older gentleman playing a computer game on his laptop. He is probably my age, but of course that to me he looks much older…
At any rate, from afar it looks like he is playing one of those Tetris-style games: shapes falling, creating rows that collapse if arranged correctly. I used to be hooked on that game when it first came out, a few too many years ago.
What is the purpose of such games? These are, after all, games that even the best player will ultimately lose. You can improve your score, be a world champion, but at some point, the pace of the falling shapes will be a tad too fast. A loss is imminent. It occurred to me that this sort of play is a little like life; if one considers death the end. Only that when playing a game you can pause, go have a drink or use the bathroom. Life is a little less accommodating. You can pause work and other commitments, go on vacation, but the clock keeps ticking.
What is the purpose of such games, games that no one can win? Maybe it is the process of playing, learning, evolving, even though the end result is known in advance. Maybe it is getting higher score by the time you are wiped out, higher than the other players. Maybe it is the excitement of the moment, being immersed in the game so much that nothing else has importance. And maybe none of this really matters.
But then again, maybe we are just pieces in someone else’s gameboard, and if that other, more elevated entity, has us score them enough points, they get another life.
Learned from: a man playing a computer game at a coffee shop.