This game is about infoxication, and choosing the right information. I have this addiction to information. I admit it. I'm constantly checking my mail, even my facebook (I have so many friends far from me!), but mostly my news reader. I sometimes think that I'm more addicted to Google Reader's interface than to actual information. I have lots of feeds added, most with more than 100 unread items. Too much (seemingly) interesting information, too little time. Why do Iike it so much? I feel very positively stimulated when I know about some amazing breakthrough or innovation, or that inspringly weird artist, or a bizarrely funny video. I love being constantly surprised. When I read or watch something interesting, I feel like my knowledge, my 'mind space', grows. But when I waste time reading some boring, badly written article, or listen to an uninspired new album, I feel like it was a step backward. The fact is that I rely on others (the blog writers, the new portal, etc.) to choose for me which information I finally consume. Then, by chance, I came to this Wikipedia entry about Infinite Regress:
An infinite regress in a series of propositions arises if the truth of proposition P1 requires the support of proposition P2, and for any proposition in the series Pn, the truth of Pn requires the support of the truth of Pn+1. There would never be adequate support for P1, because the infinite sequence needed to provide such support could not be completed.
So A is true only if B is true, B is true only if C is true... How can I know if a piece of information is good, worth it's time? I rely on someone who chooses (and, in a way, teaches me choose) interesting information for me (example: a blog editor). This person, also, relied on other persons to learn how and what to choose (her teachers, parents, current boss, friends), and this chain goes on and on and on until we go back to Big Bang. In conlusion: an information (or media) item is only correctly rated (chosen, criticized) if all the ones that led to it were also correctly rated (reviewed, recommended). So I wanted(needed!) to make a game about this.
What you can download below is, obviously, just a barebones prototype, and my first try with the (awesome) Unity engine. The player is surrounded by four impenetrable walls; the space inside represents the 'mind space', the 'knowledge' achieved. You can see what's outside, but you can only understand (reach, touch, consume) what's inside. Around you, items pop randomly: the information pieces. They only last some seconds. Some throw stars: those are the good ones, they make your mind grow. Others, the bad ones, throw smoke. The task is easy: pick the good ones, and your closure will expand, and avoid the bad ones, or your mind space will shrink. But you are not alone: around you, three robots, which represent the critics (or information discriminators), are constantly walking towards and item, deciding if it's good or bad, and moving to the next item. When a critic touches an item they return a verdict: from now on, the critic opinion is what prevails. If and item is deemed good, it will move towards the player slowly, because good information lasts longer. If the verdict is bad, it will move towards the player at a high speed: shit moves fast, and falls into oblivion faster. How can you win? Pick enough good items to make the player's barrier bigger than the whole scenery. Avoiding several bad items in a row also makes the room grow. How can you loose? When your closure is so small that you cannot avoid any item. Failing to pick a good item also makes the room space decrease. And while this unstoppable frenzy happens, you are always surrounded by nature, unreachable and forgotten. I guess that I need to improve this game design, because I need far too many words to explain it properly. Anyway, I really enjoyed programming it (in less than 10 days!), and though it can be infinitely improved, I feel that this prototype captures accurately the anxiety and distress that I was trying to explain. You can also play it on your browser.