I've been compulsively playing an internet game called 2048, lately. (I've heard it described as the less fun version of Threes!) For those of you who knew me in my college Word Challenge days, it's like that. I'm being consumed.
It's a fairly simple game, a four-by-four board on which you start with two pieces (either a two and a two or a two and a four). You use the arrow keys to move, and each time you move, another piece (either a two or a four) appears on the board. The arrow keys serve as a kind of tilt function. If you hit the right arrow, all the pieces slide as far right in their rows as possible. Same for the other directions.
With only 16 spaces available on the board, you run out of space rapidly unless you crash like numbers into each other. A two piece sliding into a two piece makes a four piece. Two fours make an eight, two eights make a 16, etc. The goal of the game is to get a 2048 piece. I have yet to accomplish this.
It's not a good use of my time, I admit. (Mitch actually told me on Sunday that it was kind of embarrassing how much I played it. I was like, "Embarrassing to who?! We're the only ones here!") I'm actually very stressed about my time management, lately. I have more responsibilities at work; I'm trying to write things and hang out with people; I want to work out, like, all the time. I'm so stressed about it, I need something mindless, I explained to Mitch. I need something to distract me from the pressures of the world and from my poor time management.
But, as I play it more, I realize there are hidden values - nay, Truths! - to this game. For example, I am now more familiar with the powers of two (mathematical, not mystical). When I'm with people, I imagine smashing them into one another to see what next human piece they'd turn into, which is fun. And the game could be used as an interactive representation of Hegel's dialectic - thesis, antithesis, synthesis, thesis, antithesis, synthesis - all the way up to the 2048 synthesis.
It's connected to life. As I now understand it, the game might even be a version of life, adult life. See, if adult life is a 16x16 square, every move in it results in another piece vying for one's time. Work. Chores. Passions. Relationships. Being ultimately unwell. We try to clear some space for ourselves by resolving these responsibilities and pressures, by smashing eights into one another. But the additional pieces keep coming. Then sometimes, when I'm about to lose, I have so many things in my life that I have one or two spaces left to work with and everything else is set and unmanageable.
That's how I feel now. (Not to worry anyone. As I mentioned before, I did go through a time of Word Challenge, and I got through it.)
The sad bit of it is, things felt more manageable before I started playing this game.