Every few months or so along comes that game everyone around you seems to be playing. Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Temple Run, Flow Free, Flappy Bird…I’m sure there are many others, but those are the ones that come to mind. Now, the big thing (at least where I live) is 2048, a number-tile game with a simple yet frustrating goal: reach the 2048 tile.
I’m not going to go into any details about the game itself, because that’s not what this post is about. Rather, this is a post about these little game apps that somehow take up hours of your time. And it’s also a post about life. Because those two things are completely related, right?
I got this game a few weeks ago when it was starting to be a really big thing, and I tried like hell to beat it. My friends around me were solving the puzzle left and right, and every time someone did win it would be this huge deal: “I GOT TO THE 2048 TILE! THIS IS LITERALLY THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!”
These games, whether we want them to or not, do take up a lot of our time. They’re less demanding than video games, quicker than movies, and more interactive than listening to music (forget books; what’s a book)? They’re all we have when we’re tired of looking out the car window or waiting for that damn doctor’s appointment to start. And, try as we might, we can’t seem to keep ourselves from latching onto the next “in” game. Everyone around us is trying for this goal. How will we know how we compare to other people if we don’t try too?
These games might as well be physical proof of what people do every day. People love to have goals, and they love to reach their goals before everyone else. And if everyone has the same goal, it makes it all the more easy to feel really, really elated when you reach it because, well, you’re on the same playing field. Unless your friend is playing a hacked version of Temple Run, you’re still running around the same track, being chased by the same strange, unidentifiable monkey things.
And, despite where you might think this post may be leading, I don’t actually think that’s a bad thing.
I’m at a point in my own life right now where the advantages and disadvantages of myself and the people around me are painfully obvious and play a huge role in our day to day lives. Competition is there, even though most of us wish it wasn’t, and everyone judges everyone else, even though most people don’t want to judge or be judged. It places an enormous amount of stress on a lot of people, including me.
So it feels kind of nice to play a game that, for the most part, doesn’t demand anything from me that I feel I have to possess before I even begin playing it, or makes me constantly compare my strengths and weaknesses to everyone else’s strengths and weaknesses. Sure, some people might have better puzzle solving skills than other people, but for each and every person who plays the game, success is still a very real and very possible outcome. Getting that 2048 tile isn’t so far-fetched after all. There aren’t any monetary or physical limitations, no life experiences you need to have under your belt to win, no commitments or promises or schedules you have to keep. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that.
So, in conclusion: keep trying for that 2048 tile. It is, somehow, a noble goal. And it is one you CAN achieve.
Here is a link to 2048, just in case you’ve been living under a rock 🙂 : http://gabrielecirulli.github.io/2048/