The innocuous little time-wasters we play on our cell phones,
at bus stops and parties we didn’t want to go to, may have more to say than you
thought. Whether purposely or not, every game is lined subtly with an attitude,
an assertion, about the way the world works and how to handle it. For how much
time we spend on these freakin’ things, wouldn’t it be great if there were an
outline of what those attitudes are??
Sudoku ““ Find peace in order
Complex problems are solved in quiet solitary contemplation.
Your tools are the numbers 1-9, your only competition is yourself, and your
reward is a world that makes sense. Or does it? Go. Or don’t. It’s up to you.
The winners Taste serenity; can probably float off the
ground, but know it doesn’t really matter.
The losers Yell “numbers are stupid!” and play Angry
Bejeweled ““ Don’t worry, be happy
This game heaps on so many compliments and so much praise for
things that are mostly accidents that you’d swear it’s trying to have sex with
you. Everything in its world is a colorful gem or a pretty background, nothing
sucks and there’s no time limit (unless you want one). If you catch yourself
getting bored of the prettiness and relaxation, there are also explosions!
The winners You! You’re GREAT! AWESOME! EXTRAORDINARY!
SPECTACULAR! WANT TO GRAB DRINKS OR SOMETHING
The losers Try again! Also seriously if you’re not doing anything later did you hear me say you’re SPECTAORDINARY
Happiness Take some ““ baby, you can have whatever you like.
Solitaire ““ We are ruled by cruel, unjust fate
Game play is slow, flat and, no matter how skilled or
experienced you are, winning any given game may be impossible. Solitaire
reminds you you’re born alone, you die alone, you play alone. Life is hard.
Winning isn’t up to you. Fate is cruel, unforgiving and unflashy ““ Solitaire
gave in to new colors and backgrounds, but only after years of the same painful
green. And you know it thinks less of you for caring.
The winners The lucky ones.
The losers Most everyone, the skilled and deserving among
Happiness What is this, kindergarten? Have your parents
not told you yet that they made this up?
Tetris ““ We are but cogs in the machine
You have a place in life, and it’s to put these blocks in their right place. Work harder! Work
faster! Work more! If you can work faster, do it even faster! You are only as good as the lines you complete.
The winners Your reward is move more blocks!
The losers Have no purpose in this world.
Happiness Clear mind, fast thumbs, can’t lose. Also shut up and move more blocks!
Words with Friends ““ Brains over brawn
There are no relationships without competition, and Words with
Friends believes that competition can be boiled down to vocabulary-themed
intellectual dickwagging. The smartest and wordsmithiest of your friends can
remotely, passively crown themselves “best.” Call it a “game” and call opponents
“friends” so the one with the least extensive knowledge of “words” can have
their ass handed to them.
The winners Are now conclusively better than you.
The losers Have to deal with the winners’ smug, obvious lies about
this game not being that big of a deal.
Happiness Privately hip thrust about a triple word score!
Everyone is dumb but you!
Angry Birds ““ Brawn over brains
No matter how much you want to dress things up with cute
animals, ours is a world of war and destruction. You have two options: destroy
or don’t play. So cute! So colorful! But kill or be killed!
The winners Those who are angriest. And have the best aim.
The losers Must not understand that those pigs have their children or else they’d be taking this goddamn seriously and destroying some goddamn pigfrastructures.
Happiness The rubble of your enemies’ previous society. Whee!
Brick Breaker ““ Brawnier over brains
The winners BROKE BRICKS
The losers BREAK MORE BRICKS
Happiness NO BRICKS