I’m probably encroaching on <em>Giga Game Breaker</em> territory with this one, but I’m a bad boy so I’m going to do it anyways.
So for the last week, the only game my friends have been talking about is <em>2048</em> (which, considering that <em>Titanfall</em> and <em>Dark Souls</em> just came out, is proof that I’m friends with a bunch of filthy casuals).
Basically, <em>2048</em> is a flash game where you start out with a bunch of 2 and 4 blocks on a grid that you slide around to match with other 2s and 4s and make multiples of 2. You win if you can create a 2048 block, and you lose if the grid fills up with so many blocks that movement is now impossible.
It’s a simple enough premise, and while you could probably go “1000 monkeys”-style and eventually get to 2048 by haphazardly sliding the blocks in random directions, there are techniques and strategies you can pick up by playing enough. It’s a nice enough distraction, and obviously I love distractions, but I don’t really understand the obsession everyone else seems to be having with it.
I’ve never beaten <em>2048</em> and I don’t ever plan to. Part of that might be using my arts student status as a crutch to say “I DON’T NEED TO BE GOOD AT MATH!”, but also, I don’t really find it compelling. For the same reason I could quit <em>Candy Crush</em> cold turkey after my ... episode a couple of months back, I don’t have a problem with half-assing <em>2048</em>, that reason being that I’m not afraid to quit.
Quitting has such a negative stigma attached to it, which doesn’t always make sense. Sure, there are times when you need to have a strong resolve and see things through, but sometimes it’s just as important to realize a lost cause and give up before things get worse. Just ask anyone who decided to watch <em>Dexter</em> to its extremely bitter end, or anyone who wrote off sleep altogether and instead played <em>2048 </em>all night (and still didn’t win either. Like I said, my friends = filthy casuals).
So sure, I could play <em>2048</em> for the next two hours in order to beat the game, but what would I get out of it? Bragging rights for the next two weeks until everyone gets sick of the game and moves onto something else? Pass.
Now, just because something is ultimately meaningless doesn’t mean you can’t do it. For example, <em>Animal Crossing</em> has pretty circular goals: you need to get more money in order to get more stuff, but then you need more space in your house which means you need to get more money, and then when you get more space it’s too much and you need more stuff to take up the space, and basically you’re in debt forever.
Obviously there is no way to pitch <em>Animal Crossing</em> and make it sound fun, but more to the point, even if I manage to get a lot of money in <em>AC</em> and get the biggest house imaginable, I’m not really benefiting from it in any tangible way. In fact, considering that it would require me playing over a hundred hours of a game that’s basically a pretty-looking mortgage simulator, you could say I’m being harmed by trying to do so. But I still play and I still futilely hope to one day be a debtless little villager, because it’s fun.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is you can do all the pointless things you want — it’s your life, after all. Just make sure that you realize what you’re doing is pointless, and don’t hesitate to throw in the towel if you’re not really going to be satisfied with the outcome.