Time and Value

Jason Rohrer has received a bit of attention lately for A Game for Someone, which is interesting because it was algorithmically evolved by a focus group of AI agents. He won a GDC award, though, for his interpretation of the theme of “Humanity’s Last Game”. In order to deliver his creation to the future, he encased it in a time capsule and obscured the location.

Intentional or not, there’s a dark critique of our culture in this approach. Are we to find value in being “last”, or lasting, in a purely physical form? Artifacts such as games are important only insomuch as they influence us. A Game for Someone is, of course, not for us. Does this still count as a game when it is unplayed, affecting nobody’s life?

Maybe the real game that Jason has designed is in the obfuscation of its location. He hid the real location in a haystack of a million falsehoods. We are situated in history at the end of such chaff data’s usefulness, and it seems likely deploying some algorithms or turkers would uncover his capsule within his lifetime. So he’s crafted a “game” never played, only physically extant and with no cultural influence, and wrapped it in a puzzle not explicitly described but perfectly suited to our culture.

I posted this on safelyignored.com in April 2013 during week 2039.

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