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“Bey, old boy,” I thought to myself as I lay down the shovel, “sometimes we get swept up in evil without realizing it. Even with the purest intentions, we might ignorantly fall to evil.”
Wiping the dirt on my hands off on my jeans, I straightened up and reflected on Tetris and how the vibrancy of its bright colours belie its truly sinister workings. We believe we act only to fill in the rows, but examination reveals darker workings. The tetrominoes appear as if from nowhere, but conservation of mass tells us such cannot be the case. The only alternative is that the poor blocks are ripped from their lives and loved ones by the sheer force of our will to game, left to shiver naked in the wings before they’re called to the play field.
And then their agony truly beings. The tetrominoes plummet down, seeing only the bodies of their fellows below them and as they fall, we make them dance according to our whims. They land hard and are smothered by more bodies from above. They live on in anguish until we relieve them of it — by clearing a row, decimating blocks and often cleaving their geometric bodies in twain. Their screams are all but audible, though they fall on the deaf ears of the entertained gamer.
As I threw my now empty sack over my shoulder and picked my shovel back up, my mind wandered to Pac-Man. There lie no pretensions of innocence. Pac-Man is the player’s agent of remorseless chaos.
Some might argue that Pac-Man is a game of self-defense with the puck running from the ghosts. Untrue. The yellow villain is a thief acting only to loot the pellets of the ghost people. If it were otherwise, would Pac-Man be on the run from the ghosts? The same ghosts who bear him no ill will? True, if they try to give the guy so much as a fist bump, he’s done, but they’re just wandering about. If Paccy bites the big one, he’s to blame for getting too close.
If his pillaging weren’t enough, the puck goes so far as to kill the ghosts, insofar as ghosts can be killed. That’s right, Pac-Man tops it all off with phanticide. Poltercide. Specticide. Something, anyway. As soon as he gets his devious hands (…curves?) on a weapon, he goes on a killing rampage against the defenseless and terrified ghosts. There is no good here.
God damned terrifying.
As I turned away from the pile of fresh earth and staggered out into the night, I cast my thoughts to one last game. The mother of evil. Pong.
One might wonder what could be so horrible about a pair of paddles. They go up, they go down. What’s the harm? The answer is simple and spherical: the ball. The one white circle caught in a cycle of unending suffering. It slams again and again off hard surfaces, its body pounded raw and its tormentors, the paddles, desperately prolonging its torture.
Now and again it is promised relief as it slips past one of the guards, but these brief tastes of freedom only serve to sharpen its pain. No matter how fast it runs, it is returned inexorably to its grim prison. This great evil, hidden in a simple game, transforms us into sinners ignorant of the suffering beneath our entertainment.
Also, the dotted line. The dotted line is evil.
“All well and good,” I mused, “but ‘Real-Life Snakes and Ladders‘ is not going to justify those bodies in court.”
I let my feet carry me away as the sound of sirens filled the air.