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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Lost in Myst

I recently bought the entire Myst series of four games. If you haven't played them, do. All but the third are phenomenal. The fourth, in particular, is spectacular, with puzzles that despite their complexities make perfect sense. For instance, right now I'm at a puzzle where you need to use lots of wooden mechanisms to change the direction of the flow of water so that you can drain a certain area from water. I first tried to map out the area so I'd know where the water should flow, but gave up after a half-hour attempt gave me an undecipherable mess. Next I spent around an hour playing around with them, which gave me a very vague idea of where the water flowed. Then I tried and failed to decipher a map of the water which was drawn in mosaics. So I checked walkthroughs on the web, which told me that I had already set all the mechanisms correctly except for one. At this one mechanism, I must close off two streams. The machine is easy enough to use, and I can close off both of them separately. But each time I close one, the other opens. And so I have spent hours standing in place and closing one, then the other, then one hafway, then starting over, etc.

No, it really is an amazing game. The puzzles, except for that one, are brilliant, and- Oh, stop rolling your eyes, you'd agree with me if you'd played it! In any case, I'm stuck there now. If I were to play any other game while I'm still playing "Myst IV: Revelation", I'd naturally compare them and not enjoy the other game as much as I would have (because few games are as good). So I'm not playing any games right now. Battlestar Galactica won't continue for months, and Enterprise won't have any new episodes for a few weeks, so I have very little TV to watch.

And as long as I'm giving you all these meaningless details, I might as well go on to describe what else is going on: I just finished my latest piece, aptly named "Untitled". It certainly isn't one of the pieces I cared most about, and from the start the intent was to let Eliezer (my composition teacher) help me out, whether I agree with his decisions or not. I must say, it's sounding quite nice for the most part. I haven't touched Variations On V.O.V. since working on it in January. I was supposed to get a disc with the "Finale" notation software from Eliezer for the past few weeks so that I could more quickly write it up, but I never went to who I was supposed to get it from. I got it directly from Eliezer today. I'm planning on reading the Megilla on Purim, which is coming up soon, but I haven't been practicing. I have a bagrut (the final exams here, which all schoolwork is working toward) in Music History coming up. I have all the papers I need to study, but I haven't studied them. I have a bagrut in piano playing coming up, but I haven't been practicing. Wait, and there was something else I wanted to say... oh right, there was a paper I was supposed to hand in a few weeks ago to sign up for the programs I'd need to go to to do the bagruyot I'm not doing this year after the year is over. I actually came to hand it in today and found out that it's too late.

But why am I going off on such a tangent? Let's get back to the subject. As I was saying, due to apparently coincidental circumstances I'm not busy with games or TV shows right now, so clearly what I should be doing is posting on this blog.

[At this point in writing, I had to pause for about an hour and a half -no exaggeration- trying to think of how to continue from this statement.]

Do you know of Epimenides' Paradox? Surely you must, even if not by name. The most recognized form of the paradox is: This statement is false. How can one deal with such a statement? The only way we humans can deal with such self-referential speech is by creating a more understandable representation of the sentence in our minds, and then analyzing that.

And I'm very happy to be writing on this blog, because it offers me such a good way of dealing with Real World problems. Here I can create reason for human irrationality. Here I can make a good game out of a lousy one.

My mother asked me a few hours ago how I can ignore the Real World around me. It doesn't make any sense! Don't I know that I can't get anywhere without getting good grades? Sure, I know. But reason is a game, not reality. I am not applying the lessons learned to myself, but to an imaginary representation of myself. As such, I have no internal obligation to follow reason unless I want to. And in this case, I don't. My deepest desire is to see the words "Game Over", and be allowed to move on with my life. My real life, as a gamer. To move on to games worth playing.

Myst doesn't have a "Game Over" screen. The implication being that the game doesn't actually end, it just continues badly (although you are spared from seeing the continuation). Of course it can't end, because if it were to end, then how would you ever get to explore any more Ages (Myst worlds)? At the very beginning of Myst is the statement: "The end has not yet-"

I don't know why I brought this up in the first place. Forget I mentioned it.



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