15 February 2011

Video Games are Here to Stay

My fellow citizens. On venturing out into the real world (yes, the other day) I observed first-hand a number of the king's subjects investing significant time and resources in, and reaping many hours of enjoyment from, video games.

For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, a "video game" is a simulacrum of a scenario where you play a game inside your television. It is all done using sophisticated mini-supercomputers that get in there behind the screen and change the TV's function from broadcast to simulation. For example, you may act as a tank commander charged with rescuing a prince or princess from the jaws of an angry minotaur, or an athlete joining one of your favorite sport teams to engage in ball or puck play. Normally how it works is that you identify with and control the action of a particular character or colored shape; some games let you control up to several colored shapes at once or in a sort of series as one either completes its mission or is destroyed and is then succeeded by the next. Play continues until you have had too much fun and simply cannot stand to have any more.

The following two statements are undeniably true:

1) Video games are a pleasant and often wonderful diversion from everyday reality.
2) Video games are a complete waste of time and should be immediately outlawed.

So how does the wise man reconcile this apparent conflict?

At the last board meeting we agreed that video games cause no harm in and of themselves, but do result in what Wittgenstein called a 'lost opportunity' cost (citation needed). That is, they eat tremendous blocks of time but leave the participant no better off, unimproved along any dimension except the ability to play the game and often in a dazed, exhausted yet vaguely agitated state.

Nonetheless, video games shall not be banned in the realm for the time being, and the previous edict to the effect that any time a video game console is seen it shall be struck with a sledgehammer, and anyone caught playing the game sentenced to six months of hard labor, is hereby rescinded. Instead, new law: any time spent playing video games shall be offset by time spent reading, at a ratio of 1:4; that is, four hours shall be spent reading for every one hour of video game play. And we're talking books here, Facespace doesn't count, internet reading can count for up to 25%, we understand there are lots of good sources and blogs on here but part of the point is to get people unplugged; comics max 30%, as long as at least two distinct genres of comic book are consumed.

If this law is enacted and ruthlessly enforced, future generations will thank us. Let us put our heads, hands, and hearts together to prove that our kingdom can once again lead the world in both reading comprehension and Dungeon of Leprechauns IV.

Good night, god bless, and may god bless this great nation of ours, and video games.

10 February 2011

Wisdom Sciopolis

Since the first Wisdom Sciopolis portal building was established in the time of the Quakers, those not privy to the secret workings of this advanced society have speculated, like, What's going on in there?Wisdom Sciopolis is hosted by The Proverbial Bejesus. Whatever that means.

Wisdom Sciopolis is the modern realization of Plato's kingdom of philosophers. The portal buildings are just that, sophisticated gateways to a highly advanced subterranean society. It is not known how many wise and enlightened beings reside in what is reputedly quite a nice setup they have down there, deep in the middle of the Earth, harnessing free unlimited power from its timeless geologic processes, making as much gold as they require using the ancient arts of metallurgy, alchemy, necromancy, all that song and dance, then coming to the surface to sell same and enjoy the ocean beaches and mountain lakes, and of course all the excellent shopping and fine dining that the surface of the Earth has to offer.

Wisdom Sciopolis is a utopia, at least in the sense that there are no unreasonable laws, no unpredictable violence and none of the offensive disgusting behavior that is the hallmark of modern surface man.

In Wisdom Sciopolis, everything works as it should:
  • The trains always run on time; there are no planes or automobiles.
  • Up is whichever way you happen to be pointing at the time.
  • Outsized steaks are rarely consumed and never, ever, frozen.
  • Everyone works together for the good of the community, no one's slacking off but if you're feeling a bit under the weather you can stay home today, that's cool.
  • The shopping is not that great, but the consuming is out of this world.
  • No one is too rich or poor to buy a neighbor dinner, but no one is hungry enough to eat anyway, even though the food is awesome and there's always leftovers, they can never finish it all, here take a plate back up for your lunch tomorrow.
  • Doing what needs to be done comes first, but plenty of time is left over for music, philosophy, and spontaneous gaiety. Every third Saturday is homemade caramel day.
Applications to enter Wisdom Sciopolis may be submitted on Wednesdays between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m., and are processed on a revolving, "First enlightened, first served" basis.