Games are just stories we feel we can script. Simulations of a life that we think we can win. Algorithms we run, a part of us hoping for a different outcome.

All the things we wish for in life – love, success, fame, money – every single one of these involves chance. There is some fun to not knowing for sure. Maybe we only feel safe acknowledging that within the boundaries of a cardboard square.

Even the kind of games we pick, says something about us. Empire builders spending Monopoly money. Two-player shooters validating each other’s rage and glorified loneliness. Doing what’s not easy, not viable, not legal, not permissible in the real world, feeling everything that one feels but without the repercussions, only the satiation (which can look a lot like fun). The time-crunched on a quest to build Sally’s Spa. Dieting and failing (or not but it never feels like a victory) and crushing candies in one. It feels like a prize, even if only in consolation. It feels like control, the way moving a clock’s hands around can give you the illusion of moving time. Call after 2 days, disconnect after 3 rings. An illusion of control.

Whodunnits for the ones anticipating wounds, trying to see them coming this time. Because only someone who has been betrayed knows to watch for a knife in the back. Except you can’t watch your back. Or tell what the next dice roll will be (beyond that it’s between 1 and 6). Still, it’s nice to play a game and feel like you’re getting to tell the story. And not be it.

Your turn. Roll the dice.


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