Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Greatest Game On Earth

Huh. Well, after someone decided to post my last article on reddit, I seem to have graduated from about 20 pages views an article to over 1000 for that one. Unfortunately that didn't really translate into any more followers, or even anyone looking at the other pages on the blog.

I will admit, the criticism for the transit article is a little strange. It is certainly true that the numbers vary by situation. I probably should not have implied my results were highly generalizable. In fact the final numbers pretty much only apply if you are driving to SFU for a one off day rather then taking the bus. I may, time permitting, do a similar analysis of the other transit passes and try and generalize the results a little bit more, since people seem interested in it. I will also remark that, obviously, if you factor in the cost of insuring, maintaining and purchasing a car it is going to be much cheaper to take the bus. However, I can't think of a single person I know with their license who doesn't own, or have access to, a car. The point is that many of these people persist in using public transit even though they have a vehicle, and the costs of owning the vehicle are not mitigated by the fact that they take the bus every day anyways. The majority of these people are students, and so from a cost perspective this makes sense, since transit is "free" for university students, but as the article shows, given a half decent car it will be much more expensive to transit then to simply drive up to SFU for me once that free transit expires.

Anyways, back to your regularly scheduled story


"Welcome, friend, to the greatest game on Earth! No need to be shy, just step right up these steps and through the door. See that wasn't so bad was it? No, indeed it was not, and you shall find that the game is much like this. First you feel trepidation and fear, but soon that will pass. You will be enraptured by the game, I assure you, ensnared by its visuals and ensorcelled by its tactics. And you will be a great player, I assure you. After all, you were chosen to participate were you not."

"Now, just go through there, and when you see the selection screen you just...wait, what? They didn't tell you what this all is? Didn't you receive a manual? You were supposed to read it you know. Oh, you didn't receive one. Well that is decidedly odd. Perhaps some experiment by the higher up...I mean, well, that's all right then, I'll just explain it to you a little bit, shall I. And then you can go through the door and down to the selection area."

"So this, well, this is the Greatest Game on Earth. Where one can marvel at the wonders of life and the specters of death. See, we have satellite feeds to almost anywhere on the planet. You can see what you want. And influence it. Change what you think needs to change an so forth."

"How do you change it? Well, you simply select what needs to be changed and then change it of course. It's really that simple. Only electronics can be changed of course. Traffic lights, or computers, or street billboards. Those sorts of things. You can't actually change the people. You can just modify there surroundings a little bit."

"What's the point? Well, to accrue fame and glory of course. You get to select some avatars in the selection room. Your avatars are everyday people whom you will subtly influence to help you accrue wealth and defeat your rivals. Yes, your rivals. The other players of the game. They will try and stop you from gathering wealth. But just be careful, you'll be all right. Of course, other players can see which people you have selected as avatars, but not to worry. I doubt anyone is likely to kill them all right off the bat."

"What happens if they die? Well, they're dead. If you run out of avatars you lose. Then you have to leave the game. Typically there is a buy in, but something tells me you didn't have to pay it. So I'm not to certain where you go after you lose. Just...try not to lose, okay?"

"What's the point of this? Well, to amuse oneself of course. In earlier times the wealthy played other games with the world. I believe something called the stock market was popular. But this is so much more personal. You can do so much more, and it requires much more thinking. You must apply your cunning to defeating your enemies."

"An invasion of privacy? Who cares, if you can afford to play this game you have undoubtedly had several...erm wait, you didn't pay did you? Well, I guess it sort of is. But just think. Without your assistance your avatars are surely doomed to lives of mediocrity. You can insert some excitement into there otherwise dull existences. You can make them famous, as long as you don't get them killed."

"Now I don't want to hear any more complaints. Clearly someone wants you to play and I think you should just enjoy it. Just go through the door and down those stairs to the selection room. And don't worry. I'm sure you will enjoy yourself. Just go."

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