1pxg: Hold when Black with Lose State

Following some of the lessons learned on the previous series, this next iteration features a “lose” state. The conclusion of the previous exercise was that a system who could process failure and gave specific negative feedback could yield ludicity.

The resulting system behaves like this:

Hold when Black with lose state

Hold when Black with lose state

Upon analysis, it becomes apparent that the addition of a “lose” state actually breaks the intended behavior. Since the human reaction time is higher than the speed of a computer, it is impossible to anticipate the change of state. The system goes straight to “lose” when exiting “white” because a human hand will never be fast enough. Even trying to match the timing is near impossible, since we’ll always be less precise than the computer.

And still, there is a way to avoid losing. Bonus points if you discover it!

Click here to show/hide the prototype

If you found the way to avoid losing, good! Did the flaw in the system ended up becoming a source of ludicity? Or was it the fact that I challenged you to find a workaround?

One lesson we could learn from this is that ludicity depends on context. Taken as is, the above system is flawed and fails at fulfilling the requirements for satisfying the reflex-based play announced in the title of the system (Hold when Black). But when adding a different context, the game shifts from being reflex-based to being an enigma. In this case, since I can’t display text with my pixel, the context is separated from the system, but still it obviously influenced the way you felt about it. Modern games are usually able to display text and other non textual cues to give context to your actions and keeping you on the desired course. What is sometimes called “emergent gameplay” is when a player replaces the provided context with his own, thus changing the actions he will perform to have fun. Speedruns, stunts, performances and  griefing are some examples of these context shifts.

Spoiler: how to avoid losing