Modern Consciousness/Ashes to Ashes

Warren Sproule (Warren.Sproule@SOCIOL.UTAS.EDU.AU)
Thu, 3 Oct 1996 09:05:23 +1200

Sorry if this is a repeat, 2nd stab at getting it through...

A spinoff from the current threads: currently in circulation is a
computerised future world war simulation game called _Ashes to Ashes_,
distributed by Stoneware inc operating out of San Rafael CA. The object of
the game is to protect the last remaining 3 cities on earth against enemy
incoming missiles using a laser, particle beam, and 100 surface to air
missiles. Points are scored on the number of missiles destroyed, and the
game concludes when the cities' inhabitants (2800000) are wiped out - in
the words of the game's designers the "inevitable outcome of a nuclear

After playing for a while you realise that in order to top-score, by
hitting enemy projectiles high and in multiple-exploding 'bundles', you
often have to let some through the "net" of your own weaponry and sacrifice
portions of your 'populations' in the cities (point values diminish as
enemy missiles get closer to the ground).

I showed the game to my 8-year-old daughter, who's been exposed to and
comfortable with PC's since age 4. She got the hang of the game pretty
quickly, but her scores were consistently low, because she interpreted the
game's *primary object* as defending the 'people' (who she
"anthropomorphised") in the cities rather than destroying the enemy
missiles. On that basis, we started keeping 2 separate scoring systems -
the official extant one (# of incoming destroyed) and our own (how long the
population reained casualty-free at the original 2800000).

QUESTION: Who in this scenario exhibits the more modern consciousness?
OPTIONS: 1. Me, on the basis of having mastered the game and gaining high
scores within the rules?
2. The game's designers?
3. My daughter?
4. [1] and [3] collaboratively, in the design of the
alternative scoring system?

Over to you...