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Man and machine - Tech Geriatrix

Man and machine

Posted on May 28th, 2012 in Opinions

There are people. And there are computers. And inevitably, computer games, or videogames.

Some videogames are made with a dirty mind. With a metal music fan’s mind. In other words, with a maniac’s mind. We call them metallers.

Should you try to play such a game, it may be a fun experience against another human player. Well, unless he/she is also a maniac, in which case they will keep winning and just defeat the whole ‘fun’ part of gaming: actually not knowing who is going to win.
For some deep reason, people seem to be hard wired to seek trophies. Of any kind. They all want to be the best. Some, desperately. The point is to win, stand out, be different. And since that is the ultimate purpose, the means of getting there don’t matter. No matter how badly you cheat, it only matters that you shine on the highest step of the podium. Which is why you get all sorts of “cardboard celebrities” today, who aren’t remarkable in any way except that they did something stupid but popular. The kind of people that will always love shortcuts to fame, money or whatever it is they seek. And which is why Apple exist in its’ current form. But I digress.

Every once in a while, people would release a game that was seemingly impossible to beat. I remember trying to play some incarnation of Pong and getting a thorough beating from the computer. Maybe that’s why massive multiplayer online games, dubbed MMO, spawning the sub-genre MMORPG, popped up – you would only play against people so that you can actually become the best and no pesky artificial intelligence algorithm is gonna get in your way. But I digress again.

One such nasty-AI game was, and still is, Arcade Volleyball. It’s probably a safe bet that only God knows who wrote the game and who found it first, or where.
Well, beating the computer player at AV was apparently just a legend, as with other games. But now, hi-resolution footage of a human player beating the computer player have emerged. Sources indicate that the human player is actually Stimpson, fellow editor at Tech Geriatrix!

What does “AV kummuya winning” mean? AV as in Arcade Volleyball, kummuya… well, you wouldn’t be able to get the joke, really, because it’s not in English, nor meant to be. And winning is, of course, Mr. Charlie Sheen, Carlos Estevez’ trademark expression.
One good thing about this game is that we finally know where humanity got the inspiration for referee whistles. Those completely analog, acoustic sound emitters are merely trying to imitate the sound from Arcade Volleyball, when someone scores a point (the other sound is the ‘light’ version). Stimpson describes the sound as one of the most irritating sounds in the known universe. He sees it like a fine that you have to pay for losing a point, a fine that you get in a way so condescending that you couldn’t even imagine it. That sounds automatically tells you that you’re weak, that you suck, that you fail so badly.
Yes, indeed, it’s probable that the average referee whistle is merely trying to mimic that sound.

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