Monthly Archives: March 2017

Real and Virtual Labyrinths: What Games Do and Don’t Teach

There was a dream I once had, in which my brother and I were trying to escape from a dungeon. We were in a small room, the only exit being in the floor at one end. It led to an underwater labyrinth which was supposed to be vast and dark and dangerous. However the room itself was large and homey, with dusty furniture, a TV and a Super Nintendo. We found that the cartridge in the SNES allowed us to play a replica of the labyrinth. You could control a character to swim and explore, and if he ran out of breath or was attacked by snakes, it was no biggie. You could restart. Try again.

No doubt my subconscious was feeding off repressed Water Temple trauma.

We knew that our only chance was to learn the labyrinth by playing the game. When we knew it by heart, maybe we could brave it for real and swim to freedom. But there was always a lurking worry that the game might not be portraying the real world maze accurately. Though given our lack of food, and the darkness of the maze, we really didn’t have much choice but to trust the game.
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