I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. But I can’t program so it’s just like a thought experiment. A little something to make the nd experience, or at least my flavour of it, experienceable for everybody.
It’s just a little interaction game, where you explore and interact. The interface would look something like this:
At the bottom are the buttons for actions: play, angry, cuddle, hungry. At the top you have the exact same buttons again framed by a circle and a square button. There are no instructions. Except what the buttons mean though the icons are very on point (for me).
The game starts with a line of text:
First level is intro and easy. You walk around and can interact with things, play, eat, stuff. Just so you figure out the buttons. There’s a big teddy for cuddles.
From level two on things get more complicated. There are not only items, but also other dogs and humans. To finish the level, you have to do some tasks, like play with a human, get somebody to feed you, nap. Nothing difficult. But now the top row of buttons comes into play. Because few people you meet react to the buttons the way you want.
Like, most fellow dogs reply to Angry with Play. Humans, too. And when somebody signals leave me alone and you do, they get angry.
The solutions are the square – translate your signal – and the circle – translate the signals from outside. You can use them to translate an action you want to do to the outside, or let it run over a signal you get.
Surprise, surprise – most bottom row buttons need translation to the outside most of the time and vice versa. Though, once in a while, you will get lucky not having to do that.
The game gets more complicated as you have to translate both ways almost always. There are no keyboard short-cuts. You have to use the mouse. It is time consuming and the time allotted for the level runs out faster and faster.
When you failed a level three times, another line of text appears on the screen:
You get to choose and if you choose ‘yes’ all the lower row buttons suddenly mean exactly what they say to everybody you meet. No more clicking wildly to translate anything. It is easy to finish the level way below time-out.
Next level, you are a dog again. And each time you fail, you are asked again: Do you want to play as a cat? And the levels don’t get easier. You just can’t finish on time as a dog. You play as a cat. After a while, the game stops. There is one last line:
I don’t know if people would get it. But that’s what it feels like so often. The whole world is geared towards something I am not but everybody insist I must be. Because, what is the alternative? There is none, right?
Why don’t I want to play, aka live my life, as a dog? Everything is geared towards dog. Dog is easy.
But if you take into consideration the consistent translations I am doing all day everyday – I have learnt to emulate the world around me and I can “pass” for a dog well enough. So well, that people assume this is my normal and that it doesn’t cost me. But it’s not and it does.
I am tired.
I just want to be cat.