Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Level vs. Score

In arcade culture, your score is all-important. High scores grant permanence, if only temporary permanence, and only for your initials. But back when I dabbled in video games, via our Nintendo Entertainment System (my favorites were relatively non-violent games like Super Mario Bros. and Tetris), all I cared about was the level I could get to. I never even paid attention to my score.

How do you measure your success in life, by your score or your level?

18 comments:

  1. I think this is a kind of satisfaction vs. optimization divide. The "level" person is also gratified by exploration -- it's rewarding to see something new even if you are not simultaneously pushing the bounds of excellence.

    The trend in video games (broadly) is to sell "levels" to a mass audience, and "scores" to a hard-core niche.

    I have both tendencies, of course.

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  2. i was the same way. probably because it's easier to keep track of a number like "level 5" than a score of like 680,220 or whatever. those scores seemed so arbitrary. and anyway the goal, at least with mario, was to beat the game and watch the credits roll--the score was beside the point.

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  3. I like that term, "satisficing." I do that all the time -- especially since I work in a field where perfectionism isn't sufficiently rewarded to be worth the extra time and effort. (Perfection is subjective in writing/editing.)

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  4. Matt, right, I tended to gravitate toward games you could "beat" by progressing through the levels. So to what extent did my preference for Mario Bros. over say, Donkey Kong determine my worldview? HMMMM.

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  5. Level. I never understood how the score worked, except when you would get an extra life at a certain score.

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  6. Number of lives was a key performance factor for me too. Room to fail.

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  7. Yes I tend to be more levelheaded than score-headed.

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  8. Speaking of video games, the creator of one of my favorite video games, Our of this World on Amiga, just bought me lunch and coffee.

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  9. And it is a game that features neither score nor level.

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  10. Here's the Wikipedia entry:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Another_World_%28video_game%29

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  11. Damn it people, didn't I declare this a Wikipedia-free zone? :)

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  12. Level, definitely. It doesn't matter if your score crashes and burns.

    If you make the next level, score is irrelevant.

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  13. Didn't get the memo, sorry.

    Anyway, here is the official website of the game (http://www.anotherworld.fr/anotherworld_uk/), where you can play the first act of the game.

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  14. Scores are for accountants and lawyers. I leveled up three times last year.

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  15. When I played video games a lot years back, I didn't keep track of either level or score. As long as I wasn't "dead" in the game, as long as I could keep playing, that was enough.

    That's pretty much how I feel about life too, I guess. I'm extremely unambitious and non-competitive, but I'm patient and I want to last forever. I want people still to be reading my poems 2000 years from now. It's hard to imagine that anything less than that will satisfy me. Even though I obviously won't have any idea if that ever happens.

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  16. happiness in life is all about reaching the next level on a regular basis.

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