Game Design Sketchbook: Immortality

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Because mind is not invulnerable. I've had people who appear perfectly balanced near me, who completely lose the ability to tell the what's real and whay's not. Any sane person feels like the idea of becoming like that yourself is ridiculous, after all, you have perfect control. Yet that's not the truth.
When talking about life that long, becoming mentally ill is about as likely as getting a flu once during the next winter.

And you'd think that human psyche only gets stronger and more stable in time, but you have to remember that psyche is also something developped through evolution to keep the individuals healthy during their limited lifetime, and so simply not designed to keep on going infinitely. How mind that keeps alive hundreds of times the normal develops is hard to predict.

It's also possible, of course, that you'd might come out more or less okay, but given that death nullifies all will to live, permanetly or for limited time, it seems the most rational and risk-free choice. Persisting to live forever because of fear of death is the irrational choice.
Of course, if invulnerability would be replaced just with eternal youth (though you wouldn't really be immortal then)... It would be a win-a-win situation, as the door would be always open away from life (though you'd probably die relatively soon from an illness or injury, as those things are prety muvh a game of luck, and that famously never lasts forever).

I won't choose immortality because of fear of death. I don't fear death. Why fear something that you can't do anything about after all? I believe death will be some new experience, either another world, another form of life, or eternal nothingness. Either way is not something anyone should be afraid of, IMHO. That are the century long religious propaganda speaking, that if you don't do what God says, you will be banished to eternal suffering and pain. This is what makes many people want immortality, to escape this punishment. This is what makes many people fear death. I don't believe anything like that will happen.

But even if I'm a-okay with my death occurring sometime in the future, I sill want to experience this life to it's fullest. But given the little time I have left, there is really no chance to accomplish all I want before I go. If immortality means that I practically CAN'T die, no matter what, even if I fall sick n stuff, I would take it. Maybe use that time to find a cure for my illness, effectively curing another bunch of people suffering from that condition. There is no end to what you can do, once you have all the time in the world to do so, right? :) If it means illness-free eternal youth, then all the better.

As for the mind, that is something different. I think mental health is a very relative thing. Anyone saw the movie Twelve Monkeys? It's a golden example of what people think about "normal". Just think about it, if you were in the shoes of James Cole, and you appeared inside an insane asylum, would you be "normal" enough for them to let you go? Can you explain yourself out of there? Remember, every single one of the inmates there thinks he is sane, and want out. What makes YOU so normal? Trust me, the doctors would find at least SOMETHING to keep you in with. Nobody is "normal". Just think about it: every single person on the street you walk by has some "underlying condition" to qualify for the laughing academy. Even if you are a convict from the future who seeks to stop the annihilation of the human race.

On this note, I think our psyche could handle a few thousand years of life. :)

People are not afraid of death be because of religions. While religions heavily take advantage of that fear, it's not some guy wandering out of a desert that made human fear death...
Actually the fear of death is pretty much hardwired to people, because after all, species not instinctively trying to avoid it wouldn't be around for too long. It's pretty much the most basic psychological attribute evolution has given...

And about wanting to live life to fullest, well this goes a little more complicated... That is as irrational as the fear, because death (considering to be the scientific kind, eternal nothingness) will simply take that desire away, so once you're dead, whatever you feared or wanted will be meaningless. Thus still making mortality the rational answer.
Then again, such rational thought might be impossible to really "attach" to your emotional osyche, because the idea that all you feel is meaningless on all levels when you bring in the alternative of nothingness is just well beyond all mental structure. Making yourself completely believe that death is for the best might be impossible through that rational idea... Having deep hatred for life might get you closer to whole-hearted deathwish. :) ... no, wait a sec :(

As for your argument against mental health... Are you really, as it sounds, claiming that mental ilnesses don't really exist? Because few guys did, and they are today known as "teh stoopid".
It's pretty darn hard to live your life to the fullest and achieve great things with yor eternal time if you don't even can tell real from unreal. What is put under the category of mental illness is a thing of definition, but going enough batshit insane to not have any real control over your life is not.
And I don't get your analogy with the Twelve Monkeys. If James Cole in the movie would have turned out to be just insane, he would have had no control, and had been exactly a fool running desperately after his own fantasies. You might want to live on, but is something like that the way you want to do it? I suppose "wanting" would become meaningless there too, once you had accepted unreal as real, as it would be real for you (not that it still wouldn't cause problems) similar to your current desires being meaningless after you die, but doesn't that eliminate any reason to pick immortality in the first place?

On this note, I think our psyche could handle a few thousand years of life. :)

How'd ya know? Nobody lived "forever" until this day, so there is no ground for your statements.


Anyway, getting seriously mentally ill will render you capabilty control your life to none... Heck, even mid-level depression shakes it up quite a bit. So you wouldn't be really using your eternal time exactly productively, if that would fall on you.

I would say id choose immortality, but I'm already immortal..just keep it under ya hats!

Funny how folks keep talking about the after life. I know I wasn't supposed to tell you this...but come over here a second. Santa, the Easter Bunny and God, that's all just stuff we told you to make you feel good. You just rot in the ground.

Let's be far if there really was an after life, than this conversation would be pretty pointless. After all we would be talking about the difference between living here or some other place forever.

Obviously no one really believes in the after life otherwise folks wouldn't fear death. People that say that don't fear death, have never really thought it in a palpable manner. I've seen a few people die in front of me and trust me, there was nothing pretty about it.

Funny how folks keep talking about the after life. I know I wasn't supposed to tell you this...but come over here a second. Santa, the Easter Bunny and God, that's all just stuff we told you to make you feel good. You just rot in the ground.

1) Santa does in fact EXIST. He's a patron saint of theives and prositutes. So don't deny the existence of a saint.

Where's your evidence? Where's your proof? You haven't died yet. You only saw people die. I saw people die too, and they died rather peacefully. Not dignified, but peacefully.

In any event, most religions come up with the idea of souls. Your body decay and rots, while your soul transfers over to the hereafter. When you die, then go and tell us what it feels like. Until then, we have no way of telling people if the afterlife exist...or not.

Still, discussion over the afterlife would render this conservation pointless, as you will be forced to live immortal. But even so, I wouldn't want to live in this dimeson forever. As people said before, there is no real...uh...point then. Live for the new experiences? Come now, there is only one major planet with life, with an entire empty galactic sandbox. I think it'd be pretty easy to exhaust all the replayablity of this life. Plus, I don't have the skillset to master the fine arts of Orgami, and I'd rather die than resort to learning that sort of thing for...'fun'.

Plus, it would really mess up evolution, since evolution works on 'natural selection'? Without natural selection, new and better traits would not be able to evolve? The human race's progress in genes would stagnate.

The problem I have with this game is the same problem that I have with people saying immortality would be boring. Yes, an infinity of nothing but a flat plain and movable blocks would be boring...but that's not where we live. There is ALWAYS something new and fascinating to see, because the universe is a place that changes.

Exactly right, and that's what I find most depressing about Immortality *and* Passage. Both games take the big theme - "this life we live through" - and portray it as a repetitive, tedious grind. I don't know about immortality, but I reckon as long as I'm mobile and cogent, I'll be able to keep myself entertained.

It seems like every major viewpoint has been covered, but there hasn't been much discussion of the game itself. I'd like to present a short thesis on why I think the game strongly supports the decision of immortality. Granted, I've only played to 21, but here goes...

- Active participation: it is only with your help that the vine can flourish and thrive; if you deem the vine a worthy form of existence, you can help it along. So long as systems such as this continue to exist (indeed so long as heat-death or some other debilitating factor does not overtake the universe), then there is always more to do, repetitive though it may be.

- Meaningful existence: the game gives you a score counter and a way to increase it. You can make it much higher if you take the yellow pill than if you don't. The universe and/or God wants you to build a tower; you are fulfilling the meaning of life (or at least your own life) by choosing to be immortal.

- Pointless middle ground: I admit I have never allowed the timer to run out on me naturally, but it seems to me as though there is no point whatsoever to do so; if one actually pretends that they have no existence outside the game, that there is no "real life" to resume if you die, then either life in the game should be ended immediately or never, depending on one's priorities.

- Meta-game justification: This is the kicker for me. I couldn't bring myself to stop playing, even for a moment, until I thought of something I'd rather be doing (writing this). The game itself, from a real-world perspective, presents us with an interesting decision: Either the simplistic existence of the game is good enough to do forever, or we have an intrinsic desire to continue to experience new things. Ironically, unless the second case implies we'd rather die than do anything else, BOTH of these cases support immortal life; the human brain, consisting of an insignificant amount of matter compared to the entire universe, is ill-equipped to even approaching complete knowledge of the universe and all its systems; even if this is accomplished, we can bring the information level to literally infinite with hypotheticals. These hypothetical universes could take the form of stories, audiovisual displays, or... games, exactly like the one presented. So, according to this interpretation, we have two major possible impulses with regards to the decision of immortality: either we just hang out, or we continue to experience eternally, even if it's just with our imaginations; both of these impulses support immortal life.

Naturally this interpretation doesn't include considerations that others have already brought up, such as the possibility of complete insanity if one is left with nothing but imagination to experience (especially when conventional imagination runs out and you need to start imagining universes over again with N+1 alien-inhabited planets with the (N+1)th permutation of morphology, technology, and culture). However, the purpose of this post is just to make a stab at interpreting the game itself without trying to give a definitive answer to the question, which, as written above, I feel has been discussed plenty.

I don't think this game gets the message across. At the beginning, I was building a huge tower while immortal, until I got bored with it, and took the death pill. The message seemingly was that immortality would eventually be bad and I'd want to end my life... but a moment later I was rethinking this and I figured if I could choose immortality but I had the choice to end it whenever I wanted to, I'd take it.

This is not really different than what we have now. Life as it is is long enough to not be worried about. Some people choose to take the death pill in the middle and suicide.

I played the game once, and it worked. After I quit the game I tried to start it again later. The game tries to load, then eventually Windows tells me it crashed. Now I can't get the game to work anymore.

I didn't realize there was a comment feature to this site until a few minutes ago.
So anyway... :)

Nice game, just found the block swapping/movement to arrange them annoying/time consuming. They guy above must have played for a pretty long time.. ^-^

It made me wonder what those plants growing would do/become, but it seems nothing I guess?

According to the screenshot he only reached 25.
I grabbed the Invulnerability, and just kept on building right at that spot.
After I reached the clouds, I picked up a block that was at the vine spot at the time, and the vine snapped.
I also noticed then the counter went from 1 to 0, and realized I should start anew.

I cannibalized my first tower, and eventually reached 76.
I started 3 blocks wide, but ended one wide with the ladder blocks supporting the vine.
I had to move a whole bunch of block to the correct side of the tower, meaning carrying up the tower, and dropping them, before using them to build the rest.

The sky does eventually go black.
Then there was no way to build higher (unless I missed something), so I jumped all the way down right into the Death icon. :)
It seems I stayed up late and was a bit tired at work the next day for pretty much nothing.


The main flaw in everyone's arguments is that no-one here has died, and therefore has no proof of either that we have immortal souls that lie on, or that we just "rot in the ground".

Believe what you will, but it is childish to try and dissuade someone else from what they think when there is no proof to what you say, either. in NOT DIEING!

Thats what we are talking about
thats fucking imortality...a Highlander isnt immortal since you can cut of his head and he dies...
And if you cant die of old age but die of a bullet, or the flu, you are NOT immortal....

i like the game, actually made me think...
and it made me think that yeah, i would take that pill anyways...well people move and die, but that doesnt mean i find more friends...imortality would only suck when you whould be drifting in space.

Also the whole "no etarnal youth" thing is ridicoulous...if you age, you cant get older then 200-300, because your whole mass desintegrates itselt...what do you think ageing is?
Your cells DIE..if they wouldt die, you wouldnt age....when they do, they age...and when enough cells are dead, your body wont function
it wont just funtion anymore...
or your brain would simply stop working someday, bacause all the synapses are broken...

First of all, sorry about the thread necromancy.

The discussion here was pretty interesting, but I ran into an issue in-game that sort of puts a different spin on things...

In the process of building my tower, I went to carry a block over, toss it past a gap... and proceeded to fall down said gap, trapping myself under the block I was holding and between two three-block high walls. No way to drop the block, and nowhere to move to.

Maybe that's the equivalent of an immortal in a cave-in? :P

Sorry for the bump but...I was really happy playing the game when I discovered this:

That was far more interesting than watching vine grow. Really. It's only marginally more interesting than watching paint dry. What does that vine did for me anyway?

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