Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Wednesday, March 15, 2023, Michael B. Berg

A theme with no revealer today. Let's call it "video games clued somewhat poetically."

Barrel of monkeys (DONKEYKONG)
Shapes up (TETRIS)
Ghost in the machine (PACMAN)
Knock me down with a feather (ANGRYBIRDS)

I approve of this theme. 
So was I once myself a [player of video games]
And so I dream of going back to be.  
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
Sorry. I got away from earth awhile there. For the record, I have played all but SONICTHE HEDGEHOG. I played DONKEYKONG and PACMAN in an actual arcade, The Silver Ball, where I had to "Insert a token, say" to PAY for a game. Those were the days. 
But really, I don't dream of going back to it. I can easily get too into them, and then video games are just a time sink.

That said, my favorite video games (like Lode Runner) involved some kind of puzzle-solving. I guess they're all a little like that, but with TETRIS, say, the solution is obvious and there is really no trick but being fast. Other games, like ANGRYBIRDS, don't need speed so much as figuring out new ways of doing essentially the same thing. TETRIS is a continuous game. ANGRYBIRDS is a level-based game.

In a way, I guess, the NYTX could be seen as a combination. Each puzzle is a single continuous challenge, and each day is a new level.

Doing crosswords, playing video games, swinging birches ... they're all the same. Because sometimes, like Frost, 

I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return.
I guess that's the key. I need a diversion from time to time, but otium, Horace, tibi molestum est. ("Idleness, Horace, is troublesome to you.") Still,

I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

- Horace

p.s. Congratulations on the debut, Mr. Berg!

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