Category Archives: nerdery

I Like Uphill Battles

I just finished playing Artemis with a group of friends.  It’s a spaceship bridge simulator – basically the computerized equivalent of the game of make believe every nerdy child played after watching an episode of Star Trek.  Six people man different stations and coordinate amongst themselves to stop an alien invasion.

I don’t really like video games, but I love Artemis.

Often I play ‘Captain’ when we play.  That means I don’t even have a computer in front of me.  Rather, I ask questions, make tactical decisions, issue orders, and act as a coordinator to the rest of the team. The other parts are fun too, but what I really like to do is turn up the difficulty, select the most outclassed ship in the game, and try to lead a team through it.

What I’ve found is that I like uphill battles.  When mopping up the enemy is just a matter of going through the motions I get bored.  Even when it’s tight but winnable, it feel too easy.  I need the game to be downright impossible.  My own personal Kobiashi Maru.

I often find I have to be almost certain I’ll lose for something to be worth trying at all.  I’m attracted to big risks, and I suppose the corresponding big rewards.  To get any of those rewards, you have to be willing to eat certain failure an awful lot.

If the past couple years of running Whole Punk have taught me anything, it’s that there’s a kind of joy in resiliency.  I don’t like failing, but I like fighting to win, and I like standing up again after I fall.

I’m certainly not the only person I know like that.  So many of my favourite friends are the ones who try big things and get back on the horse with a grin, no matter how back they hit the dirt.  I admire people who play life on hard mode.