Let’s Play Ancient Greek Punishment: Limited Edition!


Vor vier Jahren bloggte ich über Pippin Barrs großartiges Flashgame Lets Play Ancient Greek Punishment, eine Sammlung kleiner Minigames, die die Strafen aus der griechischen Mythologie gamifizierten. Sisyphus und sein oller Fels, Prometheus und seine Leber, Achilles mit der paradoxen Schildkröte – alle am Start. Und da Flash nirgends mehr läuft und Flashgames ja eigentlich fast schon wieder Retrotech sind, hat er die Spielesammlung ins 21. Jahrhundert gebeamt und eine „Limited Edition“ in HTML5 und mobile-friendly gebaut, außerdem hat er das Gameplay poliert und philosophisch aufgebohrt: Play Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment: Limited Edition! in your browser.

Yes, this is very absurd and brillant.

Let's Play: Ancient Greek Punishment: Limited Edition! is the second follow-up to the original Let's Play: Ancient Greek Punishment. In this case I was interested in the idea of actually succeeding at each of the assigned tasks, because it seemed like an opportunity to explore a different kind of terrifying eternity: one in which you have nothing to do at all.

Camus wrote about the idea of Sisyphus being happy pushing the boulder up the hill because, in essence, it gave him a way to pass the time, a kind of "good honest toil". It would follow that if Sisyphus succeeded, and the boulder went away, he'd be in a deeper hell than previously. This also ties in with the videogame as a medium for this larger project on the myths.

The first version was chiefly about subverting the player's usual expectation of efficacy and ultimate victory by presenting them with tasks that could never be completed, no matter how they tried. In this version, the tables are turned – the myths are turned into videogames "properly", their "impossible" tasks built from the beginning to be defeated by the player as is the case with most conventional game design. In this case, though, the idea is to emphasise that in a sense success is the worst punishment of all. When you win, you have nothing left to live for. To quote Hans Gruber in Die Hard claiming to quote Plutarch: "when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."