The Waiting Game : A Boring Videogame About Wasting Time.
August 24, 2012 8:04 AM   Subscribe

The Waiting Game : A Boring Videogame About Wasting Time.
The Waiting Game is a free downloadable videogame for Mac and PC about wasting time. In it, you play as yourself. Tap your fingers on your desk. Earn points. If you get enough points, you'll get a better desk. You must balance speed, accuracy and endurance if you want to become the TAPPING MASTER and eventually reach TRANSCENDENCE. Are you up for the task?

First a little context: Lately I've been finding myself preoccupied with the idea of boredom. in the past year, I've been scraping twitter to find the world's most boring instagram photos. Then, using those photos, I created an interactive facemash clone,, where you have to choose which photos are more boring. I've been crafting animated gifs about a workday that never ends, and free downloadable stock 3D models who are having existential crises. I've also been writing daily instructional "performances for everyday life" that I intend to release on one of those little office tear-off calendars.

So now, I've just finished my first major video game. I think games are a perfect vessel to examine boredom because, in many ways, the whole purpose of a videogame is to combat boredom. When we play a videogame we get a momentary respite from the crushing dullness of reality. Videogames, for better or worse, are escapism. Of course, this discussion is nothing new. The playwright Bertolt Brecht also claimed the "emotional catharsis" of traditional theater made its audience complacent. He set out to create plays where you did not get lost in the production, where you always knew you were watching a construction. You were not watching reality, but a representation of reality. He wanted to make the theater a place for self reflection, not escapism.

So if there's a greater "point" to this silly little video game I made, it's that. I wanted to make a video game where when you play it, you actively realize you're actually doing nothing, and you're okay with it.

anyway, enough pretentious stuff. please take a look because I'd love to know what you think!
Role: programmer, designer
posted by chriscollins (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Ok, so I click on the hand, and it redirects me to a 404 page. Is that the game?
posted by dmd at 8:22 AM on August 24, 2012

I'm not getting a 404, but I'll check it out. In the meantime, here are the the direct links to download:

posted by chriscollins at 8:59 AM on August 24, 2012

So I managed to download it but I can't figure out how to actually tap the fingers— I've accomplished zero taps in the last two minutes, which is terribly embarrassing.

Also: maybe it's a function of how late it is (OK, it's not that late) but I'm obsessed with Right now I'm stuck between a shelf of gluten-free recipe books and a middle school analysis of a Maya Angelou poem. This may be my Waterloo.
posted by brieche at 10:36 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

thanks so much for downloading! like the splash screen said before the start of the game, you control your hand with the keys J, K, L and ;

Also, i love that you're obsessed with, but clearly the recipe books are way more boring!
posted by chriscollins at 3:38 AM on August 25, 2012

Oh, got it! I managed to completely miss the splash screen instructions the first time through, my bad.

I made it to 1300 in a little over 12 minutes (though is the timer supposed to occasionally reset itself to the beginning of the minute?) but then my hand started cramping so I stopped, which is a pity because I really wanted to see what comes after the Newton's Cradle. Also in a moment of distraction I missed the reason my nice marble desk erupted into flames and skulls. I blame my subpar peripheral vision.

Nice job on the game! I was especially taken with how over time my hand looked less like a hand and more like some sort of horrible video game crabfish monster. It adds meaning, I guess.

I have to confess that in the end I actually went with the Maya Angelou analysis— it was exceptionally boring.

also: in the middle of this comment I went back to tap some more and was disproportionately thrilled by the moment when the camera pulled back to reveal my sweet new gold watch. It looks like my wrist is wearing a wrestling championship belt, and after 1500 completed tap sequences I feel like it was fully deserved.
posted by brieche at 12:14 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Inane observation: I just hit the 1800s and I'm finding that even though I have the option to put on a podcast or tv show as I tap I'm choosing to instead stare blankly at the screen and let my mind wander; of course I'm mimicking the mechanical motions of actual desk-tapping anyway, but for some reason seeing it echoed on screen is particularly stupor-inducing. There's probably a Malcolm-Gladwell-esque essay in here about gameification and boredom.

(thank god for the upgrade that just happened, the relentlessly uncovered upper left part of the desk was getting to me)
posted by brieche at 12:42 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm soo loving this play-by-play!
posted by chriscollins at 3:24 PM on August 25, 2012

Unfortunately the play-by-play has to end here because my hand now seems to have ascended to another plane of existence entirely and I'm not waiting for another Newton's Cradle to show up.

Thanks for an engaging (well not really but I imagine that's the point) half hour!
posted by brieche at 4:08 PM on August 25, 2012

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