The Entropy Cage

We're a "cyber-psychiatrist", which is to say that our job is to review computing processes and then choose an appropriate course of action. These processes manage all the nitty-gritty details of life in this advanced future age, and are advanced enough that they submit themselves to you for review.

That is, the processes, or "subs" as they're called, come up to you and say something along the lines of "I've been bad and must be punished." I confess that this setup made me a little uncomfortable. It suggested, as well, that the subs might have developed an addiction to their "punishment". I don't know if that had anything to do with what's going on in the game: it gradually emerges that there are a couple of subs that are warring against each other and cannibalising the others -- absorbing their resources -- in a sort of arms race.

The gameplay is a little opaque, in the sense that it's not always clear what each choice means. I get the sense that the story is all deeply allegorical and philosophical. There are multiple possible endings, but I can only see my way to two: one in which you end up creating a "god" sub, and another in which you give the subs the freedom to ditch their assigned purposes and go seeking the "true random" (god?) instead. On one level, the allegory seems to relate to economic principles: a communistic central authority with the power to assign resources for maximum efficiency (and also the potential for disastrous abuse), versus a capitalistic ideal of each sub becoming master of its own resources and therefore having the freedom to do with it as it pleases (and also the potential for disastrous abuse). On another level, it could be read as religious in nature: a deterministic world in which a present and active deity micro-manages everything, versus a more chaotic universe in which one has the free will to seek higher meaning.

I'm not sure I'm prepared to answer any of these questions. Suffice it to say that the overall work, for all its apparent simplicity, is uncomfortably thought-provoking.

Cornflakes with milk and honey, and ice-cold lemon tea.