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Mining This For All It’s Worth

, , , , , | Romantic | November 26, 2017

(I’m teaching my girlfriend to play an old video game where you destroy blocks that slowly move towards you by putting “mines” on the ground and detonating them later. The game is fairly simple in that you can only move around a very limited space, place the mine with a button, and detonate it with the same button. The rules are also easy: you must destroy all blocks but the black ones. I explain all of this to her, but since she’s a really bad listener, I also make her watch the tutorial first.)

Me: “Do you have any questions on how it works?”

Girlfriend: “Nope, all clear.”

Me: “Cool, go for it.”

(I start the game and hand her the controller, but then she instantly makes the character run towards a block, starts mashing all the buttons, and dies, crushed.)

Me: “That’s okay; it was your first try. Just calm down a—”

(The game starts again and she does exactly the same.)

Me: “Honey, you don’t need to keep pressing every button. You’ve got time for everything; there’s no hurry.”

(The game starts once more and exactly the same scenario happens. For ten straight minutes she keeps running to her death while I try to explain to her how to play, but she doesn’t even acknowledge my voice or my presence. I try to touch her arm and gently shove her, but no reaction; it’s like she’s in some sort of trance. Finally, I forcefully yank the controller out of her hands and pause the game.)

Me: “What’s going on? What are you doing?”

Girlfriend: *looking at me like she just came back from another reality* “Huh? What?”

Me: “What were you doing?”

Girlfriend: “It didn’t work.”

Me: “There’s no way it’ll work if you just mash the buttons like that.”

Girlfriend: “No, but I did it because it wasn’t working.”

Me: “What wasn’t working?”

Girlfriend: “The mines were not moving.”

Me: “Why would they?”

Girlfriend: “It makes sense.”

Me: “When I explained the game to you, did I mention that you can move mines?”

Girlfriend: “No.”

Me: “When you watched the tutorial, at any point did it show you that you can move mines?”

Girlfriend: “No.”

Me: “And you died like 30 times trying to do it, even though it clearly wasn’t working.”

Girlfriend: “Yes.”

Me: “Then?”

Girlfriend: “It makes sense.”

Me: “So, you just made up a game mechanic in your mind against all options, noticed that it didn’t work at all, yet kept trying to make it work again, and again, and again.”

Girlfriend: “Yes.”

Me: “Why?”

Girlfriend: “It made sense.”

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