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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse

Black Hole

I recently discovered a pretty cool game on iPhone. It is called This is a highly destructive game, somewhat similar to the legendary Japanese game Katamari, in which one gets to control a black hole and devour everything that comes in your way, and the more one consumes, the bigger the hole becomes. The game works on a point system which measures the number of items swallowed, and it is a timed competition in which the most points accumulated within a limited time give us the winner. Furthermore, this game, like many other games on smart tablets, is designed to get you addicted as there is a huge amount of pleasure and gratification to be derived from destroying things (!). There is another side to this game that I think is, paradoxically, quite constructive, and that is tracking the growth of black holes, which is directly proportional to the size of items swallowed. At the beginning of each round, one starts with a small blackhole which can only absorb small things like rubbish bins, humans (yes, it does have a sadistic side to it, which adds to its addictive value), plants, lampposts etc, and these small items typically count for a single point (+1). As the holes gets bigger, it can devour bigger things like houses, cars, bridges, and eventually whole buildings, tunnels, windmills, wagons, ships etc, which naturally count for more points (+4, +10…). The key to the game is to accumulate as many points as possible within a limited time, and the strategy should be to grow as rapidly as possible and devour as many things as possible. Here comes the hatch: to grow as quickly as possible, which does not mean devouring everything without consideration. Rather, the pattern of growth depends on the size of items, since the bigger the items swallowed, the quicker the growth of the black hole. One can play safe and swallow small things like flowers and people (yum), but these trivia hardly count in terms of points or growth. If one devours bigger things like vehicles and building, on the other hand, one grows much more rapidly. The quickest way to grow the black hole, therefore, would be to stretch its limit and devour the biggest possible thing for its size i.e. when the black hole is relatively small, one should consume the biggest possible thing within the range of small things, like lampposts instead of flowers, and when the hole gets bigger, one should consider consuming the bigger things within its range, like wagons rather than cars, and as the black hole reaches the top level, one should definitely try to devour skyscrapers rather than houses. In this way, one maximises the potential for growth and can reach the top level as quickly as possible. The growth trajectory in this game is an apt metaphor for personal development, not only in terms of the gradual upward curve which characterises the typical growth pattern, but also in terms of maximising the rate of growth by endeavouring to tackle the biggest possible challenge at the stage of one’s life/career, which ties in with one’s personal ambition. One can always grow by doing something/anything, yet one’s growth accelerates dramatically when one is ambitious and daring enough to take on the big things in one’s life which can do wonders in stretching one’s ability. Why stick with the small things that we know that we can do instead of the big things that we also know that we can do? This seems to me to be the right way to go. is indeed addictive. So should our obsession with success be.

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