So I’ve been playing Glitch for the last few days; it’s a lightweight free-to-play social MMO done as a browser Flash game, sort of a cross between a platformer and combat-free resource-wrangling games like Animal Crossing. It’s a good little time. It looks a bit like this:
But I play a lot of games and don’t mention it here much at all, so why am I bringing up this one? Because of a plate of beans, is why.
It goes like this:
1. I found out about Glitch because I work for and hang out at Metafilter, and a lot of folks on Metafilter are playing it. And so while my little yellow dude has been mining beryl and cavorting with pigs in exchange for steaks and harvesting bubbles off of bubble trees, I’ve been chatting with my fellow Mefites. And not only are the are a lot of us playing the game, there’s even a couple folks who work for Tiny Speck, the company that makes Glitch.
2. There’s a long-running joke on Metafilter about how we’re the kind of people who could overthink a plate of beans. It started as a joke someone made during a thread years ago in which people were earnestly deconstructing the performative elements of Alanis Morissette’s cover of Black Eyed Peas’ My Humps, and it caught on, to the point where “beanplating” and “to beanplate” are a commonly understood derived verb forms used to describe maybe-needlessly-in-depth analysis of one thing or another. There’s even a song.
3. Glitch has bean trees, on which grow beans. One can harvest beans, and eat them or use them as constituents in recipes. What Glitch hasn’t had is beans arranged tastefully on a plate.
4. Except, well, that now exists, thanks to one of those Mefite Glitchers who happens to work on the game.
Here it is:
So what happens when you decide to overthink your plate of beans? Well, overthinking isn’t something you want to just jump into without a little bit of consideration, so the game helpfully asks if you’re sure you want do this:
But being sure about overthinking isn’t something to settle on trivially, so after a moment it asks if you’re really sure:
Any seasoned overthinker knows that settling on being sure about something takes serious contemplation, and so, well:
Given that energy slowly goes down over time in Glitch, I had to resort to frequent bouts of meditation with my Focusing Orb just to keep myself from starving to death while waiting for the eleventh confirmation screen:
I have no reason to believe this would end. But I haven’t got the patience to find out; in fact, I don’t have the lifespan to find out, because the pause between each confirmation step grows literally exponentially: the wait between confirmation prompt n and confirmation prompt n+1 appears to be 2n seconds, which means that while it only took one second for the “really sure” prompt to appear, it took four seconds for the “really, really, really sure?” to appear.
And because I don’t want to keep tying out big strings of “really”s, let’s just note that the number of times “really” appears in a confirmation prompt can also be expressed mathematically as n – 1, and call this value reallyn.
So, as above, the wait on really1 is 2(n – 1) = 20 = 1 second; the wait on really3 is 22 = 4 seconds.
The wait on that last one pictured above, really10, was 210 = 1024 seconds, or about seventeen goddam minutes. Or about one and three quarter hours of in-game time.
If you wanted to get as far as really31, you’d have to play Glitch for about 50 years straight, every day, without sleeping. And that’s a lot of bubbles and pig steaks to eat.
You’ll never see the really32 milestone yourself; you’ll need to establish a trust for that.
I can’t think of a better in-game manifestation of this little bit of Metafilter in-joke humor, and it’s just a goddamned magical bit of internet wonderfulness that I have this silly item in my inventory on this game I didn’t even know about until I blundered into it a few days ago and lost my mind to it.
Thanks for the plate of beans, ericost. You’re a mensch.