Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Two Dots

Los Angeles, CA

Two Dots.

My newest addiction.

Two Dots.

I know when a new-found obsessions reaches a tipping point when I start dreaming about it. Blue dots. Green dots. Red Dots. Purple Dots. Yellow dots. And those fucking anchors. All hovering above me during the few hours I'm under.

I'm consumed with Two Dots, a recently released app and sort of a sequel to its predecessor: Dots. I originally came across Dots in January during a blizzard in NYC. My flight(s) were cancelled and I was holed up at my mom's apartment. I was pretty much out of weed and watched every music documentary on Netflix and bored outta my skull, so I turned to Dots. I got hooked for a couple of days but then when I finally flew back to Los Angeles, I sort of forgot about Dots. I wanted to get to a certain level (500 score) and as soon as I got 501, I quit.

Enter... Two Dots.

I downloaded it and knew I was flirting with a dangerous activity. I dabbled with Two Dots to bide time during intermission of the hockey playoffs. But, then I couldn't stop.

Two Dots is sort of a mind puzzle that haunts you when you're not playing it. In your sleep. In your waking life. When you're cooking breakfast. When you're walking down the street. It's like Tetris in that regard. When I first got sucked in by Tetris, I used to dream about falling blocks. All the time. Raining blocks and cubes. For most of the 00s, I had nightly dreams about poker hands about both online hands and "live" hands. Yet, it's been a while since I had any specific dreams of either nature.

Luckily, Two Dots hasn't become an all-consuming obsession. Yet. Two Dots is one of those incentive-based games that makes you pay to keep playing. I always opt out of any pay option (I'm cheap, but I'm also not a sucker), so I have to wait a specific amount of time before I can play again. Two Dots is one of those games that's free to download, but they'll generate revenue other ways like users paying money for power-ups and extra lives (continuing to play without a timeout). Two Dots freezes you out after you lose your allotted lives. You have to wait 10-15 minutes like a detoxing junkie to play again. Fieding. Sweating. Body aches. Hallucinations. It felt like I was withdrawing from OxyContin. The aches, sweats, and hot pokers underneath your skin.

But then the freeze out is over and I can resume playing until I hit another setback. Frustrating, yet addictive. Challenging, yet addictive. Mostly addictive.

Two Dots is more like a slow morphine drip.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Guess it's better to be consumed by a video game addiction than actual morphine. Unfortunately, I have proclivities for both sedating activities. Two Dots' time cap is forced moderation, so you don't lose hours and hours and hours and hours of free time. Videos games are a huge timesuck, which is why I tried to avoid those costly pitfalls. I've dabbled on and off with different games as an adult, but stuck to online poker mostly because I could actually make money playing it. Yet without online poker in the equation any more, the last couple of years I limited any video games to the occasional chess match -- heads-up vs. the machine (laptop and app), Scrabble (via app), and Open Face Chinese Poker (via app).

Two Dots is a dangerous slippery slope because I can play it on my phone and justify playing it because it's a "mind" game, or thinking game, and not just mindless entrainment where you blow shit up or knock down walls with funky, bloated birds. But you can blow up dots.

I've been dreaming about dots. Or am I really dreaming? Can't stop seeing those dots. Can't stop rearranging them. Purple dots. Red dots. Squares. Bombs. Anchors. Green dots. Dots. Dots. Dots.

I'm hooked until I get bored... or get super busy with work. Until then, it's back to the binge of dots.

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