MFSA044: IDDQD

MFSA044CoverEverything old is new again. It has long been true with modern music and so too is it true with video games, with a reboot of the classic ultraviolent shooter DOOM having been released in recent weeks. Hard to believe it has been 23 years since the original, which I recall playing on my beloved 486 across a coax ARCnet LAN set up in my basement until the sun came up on many occasions.

IDDQD, those of you of a particular vintage may recall, was a code that could be typed in to the 1993 version of DOOM that would enter what was called god mode, whereby the player did not take damage from enemy fire or hazards, and could play the entire game through to the end without dying once. While astounding and immensely rewarding at first, IDDQD had the effect of stripping all of the risk, and therefore all of the fun, out of the game.

Real life is like that too. While there is a little voice in everyone that tries to talk us out of trying things that we might fail at, stripping away the challenge and possibility of failure also strips away the opportunity to truly enjoy a well fought victory. As Brickman et al figured out in the 1970s, winning the lottery is likely to make you miserable, while becoming a paraplegic in many ways makes life surprisingly enjoyable. Life, like DOOM, needs to be hard to be rewarding, even if sometimes we might lose a few men in the process.

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