Saturday, September 28, 2013

Play The Game: To Hack Or Not To Dope

If you're like me, you fell in deep for the Google Doodle commemorating their 15th Anniversary. Before I realized how serious my addiction was, I had lost several hours of my life. But I've been there before. Dolphin Olympics 2, Onslaught, and, in the old days, Freecell.

The highest score I've managed to get is this 183:

I was not surprised to find that people began, even early in the day, to post high scores in the gazillions, which were obtained by manipulating the programming code. Here's one in which someone takes you step by step through the process. Just skip to the end and see how it results in a score of infinity

Now, I found this video because I was trying to find what people were discovering is the highest potential score of this Doodle. Without manipulating code, there remains the interesting question of what the highest potential NON HACK score really is.

It is strange to me that there really are people more interested in the highest score the Doodle can be made to produce, to include hacking and manipulating code. I personally find what they've done to be the virtual equivalent of putting a piece of masking tape on the computer screen and writing "Infinity" over the place where my 183 would have been. Actually, it's sadder, because writing it on masking tape would have taken considerably less time.

And in the end, hacking a game just to see a ridiculously high score on the screen is similar to the use of performance enhancing drugs. The optimal performance that a drug-induced human body can produce is, I suppose, scientifically interesting. But ethically it is, quite literally the same as posing the question, "Let's see how many Tour de France's I can win doping versus how many you can win not doping."

I watched Sammy Sosa hit two home runs out of Wrigley Frield in the summer of 1998. And now we know that he and Mark McGwire were only treating us to Frankensteinian Freak Show. 

I remain interested in learning the highest non-hack score on that Doodle. Somewhere between 183 and infinity, there is a highest possible number. But I'll look with suspicion upon anything dramatically higher than 183.