Rack And Yield: Ancient Greek Punishment

By Adam Smith on January 9th, 2012 at 9:30 am.

I am the 0%

Good morning and welcome to a new week. How does it feel so far? Does your inbox feel like a Sisyphean challenge that you would rather ignore? Does Zeno’s Paradox amply demonstrate the perceived distance between Monday morning and Friday evening? Are birds pecking at your innards for reasons that you consider a tad harsh? Take a break from all that with a bunch of lo-fi minigames based around Ancient Greek Punishment. It’s like playing Track and Field except with slightly more jocular mythological references. Very annoying that it doesn’t seem possible to quit back to the menu and choose a new punishment, although perhaps that’s the point. THERE IS NO ESCAPE except the refresh button. Ta Indiegames blog.

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24 Comments »

  1. rei says:

    I have sympathy for the others, but frankly that dumb Zeno just has himself to blame.

    • Persus-9 says:

      You call Zeno dumb? I trust you jest, sir! Zeno’s paradox has stood the test of time and for that its inventor deserves to be lauded.

    • Eagle0600 says:

      Zeno’s “Paradox” is nothing but a philosophical wank. If he was right, he was right for the wrong reasons.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      That’s kind of the point though…Zeno says that people think of the world as one of two ways, then shows how each of those ways leads to a paradox. He demonstrates that the structure of reality is neither granular nor continual, so there must be a third way.

      He’s not genuinely saying that an arrow doesn’t fly or a man cannot cross a room; they’re examples to show that we don’t understand what we think we understand.

    • sinister agent says:

      Plus, he was having fun. Just because they’re ancient and revered philosophers, doesn’t mean they didn’t play silly games with each other for a laugh.

    • MondSemmel says:

      You have no clue what you are talking about. Zeno wasn’t “dumb”. Everybody – now and then – knew that the paradox was only that – a _seeming_ contradiction between what theory predicted and what actually happened.
      The actual problem is of a different kind: Mathematics then lacked many modern aspects, e.g. they had no concept of time (!), no concept of easily representing fractions (think Roman numerals instead of convenient methods like 1/10, 1/100, …), etc.
      From “Mathematics for the Million”, by Lancelot Hogben, originally published in 1937:
      “In the course of the adventure upon which we ware going to embark we shall constantly find that we have no difficulty in answering questions which tortured the minds of very clever mathematicans in ancient times. This is not because you and I are very clever people. It is because we inherit a social culture which has suffered the impact of material forces foreign to the intellectual life of the ancient world. The most brilliant intellect is a prisoner within its own social inheritance. An illustration will help to make this quite definite at the outset.”
      And he proceeds to illustrate this with the example of Zeno’s paradox.
      Then:
      “You must not imagine that Zeno and all the wise men who argued the point failed to recognize that Achilles really did get past the tortoise. What troubled them was, where is the catch? You may have been asking the same question. The important point is that you did not ask it for the same reason which prompted them. What is worrying you is why they thought up funny little riddles of that sort. Indeed, what you are really concerned with is an historical problem. I am going to show you in a minute that the problem is not one which presents any mathematical difficulty to you. You know how to translate it into size language, because you inherit a social culture which is separated from theirs by the collapse of two great civilizations and by two great social revolutions. The difficulty of the ancients was not an historical difficulty. It was a mathematical difficulty. They had not evolved a size language into which the problem could be freely translated.”

    • Shazbut says:

      Dude was showing the limitations in conceptual thought from a philosophical angle at the same time as Sakyamuni Buddha. He might be one of the wisest people who have ever known to have lived.

    • Njam says:

      I had no idea what Zeno’s paradox was before playing (and then reading up on this thread). I just giggled like an idiot every time that poor little guy gleefully raised his arms. Yay games!

  2. tomeoftom says:

    Brilliant. Also: nice header pun.

  3. Jova says:

    You have to give the ol’ greeks some credit for punishments worthy of the name.

  4. jrodman says:

    Somehow i felt a sense of victory when the game gave up on displaying numbers in Zeno’s running challenge.

  5. sinister agent says:

    If they get a subscription model onto this, world of warcraft is finished.

    • Adam Smith says:

      From what I hear the plan is to stay free but add ‘purchasable drachma-based incentives’. First up is the Single Pass Albumin Dialysis procedure for $0.99.

      And I just learned that there is actually a liver dialysis system called the Prometheus.

    • sneetch says:

      There is? Are eagles sterile?

    • Spork says:

      “BIGNASTYBIRD(TM) (eagle BP) – Take 1 (ONE) as needed until liver removed. Repeat daily. If symptoms persist, consult legendary Greek hero. For external use only.”

  6. Spacewalk says:

    And just like Track and Field I always win because I have a joypad with auto-fire switches.

    • Eagle0600 says:

      The difference being that you can keep on winning forever.

  7. Bluerps says:

    Huh. Didn’t Sisyphus use his boulder to smash the gates of Hades, so that he could escape? The game depicts his existence before then, apparently.

  8. pippinbarr says:

    May I just say that I deeply enjoy the fact that I have a “dr pippin barr” tag on this site. Mission accomplished as far as the doctorate is concerned!

  9. Pakelika says:

    Oh Zeno, that damn rabbit and arrow.