Videogames and Boiled Eggs

When I wasn't an egghead: the glorious days when eggs (and life) were unproblematised

I've not eaten boiled eggs for a while now. The reason, according to my friends, is that I am too lazy to go and buy eggs; but there is to more to it than passes show. I have been struck by the dreadful Endian-controversy. Yes, this is the infamous controversy that claimed millions of little lives in Lilliput and Blefuscu, the mighty empires that went to war over which end of the boiled egg they should first eat. Whilst I am still indecisive, I will let you fathom the problem in depth. The controversy is best described by none other than the illustrious traveller, Mr Lemuel Gulliver:

It began upon the following Occasion. It is allowed on all Hands, that the primitive way of breaking Eggs, before we eat them, was upon the larger End: But his present Majesty's Grand-father, while he was a Boy, going to eat an Egg, and breaking it according to the ancient Practice, happened to cut one of his Fingers. Whereupon the Emperor his Father published an Edict, commanding all his Subjects, upon great Penaltys, to break the smaller End of their Eggs. The People so highly resented this Law, that our Histories tell us there have been six Rebellions raised on that account; wherein one Emperor lost his Life, and another his Crown. These civil Commotions were constantly fomented by the Monarchs of Blefuscu; and when they were quelled, the Exiles always fled for Refuge to that Empire

Let us also have a visual representation of the problem, just to understand the awesome complexity. Here is the picture:

The simple and delicious boiled egg has now become a scary element in my life

'That's all about eggs and your agonising psyche but where's the connection with the videogame?' says the impatient reader. Patience, dear reader (you need to play more of the slow strategy games). This 'allegory of the egg' is my message for the videogame world. In an earlier posting on the Ludologist, Jesper Juul mentioned that 'It’s official: The new conflict in video game studies is between those who study players and those who study games.' Like the Ludology-Narratology conflict. Indeed, these are serious battles and believe me, they all started with the problematised boiled egg.

Well, the good news is that while writing this posting I came across an ingenious solution (the Internet be praised) that has put eggs back on my appetite:

By the way, Jesper has since clarified his own position(on videogames not boiled eggs) in a very sensible (characteristically) follow-up comment.

I hope the others do the same.

For the really hardboiled reader, I've picked up another trail to the egg-endian controversy in software. Read on at your own peril.

As for me, I'd better get back to my breakfast.


  1. I really enjoyed this article - good work, Souvik! Speaking of dualities, I am about to come off as either a "swotter" or a rather slow-minded backbencher, but still, I can't help wondering whether there is an alternative approach in game studies to letting "killer oppositions" have a go at each other?

    Not to say I don't like Jung, I do in fact, it's just that I am under the impression that when the dust settles, we find out that it's never "either/or", as we proposed going into the argument, but rather "as well as" or "a little bit of both" or "somewhere in between". At least that's what I got out of the ludology/narratology debate.

    So, while I appreciate exlusive opposites as a means of framing a debate, it cannot be the only one, now can it?

  2. Thanks for the praise. Lots of 'infelicities of style' in there, though. Will polish it up later.

    RP: So, while I appreciate exlusive opposites as a means of framing a debate, it cannot be the only one, now can it?

    SM: It definitely cannot, says I. Remember the Zone of Becoming :)

    That's my little videogame gospiel (gospel-spiel).