01 января 1987


        SERIOUS SOFTWARE        
One of the most serious programs
I ever bought was a little-known
Pacman-type game that was called
'Muncher'. It was about the very
first game that I ever bought
for my Spectrum, back in 1982 or
1983. I only paid about `4.50
for it but I reckon I must have
had hundreds and hundreds of
hours of enjoyment out of it,
spread over a year or so, before
its impact began to lessen.

Now that's what I call value but
value is not the subject of this
article. The subject of this
article is much more serious,
-it's seriousness itself!

Have you ever wondered what the
ultimate purpose of 'useful'
things really is? I mean things
like spoons, wheelbarrows, rope,
shelving, electric lighting,
money, transport, corkscrews,
kitchen rolls, dustbins,
telephones and such? Ultimately,
the purpose of all these things
is to take care of some problem
or other so that we can enjoy

For instance, a corkscrew is
useful for getting the corks out
of bottles. Why? So that you can
drink and enjoy the contents.
Shelving is useful for storing
bottles on so that they are
handy when you want to consume
the contents.

In this example, the sole reason
for the existence of the
shelving is ultimately to
enhance your enjoyment of the
contents of the bottles.

Electric lighting has no other
purpose than to provide you with
sufficient light in which you
can enjoy yourself. Ah! Not so!
I hear you cry! What about, say,
the surgeon, working under his
theatre lights to remove your
inflamed appendix? At first
sight it seems that this
operation is nothing to do with
enjoyment. Don't you believe it.
The purpose of the operation is
so that you can enjoy more life.

Are you beginning to get the
picture? We are conditioned from
early childhood to believe that
work, utility, service,
achieving, accomplishing are the
serious, important things in  
life and that enjoying yourself
is frivolous, unimportant and
downright pointless! THE REVERSE
IS TRUE! The most important,
serious and worthwhile activity
in life is enjoying it! 'USEFUL'
HAPPINESS! In other words,
'useful' things DERIVE their
importance only indirectly
because they lead to enjoyment!

Shocking isn't it! All this time
we have been feeling a little 
guilty about enjoying ourselves,
playing some amusing little game
or other when we know that we
should really be working hard at
writing that 'serious' database
that will store all our friends'
names and addresses, telephone
numbers and birthdays. Of what
use is the database? It has no
value in itself except to make
it easier to call your friends
on the telephone and ENJOY a
pleasant conversation (or make
some 'serious' arrangements for
a future get-together when you
can ENJOY one another's company)
or to remind you when a friend
has a birthday so you can ENJOY
sending them a card.

I challenge you to think of ANY
practical, useful or serious
activity which, IN THE FINAL
ANALYSIS has any other purpose
than to bring, DIRECTLY or
INDIRECTLY more happiness,
enjoyment, fulfilment, pleasure
to you or to others.

I must stress here that I am not
trying to encourage everyone to
abandon the practical things in
life and just eat, drink and be
merry and to hell with tomorrow!
Obviously, if you did that you
would soon deplete what you have
and ultimately your enjoyment 
of life would be reduced. I
think our happiness is much too
serious a thing to risk in that
way! No, I just wish to remind 
ourselves what we so often
overlook - that the practical,
'serious' activities are just a
means to an end and not an end
in themselves.

This is not to suggest that one
can't enjoy doing something that
is practical because obviously
one can but then the importance
of the activity is either in our
enjoyment of it and the
satisfaction of completing it or
in the enjoyment it eventually
provides to us or to others. For
example, if you work hard to
build a hi-fi cabinet then the
'seriousness' of the activity is
in the enjoyment you get from
doing the work (if any) plus the
enjoyment derived from having,
seeing and using the finished

If you are beginning to see
through this mental conditioning
that we are all prone to then I
hope you will smile the next
time you read an article or
letter that smugly dismisses the
frivolous in favour of the
'serious'. Now, I hope, you are
starting to glimpse just what is
really inherently serious and
that which can only seem to be
serious by virtue of that to
which it leads.

         - Brian Cavers

Другие статьи номера:

Outlet editorial - a new concept in electronic magazines for the Spectrum

Shoutburst 2 - no hex please, we're british.

Shoutburst - piracy: good or bad?

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Wrecked Tangles

Темы: Игры, Программное обеспечение, Пресса, Аппаратное обеспечение, Сеть, Демосцена, Люди, Программирование

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