Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Chutes and Ladders was perhaps the most sadistic board game ever invented. Adults loathed the game; children loved it. The universe thus dictated that an adult invariably got snookered into playing the game with a child. Certain rolls of the dice entitled you to certain movements on the board, some of which movements entitled you to move up ladders toward the base of the golden ladder at the top of the board (the climbing of which ladder represented the ultimate telos and reward-in-itself of the whole game). Moving up ladders was desirable because it saved time and spins and tiresome movements on the board, square by square. Except there were chutes. Certain rolls of the dice got you into board positions where you fell into chutes and slid ass-over-teakettle all the way down to the bottom of the board, where the whole process started all over again. The chances of falling into chutes increased as you climbed more ladders and got higher and higher. A long and tedious climb up ladder after ladder until the End was in sight was usually nixed by a plummet down one of the seven chutes whose mouths yawned near the base of the golden ladder at the top. The children found this sudden dashing of hopes and return to the recreational drawing board unbelievably fun. The game made Lenore feel like throwing the board at the wall." -Brooom of the System by David Foster Wallace

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