Editorial: Solipskier is ruining my life

I have a problem, and that problem is Solipskier. Actually, it's a problem in two parts:

  • Part A: Solipskier being an excellent game, taking perfect advantage of the iPhone's touch input and high resolution screen to execute its own particular brand of digital crack.

  • Part B: A certain Nemesis X who plays Solipskier and keeps beating my high score.

The combination of a game that encourages you to try just one more time to boost your score and a smug nemesis who screencaps his own terrifying exploits and emails them to you when you're trying really hard to be a productive member of society is just too much for my soul -- not to mention my Solip-skiing thumb -- to handle.

There's really not much to the game itself. You simply draw slopes for your skier, attempting to guide the little beheadphoned guy through yellow gates and blue gates, away from red gates, and over orange jumps. It's really all in the execution, which is thrilling, and I was pretty proud of myself when I broke 4 million points the first time. My mistake was in telling Nemesis X.

NX: *Smirk*
PM: What?
NX: *Smirky smirk smirk*
PM: What? What's your score?
NX: 46 million
PM: ...
NX: *Smirk*

That was the initial exchange, at least as I remember it. Of course, 46 million was hardly even scratching the surface. In fact, one of the problems with Solipskier is knowing how far we've really progressed down the rabbit hole. This might even call for a new branch of mathematics: Solipskier theoretics.

"Given a certain exponential score increase over x days, what are the theoretical limits of that player's score over xsquared days?"

You also have to begin to flex the English language somewhat to accommodate for Solipskier-related frustrations and triumphs.

"Argh, I just red-lined a 179 mil!"

"I think I just buzzed the tower with my rainbow cape because my multiplier is still at 100+."

Of course, Solipskier ergonomics will become a multimillion dollar industry over time as the best brains of our generation will try and discern the superiority of iPhone or iPad play. Complicated wind tunnel models will be built and destroyed in an effort to figure out the optimum body position to maintain maximum mobility for the maximum duration (a good Solipskier run can ratchet into the tens of minutes). Spandex-clad creatine addicts will make whole exercise tapes dedicated to thumb, forefinger, and forearm agility.

When I see this, all I see is red.

Eventually, as our society descends into madness, we'll have whole branches of medicine dedicated to treating Solipskier-caused thumb and eyesight injuries (I currently have to keep my thumb mostly straight so it doesn't cramp up, the diabolical NX alternates fingers), and "I was playing Solipskier" will supplant canine-blame as the number one excuse heard at school for poor performance. Subway systems will have to be re-imagined to accommodate passengers caught in a Solipskier trance (I suggest holding the train at the stop until the Solipskier player breaks a multiplier or, heaven forbid, red-lines a 179 mil).

Sadly, I think my despair is actually heightened in my few moments of sanity. I step back, take a deep breath, and realize that Solipskier is just one of hundreds of games that are lurking out there, ready to devour my free time and my iPhone's battery life. In fact, I start laughing nervously every time someone mentions Angry Birds. I know that if my thumb accidentally slips and buys it from the App Store totally against my will one day, I won't see my friends or family for a month.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to Photoshop a Solipskier screencap into some absurd score that will ruin NX's week and buy me some time to beat his latest missive.

Solipskier is currently playable in browser via Flash, or as a $2.99 iPhone / iPad Universal App. An Android version is forthcoming.