Drop (Out)

A curious thing has happened over the past few weeks or so: I’ve become quietly obsessed with a rip-off of Tetris.

“Obsessed” is probably not the right word, given that I can’t even remember that actual name of the game offhand — it’s called something like Block Drop or Something Block, but I can’t remember what, exactly — but the name isn’t important in the slightest. What is, though, is the overwhelmingly therapeutic nature of playing it.

(It’s Block Puzzle, I just checked, a name that feels so generic I don’t feel that upset about forgetting it.)

I’ve had it on my phone for some time — since last summer, I think. Chloe was playing it on the plane when we were both going somewhere last year, and after repeatedly asking to borrow it for my own go, I downloaded it to play myself on the trip back, knowing full well that she’d fall asleep and I’d be at a loose end otherwise. And she did, so I did, and then I put it aside and didn’t think about it again.

Cut to… well, now. This year’s been an odd one, in ways I didn’t expect or initially know how to deal with; there’s been a lot of waiting for things to happen, or waiting for calls, or even just texting people a lot more than usual. As a result, I’ve found myself very often with both time on my hands and my phone usually close by. (Traditionally, usually, my phone lives in my office beside my laptop, with the ringer on so I can hear it if it goes off. I only carry it with me if I’m expecting a call.) Because of this, I’ve started playing the game far, far more often.

It’s not a complicated game, which is, I think, its appeal; the mindlessness is something that calls to me, the idea that I can “achieve” something with minimum effort. Again, using the word “achieve” feels misleading, given the essentially throwaway nature of the game, but the idea that I’m putting things in the right place — that there is a “right place,” and an order to things — is part of the draw of the whole thing. I find myself coming back to this repetitious activity, soothed by its small affirmations for the small effort required of me. (“Nice!” it says when a round ends, whether or not I did well. Sometimes, it’s more emphatic. “Great job!” I know better than to believe it, and yet.)

There’s simply something… reassuring about the thought-free repetition and sense that, really, I’m doing something without actually doing anything or feeling any real sense of pressure about it. The game is there when I’m overtired from work but my brain buzzes because it’s not fully done running yet, or when I don’t feel up to anything requiring true commitment. It’s a calming, almost hypnotic presence on my phone.

All told, I probably need to find something else to do. A hobby wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.