Desert Golfing and Permanence
So Desert Golfing is a really cool iOS game. Super simple Angry-Birds-esque slingshot controls to get a golf ball in a hole. It’s got this really nice, spartan presentation where there’s no menus or anything. The first hole just starts and when you get the ball in, the hole elevates up to be the tee for the next hole and the camera just pans across and you do the next one. Hole after hole after hole with no cutting away to black or to a level select menu or anything. I’m up to hole 225. I know others up in the 2000s. Each one is different. Some are maliciously and deliberately difficult, others are a nice, single stroke across a flat plane. It feels good to play.
What I love about it mostly is that sense of permanence. You never go back to a menu screen. You never (as far as I know) get a chance to return to previous holes to improve your score. Every single stroke you make in the history of playing the game will be added to your overall score. That overall score is equal to the number of strokes you have ever made in Desert Golfing.
Playing it reminds me of doing a perma-death experiment in a game like Minecraft. Not because you can fail so poorly that you have to start again, but because every little non-fatal error cannot be undone. You are stuck with every error you ever made. Every over-shot, every under-shot, all of them. They all keep getting added to that score. You can’t go back and try again now that you’ve figured out the trick. You’re done. Move on. You have this one and only score and that is it.
That constant, permanent, relentless, helpless progression just really reminds me of perma-death.