I Don’t Think of Myself as a Cyborg

In which I badly "review" a deceptively interesting game to make myself feel better

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Writing this now, I have just survived eight grueling minutes of gingerly jostling my Bluetooth earbuds’ case’s charging cable within its charging port. The thing is defective in some confounding way I won’t understand in this lifetime. I won’t do anything about it in the foreseeable future. However, it hit me during that process exactly how much of my daily happiness is dependent on the cooperation of a tiny, stupid machine. If I cannot charge my Bluetooth earbuds’ case then there will be no way to charge my Bluetooth earbuds when they run out of power, in which case I will have no way to discreetly listen to audiobooks and music for most of the coming day. It depresses me so immensely how much I need all this technology that I could scream. Maybe it’s true what Elon Musk apocryphally told Post Malone on The Joe Rogan’s Podcast. Don’t worry, that sentence was intended to make you feel filthy. I don’t think of myself as a cyborg; I’ve never even thought cyborgs were that cool in comparison with their related nouns, but when I read Sudeshna Datta Chaudhuri writing about Donna Haraway as a means of writing about William Gibson (don’t worry, this sentence is intended to make you look up names), I find the thought of becoming one fascinating, if not pleasing, and altogether inevitable. That said, cyberpunk fiction has a big problem with depicting absolutely everyone as having ostentatious bionic parts. It just doesn’t seem likely. And I say this as someone who would hot-airfully claim he would commit several atrocities for the sake of the cyberpunk subgenre as though in a casual conversation with Jared Leto’s Joker from the first gosh darn Suicide Squad film—which is to say it comes from a place of love. Let’s keep talking about machines we can’t live without before any more neurons in the Suicide Squad parts of anyone’s brains can fire off any further.

This is a review of Doodle Jump 2 in disguise. Well, no; the TL;DR is that I want to review a videogame but haven’t quite worked up the moxie to do so. I would feel filthy if I filed this article among the real reviews. I am here in the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I am here because I saw a need. Precious few on the internet were writing the weird, meandering yet tangentially related to the relevant piece of media sermons that I wanted to read. It’s almost as essential for me to, sommelier-like in my humble delight, occasionally take in the spilled guts of someone else as it is for me to spill my own guts to myself almost every second of each day. It’s true. I can’t pretend I don’t enjoy reading these things back later. There was a time in my life not long ago when the only non-essential function in which I could take pride was my performance at Doodle Jump 2. I won’t tell you my high scores. They are satisfying to me, but I have no illusions that I could compete in comparison to true legends of the sport. Thus, it was written, “The Dao that can be told is not the eternal Dao.” A review of Doodle Jump 2 capable of imparting to you everything I might wish you to know cannot be written.*

*by me, yet

In some semblance of due diligence, I took a moment to see if GameCola had ever published words about Doodle Jump. The result delighted me. I love this article so much that I can’t trust you to decide for yourself whether or not you will read it right this instant and will now directly quote it. Mark Freedman, a man whom I do not know but whose name I have known for almost half my life declares the following:

[Doodle Jump] is a vertical platformer where this Homestar Runner-looking guy jumps for his life to get to the top, and it’s available on Android, iPhone, iPad, etc. You’ve heard of these iPads, right? They’re these big computer screens with no keyboard that are too big to fit in your pocket. Talk about a difficulty setting of its own!…But I digress. I’m guessing there’s no end to Doodle Jump; you just inevitably die. Oh, cruel world and its endless puzzle games. This game has settings like “Classic” and “Full.” Pretty ambitious of them to have a “Classic” mode of a game that isn’t a sequel or part of a series…I played on the default Classic mode until an update of the game came out on Android which actually eliminated this setting (you’ll have to take my word for it that it existed).

Reading this made me audibly squeal. I hope I’ve given you a sufficient charcuterie board of what it has to offer. It’s got everything that makes me love reading and writing. He even commits an act of English with which I personally have been and will forever be obsessed: calling things that do not resemble human people “guys”. It’s just too good. The inclusion of this piece aids my case in two capacities. Firstly, it removes a bit of the onus of really reviewing the videogame from me. Secondly, one of my many vain ambitions is to lend to GameCola.net a perhaps once-lost sense of a highly interconnected volume that beckons one to travel ever deeper inside it after each successive article, podcast, or what have you. The more self-referentially I write, the more, it might be supposed, I stoke the curiosity of those elusive new readers. There I go sounding like a comic publisher. Anyway, I picked this game to discuss because it is easy to talk about. It is also too simple for discussion of it alone to carry a well-written piece; the writer gets to open other doors. Here’s something fun: let’s run down every level of the game, and I’ll say something nice about each one.

Level 0 is an unplayable joke level. Getting taunted by it makes you internally smile in an “Oh, you lovable scamp,” sort of way.

Level 1 is the minimalist base game as well as the canvas for seasonal bonus levels. It’s cool that there aren’t any crazy hazards to distract you from doing your best.

Level 2 takes you and Doodler to the Stone Age but with itsy bitsy dinos. The bone decor present throughout is effortlessly pleasant among a game of mostly welcome gimmicks.

Level 3 is an adventure through the desert. Most of its platforms are delicate sand, making it one of the hardest levels, which means it’s more rewarding when you do well.

Level 4 bids you beddy-bye to a nocturnal nursery. The absolute comfiness of this one’s aesthetic makes it a strong contender for the best of all, not to mention how adorable Doodler looks in that nightcap.

Level 5 demands you to suit up for aerial havoc. There are some interesting mechanical features unique to this stage that promise repeated visits for the purpose of mastering them.

Level 6 is a retro-futuristic odyssey through the stars. The lasers Doodler shoots and the extra effort the enemies put in make you feel like the action has some real stakes beyond attaining the high score.

Level 7 places you and an umbrella-laden Doodler out in the rain. The fun vibes mask deceptive but not punishing difficulty amid those mud puddles and such.

Level 8 is an arena for subtle but consistent musical ascension. It provides a great breather for when things get too wild.

Level 9 plunges you into a mysterious mine. Though it is especially hard, with fewer boosts available, the sheer novelty of playing in a dark setting will keep you returning to its artfully crafted challenges.

That wasn’t too hard. I feel better somehow—like I’ve exorcised something. Thinking about and discussing things created by other people is not inherently useless, no matter what they tell you. At the very least, we have to amuse ourselves from time to time, especially when the little things we do to ensure daily happiness turn into mind-numbing trials. Here comes the coda: It’s the stupid things I think about when I’m going crazy trying to make a green dot light up on my Bluetooth earbuds’ case; it’s the stupid games we play when we’re going crazy having computers in our pockets all the time. I want nothing more than to be truly convinced that I’m too good for all this stuff. I can turn off all notifications because I know I’ll look at my phone whenever I feel like it anyway, yet while I still draw breath, I crave perfect synchronicity with these blasted plastic things my ears so often become. Something in the airwaves hasn’t connected properly. I listen to Hubert Lenoir’s “Fille de Personne” in one ear and “Snow Halation” from Love Live in the other. Maybe we can’t unthink ourselves of all the things we might be too late to stop being.

Thus, it was spoken, “You are already a cyborg.”

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About the Contributor


Since 2022

Patrick J. Humphrey often loves GameCola.net more than life itself. He can even be convinced to talk about videogames for its sake, and, in the words of one of his favorite authors, "that says things!"

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