The definition of insanity, or how certain videogames test it

Adrian George Nicolae
2 min readJan 8
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

So, I’m sure some of you heard of the definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Which doesn’t always work like that, hence, the insanity issue.

I’ve been playing a couple of games recently, Hades, and Loop Hero.

While they are essentially similar games, in the vein of both being RPG and endless, they are distinguished by lore, graphics, and by how insanity can affect you.

In Loop Hero, you have a randomized path that you can fill up yourself with enemies and things that can help, all the while going into a clockwise or anticlockwise fashion to hopefully get, and defeat the boss, to move to the next stage, which is essentially the same, but different at the same time.

In Hades, you have a randomized path that changes every time you die, albeit the same enemies are still there, where the only things you can change, besides armor and weapons, are places where you go, future dialogues, which will affect the next time you play it.

You might be thinking that they’re not that similar, especially in graphical terms, which you are right, but this is not about graphics. This is about how the game functions as an insanity-tending device meant to alter your options until you find… something?
Then, when that fails for whatever reason, you try again, in an almost identical setting, hoping to maybe solve it.

And yes, I know I’m making it into a very basic idea, but doesn’t that seem like life at times, where one keeps doing the same thing with the hopes of achieving something else?
You could argue that Napoleon and Hitler had similar conquering battles that deflated in similar fashion.
Or how Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan conquered most of the world, and they finished, nothing really remained of their huge kingdoms. Ancient Rome might fall in this category, too.

I guess the point I’m trying to make, is that, throughout history, there have been similar quests about conquerors and vanquishers, and yet, with all this massive amount of knowledge, we keep repeating it, hoping for a different outcome, whatever it may be.
And while these 2 games are maybe not as broad as the stories of these real life people, they follow the same principle. Which, again, would be the search for a continuous purpose and uncover who knows what else.
But it does feel we, often times, live in a loop of work-life (im)balance, without many new discoveries, don’t we?