Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The game of limited choice

Do you dream of riches and a place where anything that you desire can be yours?

I often dream of the opposite.

One of my favourite fantasies is of something I like to call the Game of Limited Choice. It goes like this:

Imagine that you are in a situation where your options of things to buy, see or do are limited. Use your creativity to innovate and make the best out of the situation.
I've played this game for a long, long time. When I was little our family would holiday in farm cottages where the indoor entertainment (sometimes the weather wasn't great) was limited to old war adventure and Readers Digest paperbacks and maybe a black and white television.

Later on I would make lists of the minimum number of Star Wars toys and model train items I would need, imagining that I was in a country town with only a few shops (pretty easy to imagine, as I was living in a caravan in the country at the time with most of our possessions in storage).

An updated version of it might be:

I'm at the airport with only my phone, wallet and passport. Use the shops to buy everything you need, likes clothes and travel goods, for a trip overseas.

Another more recent one:
It's Christmas Eve and you are stuck in a motel with your family and no food or presents for the next day. The only place open is a petrol station convenience store. How can use their limited stock to make a Christmas celebratory meal and give everyone presents?
Computers are a favourite and one where the game has been very real, especially trying to complete university assignments on old or software limited devices like an IBM XT clone or a Sharp Zaurus hand-held while travelling around Europe. You certainly wish that you had freedom of choice when everything takes longer than it could, but you also feel like you are getting the most you can out of the machine.

Sometimes a plethora of choice can itself be stifling while the Game of Limited Choice is a creative challenge. See how many times you can spot it in my writings here and elsewhere.

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