Funware

Addictive software which uses gameplay as a way of using the player's mental resources

Funware
Image from Bernd Helfert

Method of using sapient cognitive resources by means of subtle memetic persuasion.

Funware is a particularly insidious memetrap set up by certain unscrupulous (and typically transapient) sophonts to tap into the well of baseline processing capability. These software applications are typically high-energy, very entertaining toys which just happen to model certain difficult problems. Rather than spending their own cognitive effort, some SI:>1 sophonts have hit on the solution of allowing the SI:<1 shotgun approach to discover and/or polish a particular problem's solution.

The most infamous of these was the release of 'Prime Vector', a 4-D maze game in which the players attempt to find the longest unique path through a maze which alters in space and time due in part to their actions. Careful analysis of remnants of the software indicate that it may have been used to brute-force a one-time-pad encryption of a specific message. This particular software became infamous due to its highly addictive appeal, the carefully (barely!) legal subliminal rewards offered and punishments administered to players in the course of the game. One official after-action estimate (from Bolobo) stated that 75% of the software's baseline users were psychologically addicted within 2 hours of game play.
 
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Development Notes
Text by John B

Initially published on 17 July 2003.