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Jason Rohrer creates a game that will take over 2000 years to complete

If we can ever find it, that is.

Sleep is Death and The Castle Doctrine creator Jason Rohrer won this year's Game Design Challenge at GDC in which he and several other industry luminaries were tasked with coming up with "Humanity's Last Game."

Where's Indiana Jones when you need him?

The topic is rather open-ended and might suggest a game to end the world, as A Mind Forever Voyaging creator Steve Meretzky proposed with his idea for a reality TV show about hackers accessing missile silos to bring about a nuclear apocalypse. Rohrer took a different tack, though, and designed a game that cannot be played for approximately 2000 years.

How, you ask? By burying it in the Arizona desert and hiding the coordinates among a sea of red herrings.

As detailed by Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Rohrer divided Nevada [not Arizona as originally reported] up into over a million 20 digit coordinates, then printed over a thousand pieces of paper each containing 900 possible coordinates. Each slip was distributed among those who attended the panel and only one of those coordinates is accurate.

To ensure that it would be playable in 2000 years, Rohrer knew that it couldn't be a video game that would require specific hardware, so it had to be a physical board game. And since cardboard and paper would disintegrate and crumble in a couple millenniums, he went about constructing it out of titanium, somehow.

How is the game actually played? No one knows, as the instructions are vacuum sealed in titanium tubes buried with the game. Otherwise people would just create a replica of it and play that. Instead, humanity must band together to find this relic of experimental game design.

Will our descendants' descendants find it? Will we give up or blow each other to kingdom come before it's ever found? Or will impassioned fans on the internet pool their knowledge together and find it way before its expected discovery date? Only time will tell.

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Jeffrey Matulef


Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.