If these two children didn’t look so reproachful all the time, I would definitely have more fun in this open world. But they look as if I had infected their grandmother with an extremely unpleasant itchy venereal disease, which means that she no longer has to spend her pension on sweets, but on anti-itch ointment. In this situation I could understand their punishing looks. But I have not infected any granny. Neither down nor with flammable materials. Probably the developers have simply saved on the animations. I’ll have to put up with that.

But how am I supposed to manage that? This ludographic dissonance is unbearable! While the two children look at me as if I were to blame for the fact that their parents abandoned themselves at a rest stop during their last vacation trip because they could no longer withstand the stares, a friendly “THANK YOU!” flashes below them in green capital letters. As a reward, so to speak, for doing everything right. That doesn’t add up! Lara Croft would have dissonant sexual intercourse with Nathan Drake until she gave birth to two children who looked exactly like the two children on the sign, only to shoot them, and now I don’t know where I want to go with all this either. Let’s just keep throwing chocolate chips at our SNES until we hit the reset button so we can start over here.

But first, an insertion: I actually threw a piece of chocolate in the direction of a Super Nintendo once when I was a kid. I didn’t mean to hit the reset button. I just felt like throwing chocolate at that time, because I feel this urge from time to time, even today, and that’s why I stay away from chocolate in the meantime. Anyway, I accidentally hit the reset button at that time, which didn’t please my two friends present very much, because they were just really insanely far in some game, which I unfortunately can’t remember anymore.

Imagine the following situation: You tell your two children, “Favorite kids! I’m going to the chocolate store to bring you something!” And then you come home, the children jump up and down with expectant joy like two anthropomorphic flummies that jump up and down when they are looking forward to something, and then instead of chocolate you put the sticky scrapings from the belly button of the chocolate shop owner on the table. Sure: The guy will certainly eat a lot of chocolate and therefore his navel material should also have at least a hint of chocolate flavor in it, but still the children’s joy would be limited. Let’s assume further, it would concern in our example polite children. The “THANK YOU!” now uttered by them would have a comparable effect to the writing on the sign in combination with the photo.

Basically, this is really a great idea. Directly at the entrance to the town is this interactive sign that measures the speed of approaching motorists. If one is clearly faster than 50 km/h, a red “SLOW!” flashes up. If the speed is only just above the guideline value, a yellow “CAUTION!” appears. If one adheres to the road traffic regulations, we see the already described “THANK YOU!” instead. At the same time, the measured speed is displayed. That is already everything. But also incredibly much.

I don’t need much to have fun in open-world games. A good idea is enough to keep me busy for hours. The demo of the first GTA, which was limited to just a few minutes, is still one of the most intense gaming experiences of my life. Setting goals for yourself, daring to experiment, taking turns with others in reaching those goals. Who will make it to that one rooftop first within a few minutes? Who collects the most police cars in the park in that time and blows them up in the last few seconds?

Whenever I go shopping, I pass the sign. I don’t own a car, I ride my bike. My bike in the bike lane is also detected by the sensor. I am also judged by the children.

I now have a high score list with me when I go shopping. My maximum score so far is 23 km/h. Uphill, mind you. Also heavily loaded, since the measurement only takes into account the direction of travel into the village, which in my case is the way back from shopping. My lowest value is 11 km/h.

On my second list, the one with the achievements, there is still the experiment whether the thing recognizes me when I drive under 10 km/h. That is by far not all on the list. That’s not all on the list by a long shot. Like back in the GTA demo, many of these experiments have to do with explosions, but I probably shouldn’t go into too much detail about that here now, after all, I want to be the first to get 100% of all the achievements. Also, it’s really hard to shake off the police on a bike.

I think this is that gamification that all those people are always talking about, who not only want to get me to clean up my desk, but also to feel fun while I’m doing it, because I finally get a point for it, which I can later throw at Super Nintendos on display in chocolate stores.

But let’s be honest: This stupid street sign actually gives me pleasure. It adds a little bit of fun to my commute home. I thought about it for a long time and finally came to the conclusion that this is a video game. And that’s really all I wanted to say with this text.

This post is also available in: German