Over the weekend I became aware of a little multiplayer game called “Cursors” You move your mouse cursor around, and there’s other peoples’ cursors as well.
As you can see in the screenshot, there’s four buttons on each corner of that particular level. In order for people to get to the next level, the players need to cooperate. There’s no communication between players (other than crude MS-Paint level drawings, which often feature a high percentage of penises). Those four buttons need to be clicked in order to drop the barriers so people can get to the exit, passing through the maze to get back and forth.
Many levels operate on this type of gameplay.
I found it interesting how quickly people fell into a set of behaviors. Setting aside those who volunteer for click-duty too much, or those who just ride coattails through the whole thing, most people synchronized into a set of procedures.You enter a new map, and see that there’s some buttons that need clicking. You volunteer for click-duty, and spend a little bit of time helping let others through.
Without asking, someone sees that you’ve been there awhile, and comes to relieve you of duty. That person takes over clicking, and allows you to leave to proceed to the next level.
The game couldn’t run without this type of spontaneous cooperation. If there’s not enough cooperation, no one gets through. Even those who were initially less willing to help seem pressured to step up to the plate. I find it interesting to observe the other peoples’ behavior. Sometimes, people even stop before the exit, trying to spell out “Thanks!”, before moving on.
This notion that morality requires an absolute super nature source seems patently absurd to me. You may say that the game probably filters out those who don’t behave this way, so the only players who are cooperative get through (though I’ve seen plenty of coattail-riders in there)… but that’s largely how society operates too.