When I was in my early teens I used to play a computer game called “Calypso Island”. It was a text based adventure game. No graphics, no elaborate screen designs, just words. The first screen started:
You are in a small room. There is a table in front of you. A small mouse rushes past. There are exits to the North and South.
And you have limited interaction the with game. After this point I would type:
The table contains a red fish, a sword, a bag of coins, and an egg.
You now have a sword
You now have five golden coins
And eventually you type in go South and another room is described. Slowly you make you way through various rooms collecting items, dropping items, solving puzzles and all in the name of getting to the treasure trove on Calypso Island. After 3 hours of game play I would eventually find myself in front of the treasure on the Island. And so with expectation I would type:
>Get the treasure
To enter into the following dialogue:
A snake is guarding the treasure it will not let you past.
> Kill snake
The snake is too fast and avoids your sword
The snake eats your egg but now advances on you
You are too late, the snake has bitten you, you die.
And of course this is the early 80s and computer games don’t allow you to save the game halfway through, so you return to the first room and start all over again.
And why couldn’t I solve it. Because there is something I didn’t pick up on the journey, something that was key to the whole process that I had neglected to bring with me on the journey. And so back to room one. And I kept returning to that first room for the next three months.
What is it that we didn’t pick up? What good habits have we neglected to build into our lives that can so easily trip us up. What sustaining habits should we have spent more time in establishing. Do I pray daily, do I make time for God, do I have enough silence. But even more practical, do I sleep enough, do I eat properly, do I give the necessary time to develop healthy relations. There are things we shouldn’t be leaving room 1 without.
It was a wet Welsh November night in 1982 when I worked it out. Rain hammering on my bedroom window., it was approaching midnight – then it came to me. I got up loaded the game and entered that first room. It was obvious once I realised it. Obvious to many of you from the start. The mouse! That jolly mouse who scurried past in that very first room. I went to the computer and loaded the game and started playing.
You have now got the mouse
3 hours later in that final room I typed the words:
The Mouse runs for the nearest hole with the snake in close pursuit
Congratulations you have completed Calypso Island. Game Over!
It was in the first room. In room one. The game couldn’t be completed without gathering the correct things in that first room.