Umberto Eco in the PLAYSTORE : How to recognize a L00TP0RN

An argument why society should treat Lootboxes like Porn based on an observation made by Umberto Eco.

Portrait of Umberto Eco

...there is a criterion for deciding whether a film is pornographic, and it is based on the calculation of wasted time.

Umberto Eco, How to recognize a porn movie

I don`t know if you`ve ever happened to play a lootbox-centric game, in Japan called: GACHA.

I don't mean games with some random loot, a game like Warframe, Fortnite, League of Legends or DOTA, for example, though even that, I realize, for many people might be offensive. No, what I mean is genuine lootpornos, whose true and sole aim is to stimulate the player's desire to gamble, from beginning to end, and in such a way that, while this desire is stimulated by lots of various and varied slotmachines, the rest of the game counts for less than nothing.

Legislators are often required to decide whether a game is purely gambling or whether it has educational value. I am not one of those who insist that educational value excuses everything; sometimes Education has been more dangerous, to faith, to behavior, to current opinion, than works of lesser value. But I believe that consenting adults have the right to play microtransaction-based games, at least for want of anything better. I recognize, however, that on occasion a court must decide whether a game has been produced for the purpose of expressing certain concepts of educational ideals (even through mechanics that offend the accepted moral view), or whether it was made for the sole purpose of extorting money from the player and as such is gambling.

Well, there is a criterion for deciding whether a game is gambling or not, and it is based on the calculation of wasted time.

A lootbox based game, a gacha, to justify wasting our time, promises the player that certain loot is desirable: rare loot, epic loot, legendary loot,  mythic loot, ludonarrativedissonant loot etc.

If the Player, in order to get better loot, has to either wait an hour or pay money, the game shows you the ticking of your wasted life`s clock second for second.

If the Player, in order to get better loot, has to message a friend, that this friend may waste time deleting this message, you can be sure that there is at least an achievement for messaging  5, 10, 25, 50, 100 etc. friends.

Gachas are full of mechanics who require you to click on something, menus who waste incredible amounts of time just navigating to the thing you are searching for. To put it simply, crudely, in gachas, before you can actually play something  you have to put up with a stresstest for your index finger that could have been developed by a neurologist to measure if you got Carpal tunnel syndrome, but instead of attempting to cure it, the stresstest is actually designed to cause Carpal tunnel syndrome.

There are obvious reasons why a game should include more wait-time than play-time. A game in which the player did nothing but play the game, front, back, and sideways, would make not enough money. Virtual money for the ingame store and real money for the publisher.

Therefore gacha must present some kind of gameplay and make it as mundane as possible to not divert too long from the next slotmachine-action. Therefore, if the player has to jump through some hoops to delay the next trigger for his slot-machine ache, gachas will use the ceremony of opening the Lootboxes and draw this out as long as brainchemistry-necessary.

Normal gameplay often irritates the gachaplayers, because they think they would like the looting to be continuous. But this is an illusion on their part. They couldn't bear a full hour and a half of opening lootboxes. So the passages of the wasted clicking are essential.

Go into the Playstore, download a F2P-game. If, to grind from Start to Finish, the mechanics take longer than any sane human would like, then the game you are playing is a gacha.


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