Cargo Cults

Cargo Cults
Thursday — April 15th, 2010

I heard about cargo cults in the context of Cargo Cult Programming, particularly with copypasta sort of code . It’s easy enough to poke fun at cargo cults, but it’s just so easy to fall into this mental trap.

Now that I think about it, gaming has a bunch of superstitions. Usually started by one guy who got something good (by random chance), but thought it was caused by some unrelated thing he did minutes before.

Due to FFXI being incredibly coded for hidden effects, moon phase and basically anything that is mutable, there are a lot of these beliefs going around. For instance, I have never seen any proof that the Elemental Staves (there are 8, fire, earth, air, water, light, dark, lightning, and ice) will affect your craft outcome, however I tend to craft with the corresponding staff/crystal im using. There is also substantial (yet without seeing the *actual* code for the game I don’t consider it fact) evidence pointing to which direction your facing has an effect on what your crafting. Some players are extraordinarily picky about the time/direction/day/moonphase that they craft certain (expensive) items, some aren’t. [FFXI, M, 30]

Related, blinky NES cartridges comes to mind:

Users attempted to solve this problem by blowing air onto the cartridge connectors, licking the edge connector, slapping the side of the system after inserting a cartridge, shifting the cartridge from side to side after insertion, pushing the ZIF up and down repeatedly, holding the ZIF down lower than it should have been and/or cleaning the connectors with alcohol which, observing the back of the cartridge, was not endorsed by Nintendo. Many of the most frequent attempts to fix this problem instead ran the risk of damaging the cartridge and/or system.

– Alex


  1. SPZombieDog

    I like to think it’s our low-grade way of appeasing the Machine Spirit

  2. kloudykat

    pfft. EVERYBODY knows that blowing into the NES cart dispells all the evil spirits!

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