You know me, I love questing. That’s why I’m pretty intrigued by the notion of Habitica, which creators are describing as: “a free habit building and productivity app that treats your real life like a game. With in-game rewards and punishments to motivate you and a strong social network to inspire you, Habitica can help you achieve your goals to become healthy, hard-working, and happy.”
When I read that statement, my mind immediately splits in two. One Julian says: “oh great, finally a solution to overcome our feelings of profound disillusionment in late-stage capitalism!” The other Julian says: “oh cool, pixellated dragons and words I enjoy from my favorite role-playing games.” Then the first Julian takes the second Julian aside for a couple of minutes and tells him about the world economy and the state of human consciousness and both Julians are now crying and it all goes to hell in a hand-basket.
Where were we? Oh yeah, the Habitica website. There are plenty of little testimonials on it, which may or may not be written by real human beings. Here’s one: “Every morning I’m looking forward to getting up so I can earn some gold!” This statement creeps me out profoundly because it means that even in the fantasy layer we are using to infuse reality with meaning we aren’t imaginative enough to think outside of self-worth through accumulation of wealth. Then again, I do love getting rich in RPGs.
No need to brave life alone, friends, because Habitica wants you to know that being lazy will also affect those you love. “Battle monsters with your friends! If you slack off, they all get hurt!” Which honestly sounds amazing, because after a long day of existential dread there’s nothing better than deciding against brushing your teeth because your friends are all assholes anyways, so why not vampirize their little avatars in retribution?
It all reminds me vaguely of (you guessed it) near-future dystopia Black Mirror. Which again, is coming on the 21st to Netflix. And no, I’m not getting paid by them, I just like the show very much.
All of this to say that I’m not sure if I’ll sign up for Habitica. There is much inner turmoil.
Thank you Polygon for the article that alerted me to the existence of Habitica.