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The JC gets all figurative

Qix Gameplay

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Qix was a pioneering arcade game made by the Taito Corporation of Japan, which wasn't nearly as good as Defender. You can learn more about it here, but for our purposes it is a metaphor for stupid legal drafting.


You control a marker that can draw lines (“Stix”) on a black screen of unclaimed “playfield”. The goal is to create closed rectangles on the playfield. the playfield is inhabited with a “Qix” (a stick-like entity that perform graceful but unpredictable motions within the confines of the unclaimed playfield), which will kill you if it can touch you or an uncompleted rectangle while you in the process of drawing it. When completed, the captured rectangle becomes a solid colour (depending on what speed you drew it at) and points are awarded. To complete a level, the player must claim 75% of the playfield with solid rectangles.

You die if the Qix touches any uncompleted Stix or if your marker is touched by any of the “Sparx” – enemies that traverse all playfield edges except uncompleted Stix. There is no defence against the Qix or Sparx (that is, no smart bomb or anything like that) and you must out-maneuver them in order to survive.

A metaphor for the ontological weakness that besets the legal mind

The flaw in the game is that a gap must have a certain width before a Qix can get through it. One can nearly close off space so that boxes made in the space still count, but the Qix is, practically, shut out. It can’t get to you so you are free to create elaborate patterns and intricate boxes to your heart’s content, without fear of annihilation. This is more or less the life goal of a mediocre lawyer.

See also

See also

  • Space invaders: The black-and-white daddy of all arcade videogames, which effortlessly articulated the frustration and powerlessness of working in a modern corporate organisation;
  • Galaga: a second generation version of space invaders, with a challenging stage and amusing music;
  • Defender: A spin on the usual alien invasion motif, where you invade them, trying to rescue little sticky things, and the aliens fight back, and all you have is a thrillingly devastating laser cannon, a small supply of smart bombs and the ability jump randomly into hyperspace
  • Space invaders calculator: I know it sounds insane, but you could have hours of cosmic fun with an ordinary digital calculator.
  • Qix: which was really just a bit stupid, but through a design flaw in the game’s basic concept you could play for hours on end if you really wanted to.

All, in any case, useful metaphors for life in a modern multinational investment bank.