I remember the first computer game we ever got. Since hardly anyone
owned computers in those days, you had to use your television set for a
monitor. By plugging a cable into the antenna jack, you turned the TV into a
primitive video arcade. Then - are you ready? - you could play ping pong - in
monochrome. You operated a little paddle that moved up and down along one side
of the screen. The ball - actually a white square - moved horizontally. With
enough coordination, you could get your paddle to intersect its trajectory,
whereupon you heard the games sole sound effect: Bip. After you got good at
it, you could crank up the speed: Bip. Bip. Bip. Bip. Bip. People in our
home, who shall remain nameless, played it for hours.
A few years later, Atari became all the rage. As I recall Atari
initially had four different games. My favorite was called Adventure. It was
your basic dungeons and dragons genre, with different castles and rooms, a
key, hidden doorways, a bat that could steal the key, even whole areas where
the obstacles were invisible.
Our whole family really got into it. The kids, of course, quickly
surpassed their parents. They would come home from school with new tips and
tricks. Some of them were even undocumented, which is computer-talk for
saying that such maneuvers were not written down in any manual. One of the most
amazing came home from junior high with my daughter: In a particular place
inside the black castle, the diligent searcher could find a small white dot
that was too small to be noticeable as a normal game object. Indeed, if you did
find it you would think it was only a defective pixel in your video monitor.
By taking this dot back to the starting screen however, you could enter
a hidden, otherwise inaccessible room. Entering the room had absolutely nothing
to do with playing the game. All you would find in the room was a rainbow and
the name of the person who invented the game. For all I know, every computer
programmer does something like this. Somewhere,
behind some hidden wall, available only to the initiated, there is another
room. And in that room is the name of the artist.
What I want to know is this: If the signature of the Creator is not
just in some hidden room but in every created thing, why cant we see it?
I once heard of a man whose dental work made it possible for him to
actually hear radio broadcasts. Somehow the combination of fillings in his
teeth accidentally turned his mouth into a primitive receiver. But he found the
sounds so distracting that he had the fillings replaced. The radio signals were
still there, he just chose not to hear them any more.
Contributed by: Rabbi Lawrence Kushner