I was thinking about time and the nature of reality, which made me think about Conway’s Game of Life. The rules of the game are very simple – it takes place on a grid, with the state of grid cells changing based on some very simple rules (more information is available here if you aren’t familiar.)

I’ve frequently thought about reversing the game of Life – obtaining the previous state(s) from a given state. On a bounded grid, this is possible. On an unbounded grid you’d need to calculate the area for a given frame by being given some initial bounding area and the number of updates which have occurred. Assuming you’ve got a fixed area and a valid state, it is possible to search for and obtain one or more states which could have come previously.

When I start pondering the implications of reality working this way and the possibility that our perception of time is imperfect, my mind wanders to topics like free will and parallel realities. I’m not sure if I’ll get any interesting gameplay mechanics from this line of thinking, but I appreciate the opportunity.

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