Posted on Thursday, December 25th, 2014 by Will Hagle
Parable of the Polygons is a playable post on the shape of society.
Parable of the Polygons is an interactive blog post built by designers Vi Hart and Nicky Case. The post claims to emphasize “how harmless choices can make a harmful world,” exploring how segregation and diversification affect people’s happiness and determine how society is structured. The post shows this by using draggable shapes — either triangles or squares. Each shape has a face, which is smiling when it’s happy in its immediate neighborhood, and frowning if its unhappy. You can drag the unhappy shapes in order to reorganize them so that they become OK with their surroundings.
The only rule of the game is that shapes only want to move if less than 1/3 of their neighbors are the same shape. Equal or almost equal diversification between squares and triangles is ideal and makes everyone happy, while a majority population makes the minority unhappy and a group of the same shapes are described as “meh.” This structure is supposed to mirror society, with shapes representing different races. It’s an interesting way to graphically represent ideas about racial segregation, and there are several additional interactive tools that make it easier to read through the post and understand its message. It can only be fully experienced by playing through yourself, but it raises some intriguing ideas in an extremely interesting manner.