An email I received on 6/12/2012 from a friend of mine said, “you have been warned,” with a link to the game Picma.

Picma is an online puzzle game where you use clues to deduce which grids should be colored, and if you solve it right, you get a picture at the end.  The easiest ones took me as little time as 8 seconds, whereas the hardest ones took several hours.  Back in summer of 2012 I started playing Picma thanks to my good friend who emailed me the link.  I played it through pretty well… until the puzzles started getting frustrating.  I got stuck on a couple and it got discouraging to play, so I paused for a while.  Then somehow I lost my browser cookies and thus lost all my progress.  That was super discouraging and I stopped playing after that.  Since then I had revisited Picma a couple times, but never bothered to make significant progress.  However, Picma was always discreetly in the back of my mind…  So in the spirit of this unfinished business series, I decided to go for it once more.

Not surprisingly, the easy ones were fun, and the difficult ones were frustrating.  The feeling you get after completing a nice puzzle is incredible; the feeling of finding a mistake 75% of the way through a hard puzzle (and thus having to scrap most of your progress (but not exactly knowing how much you need to scrap)) is so devastating to a man’s spirit.  However, as Rudyard Kipling wrote in the poem “If,” a man should be able to “lose, and start again at [his] beginnings.”  As Picma taught me, it is a very very difficult thing to be a man (or woman).

Why not forget about Picma?  Why not just enjoy the easy fun puzzles and pretend the hard ones don’t exist?  Life is too short (yolo) to waste on internet games, let alone a frustratingly difficult one!  I believe that life is like a meal.  There are umami-ful meat and satisfying rice, but there are the tough vegetables and other nasty things…  However we need both the delicious and the undelicious for good health.  Likewise playing only the easy fun puzzles would limit my life to the basics, whereas the frustrating puzzles would challenge me and force me to think differently.  Life lessons from Picma (who knew?)!

Anyways, it took me 2 years but I did it in the end.  No flash game shall bring me to my knees!

Simeon Koh