The Mind Game, also known as the Fantasy Game, was an advanced computer program that was played by Battle School Students. The Mind Game adapted to the interests of each student, and was used by the Battle School staff to analyze the student's personality and psychology.
Design and Function
The Mind Game was able to be played on their individual Desks or in the Game Room. The playable characters and settings changed depending on the player's behavior and any information the Mind Game inferred from it, among other factors such as the character's location within the gamescape. The variable settings, objectives, and main characters were used psychologically to probe the player's mind and provide the psychologists observing the game with information that helped them discover emotional and intellectual connections that might otherwise have eluded them in the player's reactions to various scenarios.
The Mind Game was originally used to analyze the minds of Battle School students. Among the many mini-games it offered its players was the notoriously unfair and unwinnable "Giant's Drink" which served to test the player's perseverance when presented with a futile quest.
The Mind Game was a highly advanced artificial intelligence. It was able to roam through cyberspace with an unprecedented degree of independence, and played a role in the creation of Jane.
When Ender Wiggin came to Battle School, the Mind Game immediately took his interest. Upon reaching the unwinnable Giant's Drink, he managed to "cheat" his way to victory in the game, side-stepping the test by killing the Giant. This drew further attention and approval from his educators, especially Colonel Hyrum Graff, who was gratified to see that Ender could "do the impossible," and Major Anderson, who was delighted to see the destruction of what he'd always considered to be the most "sickening" and "perverted" part of the game.
As he progressed further into the previously uncharted territory beyond the Giant's Drink, The Mind Game became a very influential part of Ender's life, and was the strongest connection to him during that time. This ultimately drew the attention of the Hive Queens to it as they were making their final stand in an effort to save their species from the humans before the Third Formic War. At some point, they were able to give an Aiúa to the program telepathically, eventually producing the sentient being Ender would one day come to know as Jane.
The teachers at Battle School found Bean to be unpredictable mainly because they were not able to use the Mind Game to psycho-analyze him. Bean played the Mind Game only once, in an arcade when he thought that it was a random game. He progressed through the maze to the Giant's Drink, where the Mind Game had transformed the Giant's face into that of Achilles. Shocked by the appearance of Achilles, Bean hesitated before walking away from the game.
Shadow of the Giant
The International Fleet kept the Mind Game in the school's computers even after the final victory over the Formics, and it was a popular diversion for colonists awaiting departure there after Battle School had been converted into a midway station known as Ellis Island. Upon learning more of the self-editing capabilities of this software, Bean suggested that it be employed to take care of Ender's pension account while he was traveling at relativistic speeds after his brother Peter Wiggin started withdrawing from his brother's account for financial support.
The Investment Counselor
The re-engineered program evolved over time, and eventually became the investment counselor that presented itself to Ender as Jane when he got old enough to have to start paying taxes.
Locations in the Mind Game
The Giant's Drink
The Giant's Drink was used as a psycho-analysis tool, and it often had damaging effects on the students. It was common for a student to have suicidal thoughts if they dwelt on the seemingly impossible game; however, Pinual was the only student to kill himself after trying to beat the level. In the game, there was a giant who asked the player to drink from one of the two cups in front of him. He said that if they won, he would take them to Fairyland. Normally, no one could get past this part, as both drinks would kill the player. However, instead of choosing between the two drinks, Ender Wiggin killed the giant by having his character burrow into the giant's eye. As the giant's corpse fell to the ground, Ender's character found himself in the very same Fairyland that the giant had promised him.
Fairyland was a place thought impossible to reach, seeing as to reach it, you would have to pass The Giant's Drink - a puzzle thought impossible to solve. The Mind Game was not programmed to have a response to beating The Giant's Drink, so the game made up Fairyland which did not actually exist before Ender unknowingly created it.
The End of the World
The End of the World was an area in the Fantasy Game that wasn't programmed in, but drew from Ender's memory and the Battle School database to put itself together.