Whac-A-Mole

« Glossary IndexLast Updated: Nov 5, 2018 @ 12:35 pm

Whac-A-Mole is a popular carnival game invented in 1976 by Aaron Fechter of Creative Engineering, Inc. A typical Whac-A-Mole machine consists of a large, waist-level cabinet with five holes in its top and a large, soft, black mallet. Each hole contains a single plastic mole and the machinery necessary to move it up and down. Once the game starts, the moles will begin to pop up from their holes at random. The object of the game is to force the individual moles back into their holes by hitting them directly on the head with the mallet, thereby adding to the player’s score. The more quickly this is done the higher the final score will be.1

Episode References

In episode 105.10 Ben and Cal play whac-a-mole while they are at Coney Island. In the scene just before it, Cal is frustrated while shooting basketballs. After Ben tells him that game “is impossible LeBron couldn’t even sink a shot,” he says, “You wanna master your own destiny? Come on.” That’s when they go and play whac-a-mole. In fact, Cal wins!

Significance

As used in different contexts: The term “Whac-a-mole”  is used colloquially to denote a repetitious and futile task: each time an adversary is “whacked”, it only pops up again somewhere else.1

  • In a MILITARY2 context, the term is used to refer to ostensibly inferior opposing troops who keep re-appearing.
  • In a COMPUTER PROGRAMMING3 context it refers to the fact that fixing a bug has a certain chance of creating a new bug which itself needs to be fixed.
  • In a WEB context, it refers to the process of fending off recurring spammers, vandals or miscreants.

As used in the Manifest context:  If we give credence to Karen Stone’s mantra from Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good…” and Ben and Cal’s callings, “It is all connected,” then the whack-a-mole game can be seen as everyone working together to fix a situation.

However, not everything is a quick fix. Fixing one thing, creates a whole new set of problems which arise faster than anyone is able to solve or cope with them, resulting in piecemeal, incomplete, or temporary results. We are already seeing this in the first five episodes after the 828ers return.

Endnotes:
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whac-A-Mole
  2. Eleanor Clift, et al. “Refusing To Lose.” Newsweek 150.4 (2007): 22–30. Academic Search Premier. Web. 7 Dec. 2011.
  3. The Whack-a-Mole Problem. Strategies for App Development Success: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”. www.informit.com. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
Categories: Metaphors
Tags: 105
Whac-A-Mole (Wikipedia)
Whac-A-Mole
Whackamole.jpg
A woman playing Whac-A-Mole
Manufacturer(s) Creative Engineering Inc.
Years active 1976–present

Whac-A-Mole is a popular arcade redemption game invented in 1976 by Aaron Fechter of Creative Engineering, Inc.

In Japan, モグラ退治 (mogura taiji, "Mole Buster") is a popular arcade game invented in 1975 by Kazuo Yamada of TOGO, based on ten of the designer's pencil sketches from 1974, licensed to Bandai in 1977. It can also be commonly found at Japanese festivals.

A typical Whac-A-Mole machine consists of a large, waist-level cabinet with five holes in its top and a large, soft, black mallet. Each hole contains a single plastic mole and the machinery necessary to move it up and down. Once the game starts, the moles will begin to pop up from their holes at random. The object of the game is to force the individual moles back into their holes by hitting them directly on the head with the mallet, thereby adding to the player's score. The more quickly this is done the higher the final score will be.

« Back to Glossary Index