Congratulations on joining us as our biology lab technician. Your new duty is to take care of the magical social creatures named Tamas.
Tamas have intelligence - according to our previous study, they understand the concept of "friend", "enemy", "help", "attack", "warmth" and "freedom". They are also sensitive to the temperature and pressure change in the petri dish where they live.
The lab will send you tasks, and you will receive a report of your job performance after you finish all of the tasks.
Try not to kill all Tamas and,
Tama Tama Paradise is a reversed metaphor, a sugar-coated dark parable about social media. Meta-game wise, Tamas living in a petri dish is the abstract depiction of individuals using a social media product. Players' role represents influencers and operators of a social media platform. The player's employer - the true superpower behind the plot - represents the law of capitalism, which turn the operators into the personification of capital by rewarding the player with research funds (a form of capital). Players are encouraged to push the experiment forward and ignore the Tamas' subjective feelings, just like how social media operators view the data flow, instead of users' wellbeing as the most important KPI.
My motivation for creating the parable is to speak of their experiences of being emotionally exploited by social media platforms. As a fangirl myself since my teenage, I know how my fellow fangirls have invested how much devotion and hard work to the online community they love. Therefore, it is heartbreaking to see flame wars being deliberately incited by influencers and platform operators, and people who used to enjoy the same fandom begin to troll each other. By making Tama Tama Paradise, I want to tell my version of the story, and I wish it can resonate with other witnesses and encourage them to rebuild their communities.
"Each of us possesses a tangible, living soul. The System has no such thing.
We must not allow the System to exploit us. We must not allow the System to take on a life of its own."
Haruki Murakami, acceptance speech of the Jerusalem Literary Prize, 2009