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"My feeling is that the chance of our surviving into the twenty-first century as working civilization is less than fifty percent but greater than zero."
- Isaac Asimov

Full-Shift Set Variable  
  Infinite possibilities built into a game machine.  

You've seen pinball machines, but not like this one.

"What's the object of the game?" Tinbane asked.

"We have here," the technician explained, "what we call a full-shift set variable. In other words, the terrain through which the steel ball moves is never the same. The number of possible combinations is -" he leafed through his report but was unable to find the exact figure - "anyhow, quite great. In the millions. It's excessively intricate, in our opinion..."

From Return Match, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Galaxy in 1967
Additional resources -

For earlier speculations on infinitely variable gaming environments, see the remarkable kingdom in a box, from Stanislaw Lem's 1965 story The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Return Match
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to Return Match
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

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