Survivorship Bias Chapter 4
“Initialization completed, variables created successfully, number before running: 8.”
This statement made An Wujiu feel uncomfortable.
They were real people, yet cold words described them as program variables.
By counting the pre-launch number of survivors, it presumably suggested that the number of survivors here may not be eight after the game begins.
The divine voice continued. “8 variables have been given eight identities, including capitalists with great wealth and homeless people with nothing. The convertible value of each identity varies, and their strength value is also different. For example, capitalists have the highest convertible value after surviving, but the lowest strength value.”
“On top of that, each of you will be given completely different capabilities that may play an unexpected role in this battle for survival.”
“Also, taking the capitalist example, this role will have the ability to occupy half of the resources of the entire safety bunker.”
Hearing this sentence, An Wijiu immediately had a realization.
Yang Ming, on the side, grinned proudly, “Can I use the rewards from the announced warm-up game now?”
There was no turbulence in the divine voice, but every word of the announcement dictated the fate of these people.
“Of course. Yang Ming, the winner of the warm-up game, is asked to look at each character panel first and choose his own desired role and competition format. The system will randomly assign everyone except him.”
“This! This…” Liu Chengwei shouted in dissatisfaction, but he probably also realized that no matter how much he protested, Yang Ming’s great advantage had already been determined, and offending him would be detrimental. Liu Chengwei’s face was terrible as he forced the last of his profanities back down his throat.
The expressions of the remaining few people were not much better, but they were helpless.
With a wave of his hands, Yang Ming squeezed from the edge of several people to the middle, adjusted his tie, and then told the system that he was ready.
“Okay, displaying to you the character panels.”
Yang Ming stood up straight. The gift box appeared again, opening in front of him. He stretched out a forefinger and slid it into the void. No one else could see these character panels, so it looked comical.
Soon, Yang Ming chose the role of a capitalist. No one was surprised when the system made an announcement.
When Yang Ming turned around, An Wujiu saw a trace of disdain for him on the man’s face.
“How about Yang-ge? Isn’t he powerful?” Even Liu Chengwei, who felt strong at first, was attentively smiling when facing Yang Ming. His fierce-looking face scrunched up when he smiled, and he couldn’t wait to inject some flattering light into that blind and atrophied eye. “What are the other roles?”
Yang Ming snapped his thin fingers like Liu Chengwei did, with a smile of a successful person on his face. “You’ll see it later when the system randomly assigns it.”
Zhong Yirou smiled as she approached Yang Ming, lifted her hand, and softly touched Yang Ming’s shoulder. “Aiya, Yang-ge, you’ve been keeping secrets too long.”
It wasn’t just these two. An Wujiu sensed that nearly everyone in the cramped area was fixated on Yang Ming, like insects pursuing a light. Even the timid Ueno was much closer to Yang Ming, even though he didn’t speak.
His eyes inadvertently fell on the man named Shen Ti.
Unexpectedly, the other party was so bored that his left and right hand were playing rock-paper-scissors. He seemed to notice that someone was watching. He raised his head, his left hand still comparing its scissors to the right hand’s paper.
What a strange man.
“Then…” Old Yu hesitated for a long time and couldn’t help but say, “Yang Ming, the next competition format…”
In the small space, everyone was surrounding Yang Ming. The brief silence was like a blunt knife slowly cutting a nerve.
An Wujiu knew that as long as Yang Ming said a word, no matter what role these people held, they would advance wave after wave for him and stand unswervingly in his team.
Yang Ming smiled, and the brilliance in his turbid pupils made them resemble a pair of valuable artificial eyes.
“I choose single battle.”
Self-preservation was the first law of nature.
A team battle would likely result in the winning team’s score being divided evenly. Despite the possibility of forming a stronger alliance, Yang Ming chose a role with tremendous advantages. Leading a team was undoubtedly doing charity.
The choice of single battle spoiled many people’s enthusiasm, as evident from their faces.
But for An Wujiu, this result was not necessarily a bad thing.
“Role assignment and information loading now.”
Within seconds, several blue lasers appeared in the air. A suspended green fluorescent font appeared within the darkness, continuously scrolling through codes.
“Publishing all variable assignment results:
Yang Ming — Capitalist
Wu You — Company employee
An Wujiu — Intern of the Cyber Security Department
Zhong Yirou — Chairman’s daughter
Ueno — Researcher
Old Yu — Vagrant
Liu Chengwei – Robber
Shen Ti – Security robot.”
Then, a virtual character panel appeared in front of them, and An Wujiu stared at the information printed out by the blue laser.
[Role: Intern of the Cyber Security Department
Survival Value: 4
Health Bars: 3
Ability: Select a player to invade their panel and swap oneself’s own red and black lines with the other party’s red and black lines. It is a one-time skill.]
“Everyone has obtained their character information. Next is the actual rules of the game.”
After the voice finished speaking, the thick, sturdy steel door in front of them slowly opened from left to right, revealing a dark passageway with no light, like an endless borehole, the inside filled with dwindling desire.
“The bunker survival battle consists of five days and four nights. During the day, each player distributes the survival materials by themselves. If there is a disagreement during the distribution process, the players can duel ① and cannot refuse anyone’s challenge. The initiator may prompt verbally or enter the duel threshold by pressing the start button.”
“Please keep in mind. The number of duels every 24 hours is limited, and the duel threshold will enter a dormant period after the number exceeds.
Duels are not just one-on-one. Other players can choose to join a side or sit on the sidelines.”
“The health bars of all players on the same side will be superimposed on the player who initially initiated or accepted the duel. Two players will fight, and the side with the more health bars wins and obtains supplies, while everyone on the other side loses one health bar each.”
“After eleven o’clock in the evening, all players will be forced to return to their dedicated rooms to rest. The order of the rooms will range from 1 to 8. Sleeping gas will be released in the bunker between midnight and six in the morning, forcing everyone to sleep.
Players with depleted health bars will die. Just like in previous games, once you’re dead on the Altar, you will also be brain-dead in reality. After 9 o’clock on the fifth day, the final survival value will be given to everyone…”
Wu You, who had been very silent, asked with slight confusion, “Settlement?”
An Wujiu also found it strange that the survival value in each character panel was a fixed constant, and duels in the game would not cause a loss in survival value, yet the settlement was at the end.
“That’s right. Here we will announce the hidden parameters on the character panel: the black line and red line. ② The black line connects to the person you curse, and the red line connects to the person you secretly love. The system will randomly assign this parameter, and there will be no situation where you curse or secretly love yourself. Each person can be linked by someone else’s red or black lines.”
“No one can see your red and black lines except yourself unless you voluntarily disclose it.
If you survive, and the person you have a crush on also lives, you can acquire the survival value of your secret love, and if you’re cursed person dies, you can also obtain their survival value.”
That was what red and black meant.
“In the end, the players who have accumulated the top four survival values will advance to the next round.”
The dark passage suddenly lit up, illuminating the road ahead.
“The pilgrimage has once again begun, wishing everyone a pleasant journey.”
Hanging on both sides of the walls were antique chandeliers, the milky yellow light hitting the concrete walls. The wallpaper on both sides was full of Bible-themed murals, unlike the decorations of this century.
Walking down the aisle, An Wujiu paid attention to the walls. At the center of the right mural was Jesus, the god humans worshiped in the early years, but now Christianity has become a minority belief. Sitting on either side of Jesus were the twelve apostles, each with different expressions.
“The Last Supper1.“
On the side, Zheng Yirou opened her mouth and said what An Wujiu thought. Then, she smiled again. “I have a fake. It took a minute to 3D print it. It’s very noble and elegant.”
An Wujiu nodded. Looking to the side, he saw the masked man bent over, holding a magnifying glass from nowhere, and looking at the mural in front of his face. It looked a bit funny.
Zhong Yirou placed her hands on her hips and turned to look at the mural on the left. At the center of the picture was the Virgin Mary holding the Holy Child, surrounded by pilgrims. She wasn’t very familiar with it as this was beyond her knowledge of classical oil paintings, but An Wujiu, who had been staying silent, said the name first.
“This is the Adoration of the Magi2. It’s Leonardo da Vinci’s.”
Shen Ti also turned the hand with the magnifying glass. An Wujiu couldn’t describe the subtle feeling the mechanical Avalokitesvara on his face gave with this silly movement.
“How do you know?” Zhong Yirou crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t you say you have amnesia?”
“Part of my memory…is missing, but it seems…not to have affected cognition.” The statement was a bit lengthy, so An Wujiu could only say it slowly. It was a bit laborious, and he appeared more sincere.
“You mean you just forgot your memory after coming to Altar?”
An Wujiu was not sure. He shook his head and wanted to continue, but he heard Liu Chengwei, who was at the front with Yang Ming and the others, roar, “What are you guys doing sneaking around in the back? Still not coming?!”
Under such game rules, they had to take orders from Yang Ming for the time being.
The group of people walked through a long passage unfamiliarly dark to them. They lived in a world of illumination with everlasting neon lights and lingering ghost-like streetlights. Even light polluted the dampest, most grimy corners.
Humans were naturally afraid of unfamiliar things.
Everyone groped to the end of the passage in unusual silence, each harboring their own ulterior moves. There was only a smooth black door, like a mirror reflecting the sea of oil in the glow of the chandelier.
“How do you open this?” Liu Chengwei made a fuss in the back.
Wu You muttered in a low voice, “Only know how to open your mouth and ask…”
The angered Liu Chengwei stretched out his hand and shoved Wu You’s shoulder hard from behind. “Do you fucking want to die?!”
With such a thrust forward, the Rubik’s cube in Wu You’s hand fell to the ground, rolled half a circle, and wound up inside the door. The cube was cleanly engulfed, from its corners and edges to its entire surface. Fluorescent blue lines of data appeared where the cube contacted the door, spreading through the damaged walls before gradually fading.
“Let’s go. What are you doing standing there?” Zhong Yirou walked in her high heels and stepped towards the black door. The others followed while An Wujiu walked in the rear.
The view inside was a far cry from the darkened passageway. The foyer was expansive and luminous, with a delicate dome overhead, angels and saints emblazoned on its edges as divine authority, asleep in the lights and shadows. The center dome was a whole ornate fresco imprinted with the brilliance of religion. Gilded granite columns, arc-shaped structures, a confessional-like room, everything here was less like a miniature nuclear bunker and more like a baroque underground church.
Long, dark-red carpets covered every inch of the ground. Even the sofas were arranged in rows, similar to the rows of seats used in worship.
The strong sense of religion made An Wujiu feel strangely uncomfortable.
“Everybody.” Yang Ming’s voice broke the silence of everyone in awe of the bunker. “Let’s get to know each other’s character panel first, shall we?”
He spoke as if negotiating but in a voice that meant no discussion. Now that he possessed the most powerful role, he naturally became the dominating player in the game, and no one else dared oppose him.
Character panels were simultaneously displayed, with everyone peering at each other’s screens, especially the ability column. An Wujiu was no exception. He noted down other people’s information at the swiftest speed.
In addition to the ability to grasp half of the resources, Yang Ming, who acquired [Capitalist], also had a very ridiculously special feature for the red and black lines–he could discover [company employee] (Wu You)’s red line and black line the following day.
“The role of a capitalist is the same as in reality. To work for him is to sell personal dignity.”
Zhong Yirou joked that she got the identity card of [Rich family’s daughter], but the Chairman’s daughter studied medicine so she could restore the health of others or herself. However, she had only two opportunities and could restore one health bar at a time. If the two chances were both used on herself, there would be a reduction of 10,000 coins during settlement.
She turned her head and saw that Ueno got the role of [Researcher] inside the company. With an envious expression, she said, “I like people who do scientific research the most.”
Ueno’s cheeks became red with shock, and he quickly lowered his head. His acquired ability also corresponded to his role–he could double his survival resources after three days of research and development side tasks.
These abilities were crucial in this survival game, either related to resources or health bars. In contrast, Wu You’s [Employee] card was weak, and his ability was just a chance of staying up every other night.
An Wujiu looked at Liu Chengwei on the other side. He was poking at the holographic panel projected in front of him.
The role he matched with was [Robber], who snuck into the building to prepare for a crime but was caught off guard by the gas attack. His ability was commensurate with his role, and he had two opportunities to plunder other people’s food. The other party will be unable to resist, but he could only act in person.
What Old Yu got was the [Vagrant]. The ability matched the name, and he could move freely to other people’s rooms during the night from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am.
The last thing An Wujiu noticed was Shen Ti sitting cross-legged on the carpet. The mask on the other party prevented anyone from seeing his expression as he fixed his attention on the character display.
He didn’t have an incredible role. It was the [AI] in the company building, a security robot, to put it bluntly. The survival value was the lowest of all, only 1 point.
Such a setting clearly highlighted the arrogance of human beings as creators.
Suddenly, Shen Ti raised his arms and gave a big stretch.
His ability was also somewhat passive–he could copy the opponent’s skill when attacked, but there was only one precious chance.
Liu Chengwei violently shattered the quietness. “Why is my survival value only 2 points?”
“Because your role is a robber.” Zhong Yirou laughed. “But it’s also fair. Look at the parameters of these characters. The rules are obvious.”
As Wu You lowered his head and played the Rubik’s Cube, he whispered, “The higher the survival value, the lower the health bar and force value.”
“Yes, it’s balanced.” Old Yu nodded. “My survival value is only 3, but I have six health bars.”
Zong Yirou nodded and explained her role. “My role is a rich lady, which is the opposite of you. My survival value is 7, but my health bar is only one. Fortunately, I can heal myself, or I’d be too brittle. Yang Ming is still stronger than me and has a higher survival value than me with 8 points and 2 points in the health bar.” After she finished speaking, her arm rested on Wu You’s shoulder, who bowed his head and played with a Rubik’s cube. “The child is not yet an adult but has already become a corporate slave, with four health bars and a survival value of 5, which is not bad.”
Wu You’s hand paused for a second and then continued to turn the Rubik’s cube with a straight face.
Zhong Yirou swept her beautiful eyes on Ueno, who had never ventured to speak, suddenly jumped in front of him, and tilted her head. “Your parameters look beautiful.”
“The survival value is 6, and there are also five health bars. It’s really unbalanced.” She smiled. “You can also duplicate resources.”
Ueno stuttered and explained, “But if I fail the side tasks, the ability will also fail…”
Zhong Yirou shrugged. “It’s unlikely to fail this kind of thing, don’t be nervous. Your overall strength is impressive. When the time comes, maybe it’ll depend on you.”
Hearing this sentence, Yang Ming couldn’t sit still from the side. His eyes flicked on Ueno’s face a few times and finally fell on An Wujiu.
An Wujiu had become accustomed to this man’s mocking and slightly frightened eyes, but he couldn’t understand Yang Ming’s source of fear.
At least, the character card he got this time was not great. The sum of the survival value and health bars ranked at the bottom of the eight people. It was impossible for him to gain the upper hand, whether it was control of resources or a duel by force. There wasn’t really anything to fear.
But even if he won the warm-up game and picked the best character, he’d definitely be killed by a duel at the beginning of the game. No one would choose his side.
“Then, I’m the greatest just looking at the force value.” After listening for a round, Liu Chengwei began to accept that his survival value was low, but he also prided himself on the high value of power. He rolled up his sleeves to reveal his strong arms. “I have seven health bars.”
“No,” Zhong Yirou said with a playful voice. She sat on a sofa, pointing her finger to the mechanical Avalokitesvara, who sat cross-legged on the carpet with his back to the crowd. He inclined his head as if meditating.
“Shen Ti is not a human. He’s full of health bars, with eight in total.”
An Wujiu looked in his direction.
With his back facing everyone, the man stretched out his right hand and compared it to a pair of scissors.
The author has something to say:
①②This is a board game—Lifeboat 駭浪求生 (similar to Werewolf). It mainly focuses on the duels for survival and the setting of love cards and dislike cards.
Adding ① ② ③ in the text is often not for the sake of so-called popular science or pretense but mainly for marking. For example, the first two chapters have applied beauty contest games, and I have specifically marked them. The original text also directly states what game it is and where it originates. However, some people will still label it. Many works apply the beauty contest game, whether it is film and television animation, as well as the Gunslingers game3, the Wisdom Pig game4, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma5There are many applications. I’ve never said that these are my knowledge points. I don’t deserve it. I only hope that you can have a little look at the labels to avoid misunderstanding.
For the convenience of everyone, I have listed the situation of the characters:
1. Capitalist of a monopoly enterprise: Yang Ming (Survival value: 8, Force value: 2; Ability: 1/2 resources, aware of employee’s (Wu You) red and black lines)
2. Rich family’s daughter: Zhong Yirou (Survival value: 7, Force value: 1; Ability: Two chances to increase the health bars of others or oneself by one, two times on oneself will deduct 10,000 holy coins)
3. Researcher: Ueno Taisei (Survival value: 6, Force value: 5; Ability: After completing side tasks, survival resources can be doubled)
4. Company employee: Wu You (Survival value: 5, Force value: 4; Ability: Can stay up every other night for the entire time)
5. Intern of the Cyber Security Department: An Wujiu (Survival value: 4, Force Value 3; Ability: Can invade the panel and exchange the red and black lines between yourself and another, only one chance)
6. Security AI: Shen Ti (Survival value: 1, Force value: 8; Ability: Can copy the skill of another when they take the initiative to attack, only one chance)
7. Vagrant: Old Yu (Survival value: 3, Force value: 6; Ability: Can move freely to other people’s rooms at night from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am)
8. Robber terrorist taking advantage of chaos: Liu Chengwei (Survival value 2, Force value 7; Ability: Two opportunities to rob others’ food in person without resistance)
The rules look complicated. In fact, they aren’t as complex as you’ll see later. They only need to be introduced more.
- The webpage that explains it is in Chinese. The game is about three gunmen, A, B, and C, who despise each other and are fighting in a three-way duel. The three have varying marksmanship, with A having the finest and C having the poorest. They are also aware of one other’s skills and faults. It raises several problems, such as who has a higher chance of surviving after the initial gunfight, and what should C do if the three are taking turns firing and C shoots first?
- Also called the Boxed Pig Game on the website in which a big pig and a small pig are given the option of pulling the lever for food or wait. The small pig will always opt to wait, prompting the big pig to pull the lever in order to obtain food and allowing both to profit. It illustrates the Nash equilibrium where both sides profit the most in a non-cooperative game when no player deviates from their plan after evaluating the opponent’s response
- A game theory wherein two rational people may fail to cooperate because they make the optimal decision for themselves. A and B are imprisoned and placed in solitary cells where they are unable to communicate with one another. The police need evidence to convict them, so they make a proposal to the two. Because betraying a partner is more rewarding and may result in no prison time, it becomes the prevailing strategy