Excerpt from SMHTCC interview:
SM Counsellor: I'm having a hard time pinning this one down - what would you say is the overall feeling of this image?
Atashkin: Well, I think by Teleopolan standards this is a very sentimental image.
SM Counsellor: So obviously Teleopolans have a very different view of childhood than us. I might too if children were just scaled-down versions of adults in terms of their appearance and proportions.
Atashkin: It's not just that. This is actually a very special moment in a child's life. It signals the end of dependence on software for learning. It's called "The Awakening"
SM Counsellor: So you're saying that pyramid - what looks to me like an ordinary game console, is important to all Teleopolan's upbringing?
Atashkin: Well, what you're seeing is a reminder about mortality. It might look equivalent to the phrase "Game Over," but Teleopolans don't really think of this as a game. So it comes as a shocking reminder and throws the child into a state of existential panic. The software goes between conveying information in a more didactic way and then conveying information about death which is meant to kickstart the psychology of the child.
SM Counsellor: And this existential panic immediately motivates the children to demolish the floor and turn it into more complex tilework?
Atashkin: Essentially, yes. It's very context-dependent of course. The children learn together in order to develop a rich and composited sense of self.
SM Counsellor: I see. I guess what looks to us like a video game is something much more foundational to a Teleopolan.
Atashkin: Yeah, I love video games by the way.
SM Counsellor: Me too. Video games are great.