I was recently discussing Ender's Game in The Reading Room, and I mentioned that I reread it because I felt that there were things that I had not understood. One of these things is the Mind Game.
According to the game's Wikia page,
The Mind Game, also known as the Fantasy Game, was an advanced computer program that was played by Battle School Students. The Mind Game adapted to the interests of each student, and was used by the Battle School staff to analyze the student's personality and psychology.
Each student had their own slightly different flavor of the game, as it adapted to the thoughts and actions of each player. Card devotes a lot of time with Ender in his Mind Game, and when I read it in high school, I didn't understand much of it.
If I remember correctly, when Ender visits the Bugger world, he finds that the aliens had constructed a life-size replica of parts of the Game for Ender to find when he came to visit. He also had vivid dreams of playing different parts of the game while fighting the aliens (although I think the aliens had forged an ESP-style connection with Ender, and planted those dreams there. My memory of a lot of the finer details is a little fuzzy, and I don't have a copy of the book on hand.)
The only useful analysis that I found through a quick Google this morning was this side note in Shmoop's "A Short Note Before Starting":
If you haven’t read Orson Scott Card’s introduction to Ender's Game, you might take a look at it, if only for the part where Card says that he avoided all the literary tricks that make reading hard (Intro.32). [...] But that doesn’t mean that Card avoids symbolism. Mostly, it tends to mean that his symbolism is rather clear. For instance, when Ender’s character in the mind game can’t play on a playground, that kind of seems like a symbol for his lost childhood.
The Giant's Drink, especially, seems to be somehow important, but I can't figure out why. On one level, it's obviously a tool that Card uses to develop Ender's character (and ability to think laterally), but it seems to me (when I read the book years ago, and still today) that the dilemma, and Ender's solution, must have some other symbolic meaning, besides.
What is the symbolism of the Mind Game, and the various areas and activities therein (especially the Giant's Drink)?