12/9/2013 MM: "Live Like a Gamer"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.

The problem with approaching life as a game to win rather than giving up is that some games are like TicTacToe (or Global Thermonuclear War) and unwinnable. When life hands you a Kobayashi Maru, the best option is to recognise that fact and react accordingly rather than going down in flames trying to win...

M:tG Rules Advisor

The problem with living life as a gamer is that most gamers, as noted by MaRo, don't play like gamers. In fact, most people don't play according to the lessons taught. Scientists do, but very few players of games apply lessons terms "gaming lessons." The problem is that gamers are, for the most part, interested in only one thing: satisfying an emotional desire to succeed. There is a satisfaction goal involved, and that one involves an endorphin injection in their brain. And like what happens when an addict hits a ceiling on his endorphin high, he seeks ways to push this. Many players of games, espcially video games, aim for the goal until it satisfies no longer; then it's dropped.


No. The real lesson in how game theory applies to life, and it applies in every social interaction in humans under the sun. Because every interaction between humans is a consideration of achievement of a goal. How we do that tends to work out in much more complex ways than shown in this article, and at the same time occurs over a far more simple direction:


We all want to aim for the best victory, even if that victory means self-annihilation. That victory is not always our success, but survival of the genes. A spider or mantis will attempt to breed with a female, even if she would eat him. What is most fascinating about this is that not all males of mantis or spider matings die: sometimes a female will let the male live, sometimes he manages to get away. It depends on what he does, and how successful he is in doing what he does. Sometimes, a female will remove any deposited sperm from an unsatisfactory (but nutricious) male, and find another. The most successful males, therefore, are the ones who live to mate again, but success still occurs when he dies. Salmon get once chance to breed, and success really does mean their death. But game theory tells us that the goal is not satisfaction of ones own personal goal to get something out of it while stopping the opponent (if there is one), but merely acheivement of the goal. Even the Joker plays game theory.

"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)

the rules to games determine how it is played

but if we forget we are playing a game

we loss sight that the game can be changed

What strikes me about the comments so far is that they come from a different world than my own. They come from a world in which some company (Wizards, Blizzard, etc.) creates and maintains a community of people playing their games, so gamers don't need to worry about finding people to play with. In my world (tabletop gaming with friends), you have to convince people to play and keep playing games with you. No other people, no game. If you're a kid and want to pillowfight with your friends, and accidentally hit a friend in the face and hurt them, the game stops and you try to 'make it up'. Perhaps you offer to let them hit you in the face so you're 'even' and everyone wants to play again. Is that part of the rules? No, but something you learn to do if you want to still keep having a game to play and people to play it with. And to 'gamers' from this world, Mark's article makes all the sense in the world. When someone else (a company) takes responsibility for creating and maintaining the community, games can indulge in all the bad but 'legal' behavior they want. When you need to create and maintain the community, you have to be a much better person.

surely there is a community in renton

Matt_Holck wrote:

surely there is a community in renton


Yeah, that rant sounded better in my head. And much less like a rant. I think I need to re-instate my 'sleep on it' policy for posting on the internet again.