La Citta. These two words encapsulate my two key decisions, bread – a symbol of nourishment and essential resource – do I need this? and games – a symbol of having fun – is it going to make my life fun? You can check many things against this simple binomial test. Beer can often start out in the “Bread” category and soon becomes the “Games” category.
I like to play games. Actually I like to enjoy life and this is achieved in part by playing games. A friend has a motto on his blog, which is itself a paraphrase of the Bernard Shaw quote, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." I like this sentiment; that the very act of engaging in an apparently frivolous activity can indeed hold back the ravages of old age.
Recently I have had pause to consider what my motivations are for playing games. I listened to an excellent gaming podcast called Gameon - Episode 28 – Motivations. I sympathized with much of the discussion about the challenging games with people who want to win at all costs, as we have all experienced this from time to time – I’d suggest possibly from both sides of the fence. At the end of one such discussion the guest host, single-L, said, “who even won that game?”.
I must confess, this resonated quite strongly with me. There have been occasions where the game became such a trial I could not recall who won. There have also been games that have been so much fun that I forgot who won. This leads me to believe that winning isn’t the objective. But clearly it is, you wouldn’t be a gamer if you didn’t want to win. In fact, I think Darwin had something to say about this too, so in a sense we are all the decedents of generations of winners.
Until researching for this blog – yes I did!, I had believed my old school motto was “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game”. Actually it now appears to be “Faith in our Future”, something you’d expect the marketing department of Orange Mobile phones to come up with. Perhaps it was another school, it doesn’t matter, the sentiment I remember is that wining isn’t the objective, but acting in an exemplary manor regardless, is. Not confusing this with the liberal nonsense of, we can all be winners, actually I think this is the point. Victurus te saluto - He who is about to win salutes you, whatever happened to gracious victors?
If not the single-minded objective to win, then what else could the objective be?
Learning, I suspect is one. Experiencing real life concepts played out in a controlled and restricted rule set. From buying property, to the stock market, to balancing resources on a newly settled island, gaming can introduce these concepts in a friendly “risk free” environment. It goes further than this, as an adult, I have enjoyed diplomacy and negotiation or trading games that in someway approximate those interactions from real life – giving me an opportunity to hone my technique. Note-to-self – must try harder. Also, purely social interaction could be the aim – however I believe I’d just go to the pub if this were true. So is it something to do with intellectual stimulation? Probably, but really I think the only objectives are to try to win and to be gracious along the way, regardless of the outcome.
One final thought from Plato
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”