Tag Archives: games

Did Carse say that audiences are necessary for finite games?

Did Carse say that audiences are necessary for finite games? If no audience, no finite game?

End of time is when players know to quite playing, and audiences to quit watching. But that’s arbitrary, no real resolution there unless one winner is definitive (that is, opponent is dead).

College b-ballers and Jeopardy players, sure, they like the aesthetic of play, play for its own sake, and yet, there’s a cash inducement to enter competition—NBA career, Jeopardy winnings—why would that be? Even if players enjoy the play itself, do they need a property reason to enter a competition?

Competitions are so arbitrary, you know?

Why can’t we enjoy basketball-qua-basketball instead of merely b-ball as means to a competition? The way Vegas looks at things, gamblers don’t care what the game is—basketball, football, boxing, horse racing—they just want a result, a score. So games are the means to scores, to declaring winners and losers—which attitude, in a sense, dismisses inherent value of basketball-qua-basketball.

[From journal of Weds., 6 April 2005, Journal 47, page 85]

Complicating tic-tac-toe

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A friend and I started playing tic-tac-toe today at lunch, and we tried variations in grid size, winning-sequence length and shape, number of moves in a turn. When we tried using a 6-by-6 grid, with 4 in a row (or in a square), and 2 moves per turn, it felt like there was a bit more strategy involved. It felt like a simple game of chess, my friend said.

It’s usually more fun to play with the rules than by the rules. James Carse made a similar point in his book Finite and Infinite Games.