Why do you play Games?

Why do humans play Games, whether it is  video game or aboard game or a soccer, I don’t have to put a ball in the net to survive .games are weird, This led Bernard in the  1970’s to say sports are voluntary methods to overcome unnecessary obstacles. So why do we play sports and games? How do we feel about intellectualism vs athleticism? Most importantly Americans call the football, as Soccer, while the English and the rest of the world call it football? It turns out that the word soccer does not come from the US instead the blame for the word ‘soccer’ goes to the British specifically Oxford. Since 1875 it is been popular to add the suffix “er” to the end of the words. For example the calling Radcliffe Camera the “Radder” or the currency notes as “fibers” or ”tinners”. We have been playing games with balls and our feet ever since ancient times all over the world, in fact as recently as 200 years ago many of these games called themselves football. A lack of standardization all over the world mad it difficult to understand what you could do or could not do with the feet and the ball. Nut luckily in 1863, the Football association was found in London, England. Association Football is what we mean when talking about football or soccer. What is the relationship between Oxford adding “er” to names, so the Football Association, should we be calling the game “Associationer”. Let’s take a closer look at the word “Association”, the letters “soc” are hiding the word “Association” and the letters “er” added to it makes them “soccer”.

Football is only one type of game, alternately what is a game? Well on of the finest ways of defining a game comes from computer games designer, Chris Crawford. Let’s begin with a book, the book may be a great book, it’s fun, it’s entertaining but it’s not a game. TV shows and movies are also not games because fundamentally they are not interactive! But as soon as something is both fun and interactive, it becomes a plaything. There are two types of playthings according to Crawford, if you can play with an object and it’s fun but if there is no goal or objective associated with it, then it’s a toy. For example if there is an objective something you are supposed to accomplish, then it is a challenge, but there are two different types of challenges. If the challenge involves no other people or no other agents, involved, if it’s just you playing along with Rubrics cube, you have got yourself a puzzle. If the challenge involves other people, then we have got ourselves conflict. In a conflict a running race you aren’t allowed to interfere with the other participants. This is what Crawford calls a “competition”. If however you are allowed to interfere and interact with the other players and they can do the same to you, in that case we are talking about a full-fledged game. So a game is interactive, goal oriented, and involves other agents for instance other people who can interfere with and influence each other. Which means technically speaking that life is a game? That means our real life easily fit several definitions of game. And in life there are games which we tend to call sports.

Now competency and sports divide games into two groups, Jocks who are good at sports and Nerds who aren’t. Jocks are literally named after the Jock straps. The word “nerd” has much debate about where the word comes from. What do we do know as it emerged as a slang term for lame in Detroit in the early 1950’s. The word first comes from a word “nut” which means crazy person and it was called “nert” and eventually it became “nerd”. It is used for the unatheltic people largely because it is popularized through its frequent use on the US TV shows, “Happy Days”. Whether you spend time on athletic pursuits or intellectual pursuits or both, games are some form or a part of your life. So, why do we play games? Humans and many other animals “play”. Probably play emerged as physically preparing our bodies to life’s real challenges which we may face later on. That idea makes sense, but the evidence is not convincing, because in the wild ‘play’ often leads to a wastage of precious resources, injuries and hardly simulates real attacks and life threatening situations. The New York Times wrote a great article about this stating that physically preparing the body may be less of a priority for play, instead the point of play might be preparing the brain. Play is good for the brain, especially during the juvenile years, where most of us have instinctive urge to goof around, play and pretend anywhere. Young rats confined to cages with adult rats that have refused to play with them grew up with smaller, less developed brains. This has led to the hypotheses that games play a role in the development of brains certain structures especially the cerebellum when we are young. To be clear the evidence does not show that play is vital for the development of these regions. Other methods like exercise and teaching may have a similar effect, they might not be as fun, but this is known as Equifinality.

Let’s take a look at the rewards that games give us. In the first half of the 20th century Abraham Maslow constructed the hierarchy of human needs, but the concept is popular in developmental psychology thinking about human growth and what makes us to do things or do not do things. In general, until all the needs of  a lower tier are fulfilled an individual can’t move on to fulfilling higher ones, for instance achieving confidence, satisfying the desires of learn and explore are not important to a person for fear for their life and safety. Play might be motivated by higher needs, animals play but as we have seen in nature but not the ones who are stressed, starving. The thing is lower needs tend to be pretty clear cut, if I am hungry and I eat what I need then I am done. It’s not that complicated. But as creatures, brains and cultures become more complicated, so do their needs and behaviours required fulfilling them. This itself makes clear that life itself fits Crawford’s definition of a game. Arguably, life is the most complicated and largest game on Earth. But play your life is not usually as easy as simply remembering to eat and drink and breathe. In life knowing what the correct next move is not always easy. Feedback is rarely immediate. One may not know if the choices that are made are the best and most perfect choices for oneself until way after they are made. In life the rules are complicated, goals are indeterminist and the methods for achieving them are often unknown are different for every single person. In the face of that we invented games in the larger game of life itself, that ensure fast easy to achieve and understandable role models.


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