Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Game epiphanies: game terminology, physics and metaphysics.

Game epiphanies: game terminology, physics and metaphysics.

Two copies of the same edition of a book were lying on the carpet on the floor. "Les jeux sont faits".

"Les jeux sont faits" is the title of a screenplay by Jean-Paul Sartre and translates literally as "The Plays are Made", an idiomatic French expression used mainly in casino gambling meaning the bets have been placed. The English translation made in 1948 was published as "The Chips are Down". Title and plot both sound quite deterministic.

"Das Spiel ist aus", the German translation of the title means literally "The Game is Over". Thus the short time span between ending of the bets and the ball loosing it momentum and falling into the pocket of the wheel, saturated with expectations, hope, fear, desire, doubts, stressgreed, anxiety, adrenalin, sweat and prayers, as our whole life itself, is cast out. If we accept the parallel existence of the both translations and let them complement each other, the game is over before the final outcome of the game, at ending of the bets. Not only one has no influence on the future,  but also on the present because it is now, but a subset of the past.

Life is a game” is a common verbal discharge taken for granted. It is, as far as we engage in conflicts, follow rules, make decisions and choices, manage resources, pursuit goals, and often gamble. That sounds more like existentialism. But if life is a game, and the game is over, is life over when the bets are placed? What is the time span between the bets being placed and defining the outcome of the game, a non-game, a non-life? A moment saturated with expectations, hope, fear, desire, doubts, stress, greed, anxiety, adrenalin, sweat and prayers. And who is placing the bets?

"Les jeux sont faits" can also be translated as the “the die is cast”. And to partially quote Albert Einstein's letter to Max Born from 1926: “The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the "old one." I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.” Does the same act, throwing dice, serve to describe exactly the opposite notion or somebody is throwing the dice for Him?

Alea iacta est (Latin "The die is cast") is a phrase attributed to Julius Caesar and still used to mean that events have passed a point of no return, that something, whatever it is, will inevitably happen, says Wikipedia.

Something, whatever it is, is inevitable, life is a game and the plays are made. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

On the multiplicity in the simplicity, and the graphic appeal of the simplest strategy game

On the multiplicity in the simplicity,  and the graphic appeal of the simplest strategy game

Isolating symbols and trying to decipher the abnormal tic-tac-toes from Yerevan, reminded me that I had encountered symbiosis between stylised hearts and tic-tac-toe games before. Since I first came to Graz in 2012, I keep coming upon a graffiti “LOVE WINS” accompanied with a tic-tac-toe game where “O” is replaced by a stylised heart and wins.

I guess the main reason that I am so attracted to tic-tac-toe is the multiplicity in the simplicity of its symbols and graphics. The “X” and the “O” carry symbolical meanings as well. For example, “kisses and hugs” (XOXO) acronym. Cross in a circle, or the sun cross: , is the astronomical symbol of the planet Earth. Cross and circle also form the sign of Venus: , etc.

The “X” also also can derive from “O”, marking two perpendicular diameters, as we see in the symbol of the Earth where it represents the equator and a meridian.

The “X” can be also constructed from two semi-circles or semi-ellipses. Actually that’s how I was thaught in school to write the letter “X”:

I also used this method in the design of some of my tic-tac-toe games made of leftover cardboard tubes.
Veronika Tzekova, KOMPLEMENT Tic-tac-toe, 2013

Veronika Tzekova, 5 in OneDesign submitted for REDESIGN+ AWARD 2014

And what more simple, clear and immediate way to visualise „a win“ than sketch of a win in tic-tac-toe game?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Evolution of GAME

Evolution of GAME/animals

From landscape to cityscape. From two players to a single player, from 3x3 to 1x5 and 2x4, from a human to an animal.

Once humans depicted game animals, now game animals depict CHAlleNGED GAMES.

Rock art is placed on natural rock surfaces and can be considered a form of landscape art. Common subject in rock art is depiction of game and hunting scenes. In the course of time our evolution replaced the natural surroundings and rock surfaces with cityscapes and building walls. Game evolved as well. From game animal to a game, from a game to a CHAlleNGED GAME. So did human being, to a game animal.

On the documentary photos below are some evidences. These are some peculiar versions of the popular tic-tac-toe game I encountered in 2012 in the city of Yerevan, Armenia, that offer food for though to ludologists and game connoisseurs what kind of game animal expressed itself and what is the game played.

The first example was teasing me daily as it was on my way from the school I was living in to the bus stop in a suburb in Yerevan called (unofficially, but nobody knew any other name for it) Bangladesh. Simple chalk drawing on a building wall, extremely resembling a tic-tac-toe game but only with one player, the player “X”. “X” always starts in tic-tac-toe, so in general has bigger chances to win. But this one stopped and didn't win. Win against oneself? Is this losing?
To my regret I was unable to decipher the mysterious constellations and the message from the free thinker on the second picture. It reminded me a bit to my One-row-Tic-tac-toe ), but this didn't take me further. Two intersecting stylised hearts can be isolated between the two games... this just leads me to the next post.

  • something you play, usually a competitive activity
  • an animal that is hunted 
  • a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli.
  • a person with a particular interest or aptitude