A Definition I’m Com-fort-able With

Jake Karlsruher

“The outer defenses are wea—

“The outer defenses will hold!  You need to start planning the counter offensive and stop worrying about the integrity of the base”

“Yes, sir, on it sir.  The enemy approaches!  Prepare for defensive measures?”

“Yes lieutenant, ready the archers.”

“Archers Ready!”

“…Brace yourself….”


Andrew the Conqueror, my older brother, poked his head out of our blanket and cushion fort; he was mortified. “MOMMM!  NOT NOW!”

Andrew and I never played cops and robbers.  We played Fort.  I loved Fort; it got me through 11th grade.  Kidding.  But seriously, Andrew and I defended that Fort with our lives. Were we participating in a game, or was this simply play?  Or was it a desperate attempt to fill our heads with illusions of grandeur because we were too afraid to talk to girls?  It was probably the latter, but we’ll focus on the first question: Game or Play?

For something to be a game, it must only follow one rule: there are rules.  All parties involved in playing the game must agree on these rules.  Once these rules are broken, the game collapses, and the activity is now play.  If the America is a Gamespace, then play would be chaos.  Forget that entire chart we saw in class.  The only true indication of a game is whether there are rules.   Fort is game: Andrew and I knew we had to be in the Fort at certain hours of the day, the Fort must be defended at all costs, and leaving the Fort would result in certain death.  There was no quantifiable outcome but there were two parties agreeing on a rule set.   A kid jumping on a trampoline is play, but it is not a game.  There are no rules governing how the kid must jump.

I can hear Thumser complaining about it now.  “But the trampoline could be game where your knees are one person and the trampoline is the other and you all agree on gravity and pain.”  My brilliant opinions only work if you use true definitions and don’t stretch the truth.  By stretching definitions I could prove Winston Churchill was a carrot (http://www.koschei.net/blog/archives/000695.html) or that girls are truly the Root of all Evil. homerthinkingAs the real Homer once said “Facts are meaningless.  You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true. ”

proof_that_girls_r_evilInstead, defining a game requires reason.  I think of it as my Big Lebowski Theorem (“This isn’t Nam, Donnie.  There are rules”).  Are there truly rules on which all people agree?  If yes, you’re in a game.  If not, then it is just play…or Nam.