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12:52am 23/07/2007
You know what my favorite stereotype is? It's the one about people who play games and take them very, very seriously. Games like Magic, and Chess, and Scrabble, and such. I don't mean people who play them strictly for fun, I mean the kind of people who define themselves by their gaming abilities. The stereotype is that they are all geeky weirdos who lack social skills. Well you know what, it's mostly true. What I think is amusing is why it is so true.
It should be no surprise that anti-social personality types tend to dominate this demographic. You know why? It all comes down to rules. There are rules in games. Everything about a game revolves around a strict and unbreakable code of rules. The rules define the game. The rules cannot be broken for the simple reason that they are the game. Everyone who who chooses to play the game has to agree to accept the same set of rules.
Life is completely different. There are no rules in life. There are laws but there are also penalties for breaking the laws. This simple fact means that the laws can be broken. They are optional as long as you are willing to pay the price for breaking them.
This auspicious lack of real, true rules in life, means that anyone can do anything. To a gamer this isn't fair. Life, after all isn't fair, and that in and of itself isn't fair. Games are fair and the idea of fairness is exactly what appeals to the players. Anti social personality types have to deal with the unfairness of life. Being nice to someone doesn't always mean they will be nice back. Honesty doesn't always pay off. You can do the right thing and still lose out.
The closest thing we have to rules is morality but everyone's rules are different in that case. People base their morality not on objective rules, or a universal set of values. Instead a person's morality is based on what the person values and what they usually value is the things they are good at. A person who has lots of close friends will value friendship over everything. A person who excels at making money values money and the ability to make it. A person with ambition defines success as having power. Each of these choices leads a person to a different morality and firther ruins the idea that everyone will one day play by the same rules.
People with good social skills realize this and are capable of seeing others for what they are. They understand that rules aren't definite but they have the ability to play by different rules for different situations. Anti social people can't make these kinds of adjustments and are then forced to suffer at the unfair nature of life.
Good games remove unfairness from the equation. Everyone starts out the same and everyone has to value the same things as everyone else. After all, rules are rules.

Thanks for reading this far. This is just a long and intense thought that came to me while playing solitaire. I will write a real essay about this one of these days but I needed to get the idea down for posterity.
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