Re: virus: Faith and Reason

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Tue, 9 Mar 1999 15:49:11 -0800 (PST)

On Tue, 9 Mar 1999, David McFadzean wrote:

> At 10:59 AM 3/9/99 -0800, KMO wrote:
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Why is it that people habitually think of "games" as zero-sum?
> >
> >Because our language encourages us to polarize all of our concepts?
> There is a simpler answer: the vast majority of games that are
> recognized as games are zero-sum. The one exception that comes to
> mind, role-playing games, I played for a decade without knowing
> that it is a non-zero-sum game (at least not by that name).

"games that are recognized as games" is an odd category. Children play non-zero-sum games all the time. The only one I can I can think of at the moment that has a recognized name is "House". But even "Cops & Robbers", while nominally competitive, involves at least as much cooperation in the theatrical endeavor as it does competition between the assigned sides. As you say, role-playing games.