How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.Romans 10:14-17
I saw a video of a robot playing Settlers of Catan recently and it made me think. I enjoy playing board games on my phone against AI opponents, but how would that change if the AI was in front of you? What motivates AI in the game? Winning? The word “winning” is a full word, and means lots of things to lots of folks. It made me think of the broader implications of a robot gamer: why do I play games?
I play games for the diversion. “Diversion” comes from the Latin divertere which means “to turn aside or away.” So, when I play games, I play to veer away from the normal life. “The normal life” isn’t a bad thing. I live a happy and easy life. Even with all my comforts, a break is necessary, and I use games to fill that time. I don’t play to win. I don’t play to become good. I play to play. I also enjoy the time spent with family and friends. I also play for the intellectual challenge and exercise. There is something about learning a complex game and playing it well. When “playing it well” starts to mix with “playing it better,” I begin to lose interest. I’m alway striving to be better at my job, my marriage, and my family. I don’t want to be better at games. I only want to play them.
That is a human thing. A robot can’t play to “just play.” I suppose you could program a computer to make random plays to progress the game rather than win. Its purpose is still derived from its program. I can’t “just play.”
There are many who can’t define a game outside of the need to win it. In that way, I see a continuum. One extreme is the “just play” motivation. The other is the “must win.” Most folks land along that path.
Are there other motivations? Is this too linear? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
After an extended break, I’m ready to write again.
I thought a lot about my blog and it’s scope after the last month. I decided that while I love to write and talk about games, I also like to write and talk about other things. I saw this blog as a way to begin a discussion about family gaming and some of my own designs. Now, I see it as a way for me to reflect on my gaming experiences as well as other experiences I have.
Every blogger has to come to the place where they realize their blog isn’t going to become the next great blog. I wasn’t naive, but I was hoping to gain a bit more steam for a particular concept. Now I see that hope may be a pipe dream. I want to broaden my scope to consider other “hobbies” of mine: theology and teaching.
My mind is always racing. That doesn’t make me different. My particular bent on the things listed above does though. I often see the three things – games, theology, and teaching – coming together. There is something very pleasing about teaching a new game. There is also something very please about teaching theology. While theology isn’t always game-worth, good games reflect creativity. That creativity comes from a Creator.
While I’ll still write about my thoughts on games and family, I’ll now be adding other things to the mix.
Any of you Christian gamers? Christian teachers? Gaming teachers?