Reading Notes #2

1) Twister


A spinner lands randomly on 1, 2, 3, or 4, in relation to color (red, yellow, green, blue) or body part (right or left hand, right or left leg). There are an equal number of 1, 2, 3, and 4, on the game mat. Randomness determines the combination of limb and color. As game continues, and each player has to put more and more limbs on the mat, the convenience of options lessens. Instead of say, 10 yellows, which all seem convenient and comfortable, there are 2 which are ideal, because more people have blocked, or taken them up.


During each player’s turn, a spinner is spun to match limb (right hand, left hand, right leg, left leg) and color (red, blue, yellow, green). Depending on the chosen combination (say: blue left leg), player has to position said limb on the appropriate color space. In the beginning of the game, before all players have fully integrated their physical selves onto the mat, there are many available choices. As more players enter the mat, with more and more limbs connected to the mat, less and less options are available, due to other people blocking them, by either placing their own limbs on a spot, or by simply blocking the way to that spot. Losing one’s balance, or losing contact with one’s designated color spot disqualifies one from the game.


One cannot take breaks, or have a friend use their limb for their designated color spot. Everyone has to use the same spinner. All players have to play their turn on the same mat.

2) I agree that a degree of randomness makes a game more compelling or exciting. I think that part of the magic of a game is that it brings up, or exacerbates, or heightens real life social (or otherwise) mechanics. Perception of too much or too little randomness – this depends on the intended effect of the game; if part of the message/theme of one’s game is a feeling of chaos, then they might want to heighten that. However, there should always be some relationship between a player’s actions, within a game, and a general effect, otherwise there is no point in directly participating.


Positive Feedback Loop:

When a person is about to freeze to death, their body simulates a feeling of comfort and warmth, and an intense desire to sleep, which grows only more and more intense until they submit and die.

Negative Feedback Loop:

When someone is sleep deprived, the body makes them crave sleep, until they finally get a decent night’s sleep/sleep in, and then they are no longer tired, as well as having their sleep cycle restored.


Saddle Point:
In a game, there is one clear path to victory, which both players are aware of and seek, reducing investment in, and acknowledgment of, the game and its carefully crafted systems.

Prisoner’s Dilemma:
A simulation in which two prisoners, who cannot communicate with each other, have the opportunity to rat the other out, or not say anything at all, in accordance with a deal offered them by the authorities. Turning in the other person gives each respective prisoner a shorter sentence, unless both turn the other person in, which nulls the deal. The prisoners have to consider both their own decision, in regard to personal welfare, and the perceived probability of the other prisoner’s action. Both are rational and will probably choose the same thing.

Zero Sum Game:
A game with a clear single winner, and single loser, where the win occurs directly at the expense of the other player, i.e a win because the other person loses. A direct relationship between the win and the loss.