One of the principle ways for biologists to see which species are intelligent is to judge how they have fun. Whales play with dolphins by launching their cousins off their backs and into the ocean in a similar way that an adult launches a child of their shoulders into a pool.
We often hold games to a lower standard, as though they are cheap and not valuable. The truth is, games and entertainment can many times be some of our most complex inventions.
While certainly things like tag and hide and seek are fairly basic, throughout history we have created more and more complex and interesting games. The Pharaohs used to play a game similar to bowling, the ancient Maya used to play a game that may have evolved to be soccer, and the Greeks and Romans popularized the mass sporting with their coliseums and Olympics. Even as those can somewhat seem basic, consider that for bowling both pins and a ball had to be developed likely being some of the very first editions of such tools. Per the Maya, rubber had to be discovered in such a way that the players could use it, and the temple-like edifices that those cultures played in were exceptionally difficult to construct, yet they did it for their games. The Romans and Greeks still today have their stadiums which were made in service of their entertainment, which millions go to visit today.
The modern day is no less complex. In a previous post, I mentioned that our games have grown extremely with today the very size of some games exceeding our own planet by many multiples. In so far as complexity, we have generated games, and industries in service of those games, that serve millions. We make games that connect people from China to New York City, we make games that require practical supercomputers to run, and we make games with such elaborate technology, that those who developed the game did not know the full capacities of what the game could do. Famously, the creator of Pac man never saw the last level, and there are multiple digital games who’s glitches and flaws have led to the players making phenomenal discovers and developing extremely unique techniques.
Today with VR, we border on creating a practical matrix for our own enjoyment. Whosoever says games are for children, or that they are a waste of time, our massive industries, and massive investments into entertainment both historically and modernly prove them wrong.
Until next time,