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Started by droqen, April 21, 2023, 10:07:42 AM

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I've been sick for over a week, and it's terrible. I haven't been able to gather my focus or recover my energy enough to do the things I tell myself I ought to do, so I've spent a considerable amount of time doing everything I suppose I ought not do, but want to do anyway. And, specifically, I've found myself thinking about why I do anything -- why do I make games, for instance?

Some part of it is certainly for 'getting' some reward. Not points, because points are made-up reward-substitutes into which we opt for the sake of a game, but say, attention, or money, or something like that.

But even stripped of all these things, making games is one of these things that I "want to get points for". Oh, I should quickly give some context for that quote before I continue:

~ The Well-Played Game, "What do we want to get points for?" (P69)

Bernie DeKoven here explores the purpose of points, of keeping score, in the context of the well-played game. The arbitrary and designable nature of points allows us to reward the right things, to control the direction(s) in which we are steered, in contexts where points are usable, and used.


Prior to happening upon "What do we want to get points for?" I was thinking about this using a metaphor of language -- of SPEAKERS and LISTENERS (and of course listeners become speakers-in-response, responders, but let's not get caught up in that yet). Supposing that every action, every human act, is an act of speech in some language, there are many things I'd like to say, many things I would enjoy saying -- once, a hundred times, to someone specific, to anyone or anything at all.

"What do we want to get points for?"

"What do we want to be heard saying?"

DeKoven primarily discusses multiplayer games, games in social contexts. It is telling that he does not ask "What do you want to get points for?" but "What do we want to get points for?" He describes tennis, a two-player game.

Getting points for something or being listened to do nothing on their own but belong to a context of nonisolation, of social relevance, of proof of life and existence.

I get points, therefore I am.


There are many ways to get 'points' in this world.

The well-played game is not about getting points, but it is also not about understanding exactly what it is that you want to do, what it is that is the most fun, and doing it; getting points is part of what it means to play well. Points not as an abstract number without meaning, but points as a number used to measure common values, shared feelings, human desires.

What do we want to do, and value, together?