sexta-feira, 1 de fevereiro de 2019

Why do you play games?

In the first post of this year, I want to share some content from the book I’m reading at the moment: Playing smart - on games, intelligence, and artificial intelligence by Julius Togelius. The author discusses many aspects on how games challenge us and what we can expect from games that use artificial intelligence in the near future.

One of the first points discussed by Togelius is about the question I already brought many times in this site: why do we play games? It’s not easy to answer (and we have many different views for this subject) but I think it’s essential to gather multiple points of view to create a more solid opinion.

Togelius launches the question: why do you play games? And starts his answer with a very interesting argument that most of the time we are playing games for many reasons but all the time – despite the game we are playing – we are doing an exercise of intense planning.

Below, I want to share this excellent content from his book and recommend the reading for all the followers of this site:

Why do you play games? To relax, have a good time, lose yourself a bit? Perhaps as a way of socializing with friends? Almost certainly not as some sort of brain exercise. But let’s look at what you are really doing: You plan. In Chess, you are planning for your victory by imagining a sequence of several moves that you will take to reach checkmate, or at least capture one of your opponent’s pieces. If you are any good, you are also taking your opponent’s countermoves into account and making contingency plans if they do not fall into your elaborately laid traps. In Super Mario Bros., you are planning wheter to take the higher path, which brings more reward but is riskier, or the safer lower path. You are also planning to venture down that pipe that might bring you to a hidden treasure chamber, or to continue past it, depending on how much time you have left and how eager you are to finish the level. You may be planning to eat the power-up that lets you get through that wall so you can lick a switch that releases a bean from which you can grow a beanstalk that lets you climb up to that cloud you want to get to. In Angry Birds you are planning where to throw each bird so as to achieve maximum destruction with the fewest birds. If you crush the ice wall with the blue bird, you can then hit that cavity with the black bomb bird, collapsing the main structure, and finish off that cowardly hiding pig with your red bird. (TOGELIUS, 2019, kindle edition – position 412)



TOGELIUS, Julius. Playing smart - on games, intelligence, and artificial intelligence. London: The MIT Press, 2019.