Why I don't play strategy games

As you know, I've tried (in vain) to give Second Life a shot. Which is curious because I was never really interested in those popular strategy and simulation games, which are not so far away from Second Life, you might think. So why is that?

The reason for that uncharacteristic lack of curiosity is that I think those games are terminally boring; they can be played in single player mode, which presupposes a defined set of algorithms within which the parameters of the game are set. These algorithms probably do not allow for evolutionary change of conditions, which is the domain of real life. Hence these games will only happen within the limits of the parametric equations that the developers could think of, however creatively this fact will be disguised. Incorporating other human players into the game does not fundamentally change that characteristic since they also will be subject to the same parameters. In fact, I wonder whether other human players are distinguishable from random robots - what was the name of that test again??

Whilst there is no way (yet?) that Second Life can get around some parametric limitations of a virtual reality, the available degree of creativity seems to be of a different order, so that it appears to be a better approximation of reality. That's why I was interested in it. Ironically, the proof of the pudding is not available to me because of a stupid video card incompatibility ...


Joel said...

Interesting post, Chris. If I think of the games that I've enjoyed playing in the past, they've tended to be problem solving (such as the Myst series) or task based (which is a polite way of describing the seminal N64 game Goldeneye). Or shooting friends. I've yet to try on-line gaming, but hear it's extremely popular because of the human interaction.

And then consider the extremely popular Sims franchise.

If you do enjoy strategic games in virtual worlds, why not play with someone else's money and manage a hedge fund?

Chris said...

Shooting friends and human interaction? Hmm ... ;)

This may be fun if the people you shoot are in the same room with you, or connected by some other means so that the Turing test may be completed successfully. But otherwise?

Ah, hedge funds! Now that's an entirely different ballgame, which I wouldn't call "virtual" reality anymore - that's the real world, my friend!