Game Survival?

What is the nature of competition in your game/play? Do you reward survival of the fittest or the most co-operative?

Sentimental co-operation

The Darwinian concept of the 'survival of the fittest' is a common game strategy. It has been used to support aggresive conflict and unchecked captialism. As war in the middle east unfolds, it seems obvious that military might causes rather than resolves conflict.

Many of the works in Game/Play allude to another paradigm - where fitness can be described in terms of learning, collaboration and humour. Tamagotchi's are a simulation of 'care'. But how do we prevent these characteristics from becoming sentimental and insular, and therefore ignored.

RE:Sentimental co-operation

Hi Ele,

>The Darwinian concept of the 'survival of the fittest'
>is a common game strategy.

With the American administration's canny exploitation of religion, as well as its administration rabidly promoting 'creationism' to further its control over its civilian's conscience. The term 'Survival of the fittest' takes an ironic twist. The teachings of Darwin's' evidence that species originated through evolutionary change, is being contested by those who rule.

Creationism, also known as 'Intelligent Design' is being put into USA schooling system's curricula, in addition to the study of evolution, or rather as an alternative to Charles Darwin's studies on evolution - which is considered generally as a cornerstone of biology.

>It has been used to support aggresive conflict and
unchecked captialism.
>As war in the middle east unfolds, it seems obvious
>that military might causes rather than resolves conflict.

The traditional and well versed pattern of good and evil, has always been played out by heads of states, generals, rulers and polititians. This binary function of viewing each side as opposites serves the elites well, either side. "evil people are often destructive because they are trying to destroy evil. Instead of destroying others they should be destroying the sickness within themselves." (People of the Lie, author M. Scott Peck). This paradox is similar to Jung's observation that "a so-called good to which we succumb losesTime also curses the joys of discovery. its ethical character," meaning that we paradoxically facilitate evil when we become one-sided, when we believe our group is on the side of goodness and virtue.

I remember in my childhood, playing cowboys and indians - most of the boys would want to be the cowboys and the girls would be by default made to be indians. Not only this, young black kids would also be shoved into the Indian team. The movies that we were watching at that time in the very early seventies, would be the old black and white films featuring John Wayne as the rugged killer of the evil (other) and weak, whilst the pure American cowboy race were seen as vanguard and right. The stereotypical role models that we acted out, in such games of play, when we were younger used to vent out childish agressions, are not much different to the usual 'shoot em up' war games now. The simplicity of abiding by binary rules that there is no in between, declares a lack of subjective and contextual reasoning. Of course, there has been a shift for a while in games where you can also be a villian, such as 'Grand Theft Auto', which offers an alternate paradigm via violence, yet still introduces the notion that killing is a winning formula - head counts mean prizes.

Yet, dwelling on whether violence is the key may be a diversion and perhaps spectacle ridden. If we were to ask questions (as to what Ele aluded to) in respect of the dynamics of competition, as in 'winners and losers', which is what much of our capitalist orientated society is based on - which shifts closer to notions around the 'Survival of the fittest'.

"It is no longer enough to experiment, ponder serendipitously, discover. There is a crushing competitive pressure to be first with a formula, a method, a product. The first to publish may get a Nobel award; the first in the market makes the most gain. We are in the age of the short-cut, corporate espionage and falsified results — because of competition. As in a foot race, only the one coming in first qualifies; the others are losers. A culture that promotes winners gets more and more losers." James Hillman - The Virtues of Caution.

So, if we agree that it is productive to, bypass the binary-behaviourial trap of the 'winners and losers' syndrome. To engage and be more aware of contextual relations in regard to our actions and experiences; in creating and supporting circumstances of social play and shared collaborations that offer more deeper elements, other than 'a to b' dynamics, that rush forward in swift (usually) ignorant motion. Alternative visions and vistas become more apparant, proposing different ingredients of thought and processes, that give us agency beyond the mannerist repetitive loop of 'winners and losers'.

"From the idea that the self is not given to us, I think that there is only one practical consequence--we have to create ourselves as a work of art." --Michel Foucault.

>What is the nature of competition in your game/play? Do you reward survival of the fittest or the most co-operative?

"Initially living processes discover better adaptations by trial and error. They find out what behaviours are effective by trying them out in practice. But eventually organisms will evolve the capacity to form mental representations of their environment and of the impact of alternative behaviours. This enables them to foresee how their environment will respond to their actions. Rather than try out alternative behaviours in practice, they can now test them mentally. They begin to understand how their world works, and how it can be manipulated to achieve their adaptive goals." Evolution's Arrow - The direction of evolution and the future of humanity. John Stewart.

In the context of our online, networked and real-time platform 'VisitorsStudio', co-operation and collaboration is one the most important factors in allowing its culture to flourish more creatively. In time, after working with so many different people on the project, we have learned that an instinct occurs, a natural behaviour that situationally introduces a fluidity, enhancing a creative dialogue - instantly. What also builds a stronger sense of fusion and occassion is that the experienced in making is shared immediately, and negoatiating happens out of and through this. Another interesting aspect is that, it proposes just by its nature that, collaboration in making art together can be equally as poignant as any artwork created by an individual. Thus break down the assumed notion of singular (ego centred) creativity. THis is of course 'Not death of the author', but more a imaginative representation of many authors at once, mutated and hybridized. It educates, not in the traditional sense, but in respect of how people behave when working live, online whilst going through the process of creativing with others mutually.

"In VS large numbers of participants can theoretically call up large numbers of media clips, creating a potentially competitive media performance. In this writer's experience, the converse is the case, in that performers often confer about content; who will 'VS' with whom at what time, mainly as the other observers have not wanted to miss what the other performers are going to do. So, in considering the culture that the VS creates, it is reminiscent of elements of DJ, hip-hop, and rave culture, creating a community of interaction/ performance through the remixing of cultural signifiers." Patrick Lichty -