Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Bet

I have this thing about observing games and play wherever I see it, and most importantly observing the people how they are acting and reacting. Like it always amuses me to see people buying lottery tickets. Recently I experienced an interesting sort of game. Recently a pair of my friends got married. Now, they dated in high school, but it definitely was not a continuous relationship since that time. Then again, even when they were apart all they really seemed to think about were each other, so who knows?

When faced with the sudden surprise announcement, after convincing us that it was not an April Fool's Joke, the other guys were of course conflicted. Would this work? How long will it last? The questions about the fate of these two hung in the back of our minds while we celebrated the beginning of the marriage process. Naturally, after those two left the rest of us started placing bets.

Basically we, three, each put down a bet. One bet that the marriage would last for a year or two before divorce, another bet between two and three years, and I optimistically bet three to four. If no one was right, all the money would go toward a party or something. We had talked about how much we wanted them work but our brains telling us that it wouldn't last. The other two reflected it seemed kind of cold to take bets on that. I firmly protested just because we act this way in the Magic Circle of a Game is not indicative of any lack of respect for two, on the contrary we wanted them to last! We all in fact wanted to lose!

That sent reverberations through my skull. A game we all wanted to lose. An interesting idea, no? It may or may not unique in that respect, especially with the way some people play certain drinking games, but it is certainly not common at all. It seems to come about when there is a cost outside of the game to winning. I'm not sure if that's the only time though. I'd have to think about that some more. The point is that I wonder if one can design a game to be like this. Some games are of course moddable so that this is an out come like a Vampire game where everyone takes the Flaw Dark Fate. Not that Vampire games are 'won' as such, but its close.

What would be more interesting was if the alternate endings in Wing Commander III, which were accessed by losing certain missions were somehow better. Like better ships at the end, or somehow more satisfying and less tragic.

I wonder what a game designed from the ground up to encourage losing would look like.