Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fightin' Words

Games come in two flavors: adversarial and non-adversarial. The former is for players that play to win-- which leaves me to assume the latter is for players that play to lose. This is why players of that type are widely known as "losers" (though the terms "carebear," "fast techer," or "Vagina" are also popular).

The actual interactions between two adversaries in a game vary:
  • Boxing, Wrestling
    • Absolute competition-- the opponent is the game's presented obstacle.
  • Football, Basketball, Soccer
    • Direct competition-- a player's performance can be impeded by another player's.

  • Tennis, Volleyball, Billiards
    • Indirect competition-- one player cannot directly affect his opponent's performance.
  • Track and Field, Swimming, Bowling
    • Artificial competition-- the game is playable without an opponent.
So what about video games? In Soul Calibur, the two players press buttons until some condition is met and one player is declared the winner. Their act of playing (pressing buttons) are completely separated, so it must be artificial competition.

One step further. In Soul Calibur, players control avatars that execute attacks in order to kill each other. Play from one player can be directly defended against (blocked, dodged, interrupted) by play from the opponent, so this must be direct competition.

Little bit deeper. In Soul Calibur, Taki blocks Amy's 66A, leaving Amy with 5 frames of advantage. Since Taki's fastest attack (A) would impact in 10+5 frames and Amy's fastest attack (6B) impacts in 11, it is now Amy's turn to attack. Amy attacks with 3BA, which Taki blocks, leaving Taki with 11 frames of advantage. It is then Taki's initiative. Since these players are taking turns playing, this must be indirect competition.

The main difference between video games and sports is the physical barrier of entry-- there are very few people in the world that can serve a tennis ball at 140 miles per hour, but anyone with fingers will be able to press the buttons to score Taki's A+K, B+G air throw. But since the difference between the elite and the newbies is so relatively small, it is curious that the game play of video games changes so drastically based solely on the level of competition.

And this is not even considering the advent of artificial intelligence...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kimchi Squat

"Physical strength is the most important thing in life. This is true whether we want it to be or not... A weak man is not as happy as that same man would be if he were strong. This reality is offensive to some people who would like the intellectual or spiritual to take precedence. It is instructive to see what happens to these very people as their squat strength goes up."
Mark Rippetoe (Starting Strength)
Speaking as a man who recently doubled his squat strength, I think Mark might be on to something here. He sounds like a bit of an extremist, but any person whose name includes "Ripped" is allowed to be passionate about weight training as far as I'm concerned.
7:37:46 PM gogogogogogoseb: i bought a weightlifting book
7:37:56 PM batoutofhell6: haha thats silly
7:38:01 PM batoutofhell6: yet awesome