How Video Games Involve Science and Technology
“There’s no such thing as a stupid question,” goes the immortal saying, “and there’s no such thing as a stupid play.” A game is basically a structured form of interactive play, normally undertaken for fun or entertainment, and at times also used as an educational tool. Games are different from work, which obviously is usually done for remuneration; and from literature, which is more usually an expression of specific aesthetic or political elements. In the case of a game, one uses a limited number of skills and strategic thinking to solve problems.
A simple example of a prison game can be described using simple game theory as the process of competing to produce the longest sequence of correct answers to questions posed by a game show producer. Each contestant is asked a series of questions relating to a problem, such as “How many cars should a prisoner transport from prison to the electric factory?” Answers are displayed on the screen and are then judged by the production staff. The last person standing wins.
Non-cooperative games are a subcategory of cooperative games, where all players have a common goal but are unable to coordinate their actions to this common goal. For example, two players are playing a game of chess. One player is perfectly aware of the fact that his opponent is keeping him from advancing to the next stage of the game. The player who is “not at ease” with his position does not know how to make the most of his time, and is therefore unable to come up with any creative moves. This person is in a difficult position and is seeking a way to win, while the other player is content to play at a lower level.
Prisoners is a classic example of a non-cooperative game and the Prisoners’ dilemma is the game theory used to explain this phenomenon. In the Prisoners’ dilemma, all players are aware of the existence of a secret weapon, called the “prisoner”, which can be used against all players, if they are discovered. The more people you let capture the prison, the easier it becomes to get all the prisoners back. Thus, all players are seeking a way to win, without letting any prisoners escape.
A variation of the prisoners’ dilemma is called the “nash equilibrium”. In this version, all players are aware of the presence of a double player, called the “enemy”. If either player captures the double, that player will lose his last life. The Nash equilibrium states that all players are seeking a solution where there is a balance between efficiency and risk/reward. The “enemy” is the one who is responsible for keeping you from attaining your goal.
Creative players contribute towards the success of a game. This idea underpins the idea that gaming, art and science are combined in Video Games. In Bioshock and Far Cry 3, the art and science incorporated were revolutionary, allowing these games to become some of the most influential video games of their decade. It is interesting to note that science and technology were not involved in the creation of these games; in fact, Michael Abrash actually stated that combining art and science was a tough challenge.
Charles Mandarikoff is often credited as the genius behind the design of Solitaire. His famous word-searching game allowed users to whittle down an enormous amount of possibilities to just two, making it possible for the game to remain exciting and memorable. Mandarikoff’s expertise lies in exploiting the randomness of casino cards and the logic of CO-DEPS. The game theory underlying Solitaire, as well as all other card games, is the same.
In the beginning, computer games were controlled by memory. Now, with the help of chip and CPU, video games are entirely controlled by a central processing unit or CPU. The CPU is responsible for all aspects of gameplay, including the visual display, sound, touch screen, video output, input, as well as co-ordination. Gamers are now able to interact with not only one another but with the game’s virtual world. Gamers can literally have a digital assistant in the form of a mouse. The possibilities for video gaming is limitless, allowing both entertainment and education for millions of people around the world.