The Normative Reasoning Behind Winning
So yesterday I started thinking about the basic mechanics of gaming and I struck a sort of philosophical quandary. What's up with winning?
I realize a game cannot be categorized as such without this core component, but why exactly is that? First off, I don't have a problem with winning or losing. In fact if a game is nice and close and I lose by a small margin or stroke of misfortune in the endgame, I really could care less. As long as the game was entertaining enough to draw and maintain my attention for a period of time and deliver some tension, I’m a happy camper. If I win, it's just icing on the cake. I think the only time I really hate losing is when it's by direct cause of a blowout on luck for one player. Losing horribly because someone had a perfect hand of cards or not being able to compete because you didn't get any beneficial resources by random draw is frustrating and counterproductive to the spirit of gaming in the first place. The few times that I’ve really gotten pissed off at a game; there was a correlation directly proportional to my level of exhaustion, anxiety, or lack of luck.
To get rid of winning though is to either make the event co-op against the game itself or noncompetitive in its entirety. As many designers and players have seen, this is not an easy task to render effectively, if at all. The simplest answer is that art mimics life, and in life there are either winners, losers, or people caught in between. So what is a game without winning? Is it a game at all?