Conflict

Authored by: Marko Siitonen

The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533324
eBook ISBN: 9780203114261
Adobe ISBN: 9781136290510

10.4324/9780203114261.ch21

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Abstract

Imagine a game of musical chairs. A group of children is moving around a circle of chairs while music plays in the background. The music stops, and each participant tries to secure a chair as quickly as possible, using speed and agility to beat other players. In the end, one player is left without a chair, and consequently removed from the game. One chair is taken away so as to keep the number of chairs below the number of players, and the game continues. Now imagine the same scenario as before but with exactly as many chairs as there are participants. When the music plays, everyone paces leisurely, certain of having a chair to sit down on. And when the music stops, everyone simply sits down without having to compete for a seat for themselves. Unlike in the first version of the game, however, there is little sense in continuing this one past the initial round. Taking away the conflict embedded in the game essentially makes it a meaningless and, most importantly, boring activity.

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