Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Perfect Game

No, I’m not talking about bowling, although scoring a 300 is a remarkable feat that should be remembered in the annals of alley walls-of-fame forever. No, I’m talking about the game that is completely without flaw. Now, it’s completely impossible to craft a game that everyone likes seeing as personal opinion and preferences are so drastically varied from one individual to the next, so my definition of perfect is a game that has no visible, universally agreed-upon flaws. And yes, such a game does exist.

In fact, there are a couple of games out there that are arguably perfect. For instance, Tetris is often considered the perfect video game. Its simplicity is a great vehicle for a game that is well balanced and accessible to both hardcore arcade junkies and casual anti-gamers. Beyond that, the game starts off easily and ramps up at a curve that ensures that almost no one is left with a poor session of Tetris, depending on their expectations. Add in the fact that the most releases of Tetris don’t have any graphical glitches or annoying performance quirks and you’ve got the perfect video game.

But there is one game that has an even greater impact and is even (impossibly) more perfect than Tetris:


Chess was originally designed as a 6th century game in India and even in its earliest forms involved multiple types of pieces each with varying abilities, just like the chess we know today. While a couple of alterations have been made in the game since its first inception, such as changing the names of the pieces as the game was translated into new languages, modern chess is very similar to the original game.

The fact that it has survived 1,500 years is a marvel in itself, but the arguments for perfection go even deeper.

For instance, chess is entirely multiplayer so the difficulty is dependant on your opponent and since each piece has its own movement style, there are a near infinite number of possible ways a game could pan out. Which can’t be said about other simple tabletop games like checkers or tic-tac-toe.

This allows each game to be its own unique experience and facilitates quick thinking and variable play styles to reach success.

While plenty of people don’t care for chess, it is simply a matter of personal preference. A flaw that one person might see in the game could be another’s strength, while imperfect games have problems that offend everyone universally, like long load times or texture pop.

If you think my assertion is incorrect in any way, feel free to verbally assault me in the comments below. It’s okay, I’m used to it.

-That Guy

PS: The one reason I actually like Vista over XP is Chess Titans.

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