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Sun Tzu on the Art of War and the Video Game

When video games only pitted you against the computer, Sun Tzu had limited application as far as how you could improve your play.  Why?  You cannot deceive a game computer.

The applicability of Sun Tzu changes dramatically in video games that pit you against another player.  When you are pitted against a thinking person, such factors as deception and initiative determine whether you win or lose.  All things being otherwise equal, players that can understand and apply Sun Tzu will have an advantage over players that can or do not.

Game designers also have a lot to learn from Sun Tzu.  Sun Tzu derived his work from real life human competition.  A game that mirrors experiences from real life to the game world should:

  • Provide advantages for those who can win with their forces and their objective intact

  • Provide advantages for those that can lead effectively

  • Allow for deception

  • Allow for the advantage of finding paths of low resistance

  • Provide advantages to those who make effective and efficient use of resources

  • Provide advantages to those who can control the initiative

If a game does not allow for these, somehow it just won't feel right.



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