The meaning behind games...

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Cody Cunningham
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The meaning behind games...

Postby Cody Cunningham » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:23 pm

I am a recent reader of Ender’s Game and thought it was awesome. At times the book was really hard to put down, but for the sake of sleep and work I had too. I have read this book as a part of a Science Fiction class I am involved in at the University of Minnesota Duluth and would like to comment on what I feel is a major theme from the book. This symbol is right in the title; a Game. Essentially the entire book is based around a series of games. Each is unique and has its own obstacles, but Ender seems to win them all either by his action or inaction in some cases. The only game Ender does not seem to win is the first one he plays with Peter, but in every game thereafter he seems to win.

In this book Ender plays in three types of games. The first type of game Ender partakes in is while he is at Battle School.; It’s called the mind game. This game he plays on his computer and is a bit out there in my eyes. It’s a game that gathers information for anywhere and its creators don’t even know where it will end. While playing this game Ender is able to gain insight into to what is going on in his real life. Another kind of game Ender experiences are the ones in the battle room. These games are everything to the students or launchies rather of the battle school. In this respect the meaning of a game shifts from a fun experience to a serious and necessary part of training.

The last kind of game Ender plays is the one where he is the commander of the third invasion, although this turns out not to be a game but actual reality. I guess where I am going with this is I think Card, the books author is commenting on the games we all play. There are those we play for fun, those we take seriously and for sport, and the game of life. He also might be commenting on how people play games as well. Some play games for fun, some people take games way to seriously, and yet others think of life as a game. Anyone else think Card might be commenting on games this way?

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Postby lyons24000 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:37 pm

This will be in the "Enderverse" forum before tomorrow night...unless, of course, a moderator decides to just be hateful! :P
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Postby RoseCrowned » Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:46 pm

ah...the mind game...

sounds like you need to keep reading the series :]

Games seem to run throughout the other books too.... but it may be an observation on peoples behaviors...mind games and such.......which in turn would mean Im agreeing with you.....

hm...
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Postby Gravity Defier » Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:09 pm

Yes, people do like to play games-mentally, with each other. You see this more in dating, but I think it applies to how the adults treated Ender outside of the battleroom. Constantly lying and manipulating him through isolation and such, with toons and battles being the tools they used to achieve this whole different type of non-computerized mind game. "If we mess with him this way, will he snap? How do we keep it balanced enough to turn him into a tool that also utilizes his greatest (human) gift of understanding his enemy?"

He may have beaten the Mind Game, won in the battleroom, and done what he did in the end, but I'd say both sides lost the game he'd been playing with the adults the whole way through, by the end of EG; the adults because they damaged a good kid and Ender because he was damaged. But that's war, right?

(Did that make any sense?)
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Postby RoseCrowned » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:25 pm

Very much so.... :D

I never thought of it as everyones loss.... but I see that it is...

:]
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Postby visual novel » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:24 am

Yes, people do like to play games-mentally, with each other. You see this more in dating, but I think it applies to how the adults treated Ender outside of the battleroom. Constantly lying and manipulating him through isolation and such, with toons and battles being the tools they used to achieve this whole different type of non-computerized mind game. "If we mess with him this way, will he snap? How do we keep it balanced enough to turn him into a tool that also utilizes his greatest (human) gift of understanding his enemy?"

He may have beaten the Mind Game, won in the battleroom, and done what he did in the end, but I'd say both sides lost the game he'd been playing with the adults the whole way through, by the end of EG; the adults because they damaged a good kid and Ender because he was damaged. But that's war, right?

(Did that make any sense?)

I agree that the games extend beyond just the literal games that Ender plays. The title of the book itself implies that there is one game in particular that is tantamount to the others: Ender’s game of balancing his duty, his brutality and his desire to win with his compassionate humanity. In the end I don’t believe Ender has lost or won- he continues to play and I suppose that’s why there are so many sequels. I haven’t read the sequels but I do know that Bean plays a prominent role in at least one of them: does Bean have to play the same balancing act game that Ender does? Are they the same kind of genius, or is Bean more pure?

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Postby Quack » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:39 pm

Yeah. The game is such a potent metaphor right now! You might enjoy Gamer Theory by McKenzie Wark. He basically uses the persona of the gamer to describe the individual's existence and navigation through the current cosmographies of the status quo. It's a bit of a manifesto, but he just throws some cool bones to chew on. Some things that are past due for the grokking. Especially in light of all the work that's being done in cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, and human ecology... game theory is a huge asset to us.
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Postby theevilpplz » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:30 pm

I haven't read the sequels but I do know that Bean plays a prominent role in at least one of them: does Bean have to play the same balancing act game that Ender does? Are they the same kind of genius, or is Bean more pure?
Bean does not participate in the sequels. The only sequel is Xenocide to Children of the Mind. And OSC himself said it wasn't technically a sequel. The only series Bean plays a prominent role in, is the Shadow Series. And that is more of a parallel series, and it can be read wholly on it's own.
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