why do human beings play games? what is it we are doing when were playing games?

this question is very important to me

because i have spent a good deal of my life playing games… growing up playing games… as an adult playing games and writing aboutit over the internet

and i want to know what it is were doing when were playing games… because like every other human i want to know what im doing. my purporse, contribution, whatever.

so my story of gamingT.Woo.Blog01

i started playing magic the gathering. its a card game. when i was 5. nearly 20 years ago. its been most of my life and most of what ive done is play this game.

this game that ive played, magic the gathering. is like a role play between powerful wizards on wild epic landscapes, dueling summoning powerful fantasy creatures and fighting with wizard spells

its a fantasy game and thats not for everyone, but its similar to a game.. chess. a duel.

most of you are familiar with chess.

imagine a chess board. 8 by 8. 16 pieces each 8 pawns, 2 castles, 2 bishops, 2 horses, a queen and a king

thats fixed in

and this game has entertained humans for 1500 years

now take this game magic the gathering

its like chess but instead of 16 fixed pieces, we get to PICK out of TEN THOUSAND options

all these cards interact and connect in various ways that are hard to explain, but mathematical. there are rules. and theres this huge evolving system of cards and we have to navigate to choose our starting pieces

you could spend a lot of time thinking about how to configure the board and thats mostly what ive done. before even playing games.

and for me, its made my life a lot easier. i was lucky to get this game for sure. it made school easy because i learned all the words ahead of time and did all the math ahead of time… school was easy. so i had moer time to work in high school if i wanted to do that.

and i found that my early jobs were very easy, because no employer could entrust me with anything that complicated as what i was doing in my free time

so, in my lifetime of gaming, i wonder what i have been doing

ive been making connections. between cards. ive been making connections. between ideas. ive been making connections with other humans.

playing games connects us. it brings our ideas together. it brings us together. so. i feel good as a gamer, that i am doing something productive, i am providing worth to the humans.

so, for all of you, i encourage you to keep your minds young and keep playing games! to play games with your friends, family.

why do we play games?

because its good for us!


My TEDx talk is about playing games. It is the story of me, the card game kid, now adult traveling game blogger.

Us humans, we often question our purpose in life, and many of us draw a line between “work” and “play”. So where does playing games fit into this? Is playing games a productive use of time? Can it be a worthwhile life pursuit? Is it a fulfilling option for adults?

I think so.

Specifically I want to share the idea of the game Magic: the Gathering with you. This is a card game I started playing as a 5 year old for fun, and a game I play as a 24 year old for fun… and work.



On the surface the game is a roleplay of a duel between powerful “planeswalking” wizards who have various monsters to summon and spells to attack and defend. But the game is an incredibly deep and complex system that offers countless colorful creative expressions.

Imagine a chessboard with chess pieces.


But imagine you get to choose your own pieces. Instead of 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops, 1 queen, and 1 king, imagine we have TEN THOUSAND pieces to choose from.

TEN THOUSAND pieces to choose from that configure and combine and synergize in multiplicative and exponential ways.

It gets deeper.

Instead of a black and white checkered board imagine a colorful landscape of your own design. Imagine unlimited options of configuring your board to go along with unlimited options of pieces.


The game itself, the duel, or whatever, is okay. But the deck configuration aspect of the game really has nothing in the world like it.

There are so many options of cards, building blocks, that combine and attach in extra dimensions like metaphysical legos, that learning to mentally navigate this system seems to make most things in the real world easy.

School became easy for me- I already knew the words from the cards, I already knew the math from the combination of cards. Work became easy for me because no jobs entrusted me with anything so complex.

It seems that the ability to make connections in this game fosters the ability to make connections in life.

So here I am now, having obsessed over this game at an early age, now still obsessed. At this point in life, my contribution as a human to humanity is through configuring combinations in this system, “Magic: the Gathering” and sharing what I find.

That’s my story, and my perspective on gaming, on life purpose, is that whatever you want to be productive is productive. If we question the purpose of our lives we can ascribe purpose to our lives.

My life’s work, my purpose?

To play games.

What’s yours?

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