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a_soulless_automaton comments on Justified Expectation of Pleasant Surprises - Less Wrong

10 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 January 2009 07:26AM

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Comment author: a_soulless_automaton 15 January 2009 12:32:44PM 4 points [-]

Eliezer, so how do you account for chess being fun?

Also, I think you're failing to account for the fun of various forms of "metagaming". Among at least some players and in some games, a large amount of the enjoyment comes not from finding out about the skills, or acquiring them, or even using them--instead, it comes from planning and setting goals within the framework provided. When the enjoyment lies in the planning, I'm not convinced that the usual heuristic of "more choices = less fun" is applicable.

Note that this won't apply in cases where the resource is not limited (i.e., you can get every skill eventually) or when choices are not permanent (buying and selling equipment or items, instead of taking skills). Limited, irreplaceable resources combined with limited information is what will lead to the agonizing Emile mentioned, at least in my own experience.

As a matter of comparison, look at something like Magic: The Gathering, where you have three levels of abstraction in play: 1) The game -- drawing and playing cards, beating your opponent. 2) A solo meta-game -- planning your deck 3) A competitive meta-game -- figuring out what other players' decks look like ...and the first level is always the least important, and the third is the most important in tournament play.

Note that this combines very high surprise value in the most immediate level with no surprises and total, perfect information in the second.