Monday, 26 March 2012

Paper - Repurposing an old game for an international world

Hofstede, G.J. & Tipton Murff, E.J., 2011. Repurposing an Old Game for an International World. Simulation & Gaming, 43(1), p.34-50. Available at: [Accessed March 16, 2012].

The authors used a simulation game called "So long sucker" within a course with an even split of Taiwanese and American students. This is a pretty qualitative look at what happened.

SO LONG SUCKER was apparently written (by an American design team) in such a way that the only way to win would be to form coalitions and then double-cross your partners. Apparently that is exactly the way that the American students played it. However, when the Taiwanese students played it they played it in a very different way. They played really slowly, attempting to discuss all the moves and find the best outcomes for the entire group. As this wasn't possible, they ended up taking a long time over the games.

Hofstede et al use the framework of the dimensions of culture that Hofstede senior discovered to see if the measured values for the two countries could explain the differences in approach to the same game by the two different cultures. They found a good match, with the two cultures being very different on almost every aspect of the cultural dimensions in directions that would appear to tally.

For me, this is a crucial indication of not just the unwritten rules that come into effect when a game is played (particularly as one Taiwanese girl who had lived in the US for a while was able to switch to an American mode of playing - presumably using a different social identity) but also an example of a framework from the social sciences being used to explain the response to the game.

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