here's a nice writeup on the philosophy of gaming. a guy by the name of bernard suits has written a dialogue with some insects holding forth in the style of plato. haven't read the book yet, but the main character is a grasshopper who has gamed away his summer, and will starve to death come winter. but before he does, he's going to make some points. "to him the ungamed life is not worth living" we read in the review the three parts of gaming: a goal, some rules, and a particular attitude. with the foundation in place next comes the value of gaming. it's not just the fun, but the difficulty which makes gaming something good in life. the value is in rising to a challenge, in the process of achievement. the grasshopper invites us to see this by imagining utopia, where anything whatever is to be had trivially. want to warp around in command of the enterprise? *snap* done. all the TOS ladies included? done. after awhile once we have known and done it all, the grasshopper suggests we would turn to tasks which are needlessly difficult. eventually we would chose to build our starship by hand, rather than merely snap our fingers. although needlessly difficult in utopia, it is more skillful. it would become a game. most of life in utopia would be "pursing ends by needlessly difficult means": in essence, playing games. the author of the review, thomas hurka closes clearly on the point: "success at something difficult is one thing we can rightly care about. it's present in a pure form in games, which can enrich our lives in a way that more passive forms of entertainment cannot." check it out!