The Gaming Guild is the longest running in all of Kernel (you can find the archived content here). It emerged during the generative chaos of our Genesis block, and has been stewarded by Kernel fellows ever since. It remains one of the truly infinite adventures, open to all who come.
Welcome, frens, to this never-ending play.
While many plays are, so to speak, a school for the proper behavior of the young in mature life, there are others which, apart from their utilitarian purposes, are, together with dancing and singing, mere manifestations of an excess of forces — “the joy of life,” and a desire to communicate in some way.
Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution
Speak a new language, and the world will be a new world. - Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
The problem is clear: we need to craft language to describe the inner workings of web3 and why it matters. The words we need will be found not in finance, nor faith, nor fungibility.
The insight this guild offers is simple: we are really looking for a language of play and more playful languages.
In particular, this will help us answer Graeber's follow-up questions:
Why does the existence of action carried out for the sheer pleasure of acting, the exertion of powers for the sheer pleasure of exerting them, strike us as mysterious? What does it tell us about ourselves that we instinctively assume that it is?
What would happen if we proceeded from the reverse perspective and agreed to treat play not as some peculiar anomaly, but as our starting point, a principle already present not just in lobsters and indeed all living creatures, but also on every level where we find what physicists, chemists, and biologists refer to as “self-organizing systems”?
The Kernel Learn Modules are designed to help you think in terms of complementary opposites so that you can consciously choose your trade-offs with humility. The mix of technical and personal skills you can unearth there is great, but we're after something more in this guild.
When we think in terms of complementary opposites, the image of a spectrum quite naturally comes to mind: two opposing poles pulling us in seemingly different directions which must then be integrated in our experience in order for us to see through the "illusion" of separation to the underlying unity.
However, James P. Carse's notion of finite and infinite games runs throughout this guild, and these are not really 'opposites' in the sense spoken of above. They do differ in very important respects, but any kind of opposition, complemetary or otherwise, remains firmly in the realm of finite games. It is in the finite game where you have winners and losers, beginnings and ends, red and blue teams, white and black hats, rugs and riches.
Infinite games are to finite games as a container to the contained, or a background to the stage, or a field to the players moving on it. They are played for the sheer pleasure of acting. Being able to express life's joy, and have it be heard as such, is the deep why we will explore in the course of our time together.
To exercise one’s capacities to their fullest extent is to take pleasure in one’s own existence, and with sociable creatures, such pleasures are proportionally magnified when performed in company. From the Russian perspective, this does not need to be explained. It is simply what life is. We don’t have to explain why creatures desire to be alive. Life is an end in itself. And if what being alive actually consists of is having powers — to run, jump, fight, fly through the air — then surely the exercise of such powers as an end in itself does not have to be explained either. It’s just an extension of the same principle.
If you'd like to consider these idea from a practical game designer's perspective, in the specific context of blockchains, we suggest Kernel fellow Ronan Sanford's essays, linked below. In particular, he makes the case for infinite games as interoperable, permission-less, persistent, and immutable.
A game or world isn't confined solely to its code or smart contract; it comprises the code (i.e. the digital physics), the players, and their inputs, as well as the interactions among players themselves, the community. It's this very aspect that allows us to understand how such a world can be expanded with new, previously unimagined rules.
We also recommend that, if you are developing blockchain games actively, you take a look at