Rock Paper Scissors makes a great sport for the non-athletic

Once upon a time, a mild-mannered humor columnist went back to his roots and played an old-fashioned Nintendo game. He chose the 1987 classic “Ultima: Exodus,” which is similar to Pokémon except that it has no Pokémon. In this game, as in most role-playing games, there is a casino located in some towns.

However, the casino in this game consisted of nothing more than a game of Rock Paper Scissors. Apparently the creators of this game did not have the programming know-how to create a more realistic casino in which middle-aged businessmen lose their year’s salary at the blackjack table, and then wake up next to the cocktail waitress.

Seriously, the casino was just a game of Rock Paper Scissors. I had to laugh at this, but I might be the only one who finds this funny — which might explain some of my previous articles’ unpopularity.

The rock-paper-scissors relationship has to be one of the most perplexing love triangles of all eternity. Think about it: each inanimate object will completely dominate one other item, but will always be massacred by the other member of this seemingly boring triumvirate. Let us take a closer look into the three rules of the game.

Scissors cuts paper. sometimes this is true, but what if someone is left-handed and they can’t handle the scissors? Then the shears simply don’t work, and the paper should win. Alas, scissors always cuts paper.

Rock smashes scissors. Well, how big is this rock? What if the rock pulls a Japanese World War II pilot and crumbles when it lands on the scissors? Then both the rock and scissors are obliterated. Instead, rock always smashes scissors.

Paper suffocates rock. Are you kidding me? First of all, a plastic bag will suffocate anything better than paper would. Second, a rock doesn’t breathe. That ugly spirit rock we have on campus has been smothered for years by paint, and we haven’t heard a peep out of it asking us for air. In fact, rock should be able to act as a paperweight and hold the paper in its place. Still, paper always suffocates rock.

Apart from these three grievous errors, the game itself is one of the most flawless around. Referees should use this system for football games, because sometimes the referee thinks the captain said “heads,” but he actually said “tails.” (Steelers fans know what I mean.) The game is often used to settle disputes between small children, because most of them are too young to operate firearms. Of course, like all games, those without any athletic talent play it professionally. When I first heard this, I was again the only one to laugh over this. I thought we already had a sport for the out of shape, and it was called curling.

In case you missed it, the Rock Paper Scissors International Championships was held in Toronto last weekend. It was on ESPN8. Rock Paper Scissors, or RPS (as the experts like to call it) is not a game of chance, but rather one similar to chess in strategy. “To the beginner the moves are few, but to the master, the moves are many,” it says on the World RPS Society’s Web page (

For those of you who are philosophy majors, here is a rare job opportunity for you: deconstructing the rock, the paper and the scissors. In fact, professional player Jason Simmons, a.k.a. Master Roshombollah (seriously), is working on a book about RPS strategy. My guess is he will delve into the balance struck between the three entities, which constructs a more stable trinity than the one Paris Hilton creates when she can’t decide whether to sleep with a celebrity or professional athlete, so she does both.

To me, playing RPS professionally requires three traits: cunning, sportsmanship, and never dating girls (not by choice). Since intramural football season is over, I figured I would take up RPS, and hopefully turn pro. I carefully studied the opening moves (gambits) listed on the World RPS Web site. I then meditated for two hours and achieved nirvana. After discovering the meaning of life, the cure for cancer and the Holy Grail, I went back and played “Ultima: Exodus.” I put all my money on scissors.

Then, like a typical college student, I got smashed. Lucky computer.