Monday, March 06, 2017

Five books that have games with deadly consequences

Peter Tieryas is the author of United States of Japan and Bald New World. One of his five favorite books that have games with deadly consequences, as shared at
Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong

Arguably one of the most epic and grand novels ever written, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, based on actual history, is considered one of the four essential classics in China. I’ve read this massive series multiple times, played the games that were inspired by it (the simulation ones, not the beat em’ ups in the form of Dynasty Warriors), watched all the shows, read the 60-volume Manga inspired by it eight times, and been horrified by the terrible English translations.

This example isn’t strictly a deadly game as it is one of the most gut-wrenching scenes involving a game I’ve ever read. General Guan Yu has won a crucial victory against the enemy, but been wounded by a poisoned arrow in the Battle of Fancheng. His surgeon, Hua Tuo, tells him he needs to have surgery to cut the venom out. As Guan Yu is in the middle of a game of weiqi AKA go (a Chinese game which made recent headlines when Google programmed an AI that could beat a weiqi professional), he insists the doctor perform the surgery right there. Guan Yu continues the game while the doctor cuts the flesh open, scrapes the poison off his bone, and even patches it. In the manga, it’s noted the doctor sweated more than Guan Yu. I’m curious how that scene would have played out if Guan Yu was playing against the so-called AlphaGo.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue