So you think you Rock on Rock-Paper-Scissors?

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Yes, this is an old one. In case you have been living under a rock for the last 100 years, the Rock-paper-scissors game is a hand game usually played by two people, where players simultaneously form one of three shapes with an outstretched hand. The “rock” beats scissors, the “scissors” beat paper and the “paper” beats rock; if both players throw the same shape, the game is tied. Game originated on Japan around year 200 B.C., and spreaded out of Asia to the eastern world around 1920’s.

world-rock-paper-scissor-societyBut, did you know there is actually more on the Rock-Paper-Scissors rabbit hole? Seriously, this should be declared a Sport! There are even international tournaments, an International Association, and Olympic teams.

There are advanced skills and training. The basic skills of RPS need no discussion. Most children can be taught to form the three throws with their hands and with a little practice can follow the prime and reveal their chosen throw at the appropriate time. But an advanced RPS player can do more than that. He can use his hands to confuse or deceive an opponent. She can make her opponent believe she is going to throw Rock when she is actually going to throw scissors. Basically, is like a Rock Paper Scissors Ninja.

According to the Society, one way to guess what hand someone will throw out is to know how many rounds they’ve won so far. Players who are in the lead will often use scissors, because it’s believed to symbolize aggression, while paper is used for a more subtle attack. Rock is usually a last resort, when players feel their strategies are failing. There are also techniques you can use to mask your move, such as cloaking, in which players will pretend to throw rock and then stick out two fingers at the last second to make scissors. In addition, the true professionals (who do exist) will use sets of three moves, called “gambits,” to help them make their moves out of strategy, not reaction.

simpsonsBut that’s not all. The Society also keeps track of how common moves are, particularly as they relate to mentions of RPS in pop culture. For instance, after “The Simpsons” episode where Bart beats Lisa with rock and thinks to himself “Good old rock, nothing beats it,” the Society recorded a .3 percent upswing in the use of rock.

Males have a tendency to throw rock on their first try, inexperienced RPS players will subconsciously deliver the item that won previously, and paper is thrown least often, so use it as a surprise. And remember, when in doubt, throw the Spock. Your opponent will never know what hit him. You’ll be disqualified, but at least you’ll go out fighting.

Top Image by Mike Souza

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