How can games, something so trivial, feel so important?

Heeding the rules. Faith in the under dog. Undying loyalties. Such feats occur throughout our daily life, but they are exemplified, not to mention amplified, in the games we play.

The newest episode of Radiolab’s excellent podcast tackles the subject of Games as only the hour-long show can. Guests include Slate Magazine’s senior editor Dan Engber, psychology professor Alison Gopnik, and New Yorker contributor Malcom Gladwell.

From the episode summary:

A good game—whether it’s a pro football playoff, or a family showdown on the kitchen table—can make you feel, at least for a little while, like your whole life hangs in the balance. This hour of Radiolab, Jad and Robert wonder why we get so invested in something so trivial. What is it about games that make them feel so pivotal?

We hear how a recurring dream about football turned into a real-life lesson for Stephen Dubner, we watch a chessboard turn into a playground where by-the-book moves give way to totally unpredictable possibilities, and we relive a moment where rooting for the underdog makes us rethink what a truly happy ending is.

Curious? Listen for yourself.

(Tip o’ the cap to Perrie for the find.)

-Jon Irwin

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