This article examines the historical development of systems thinking to demonstrate the manifold applications of games in modeling new understandings of systems. Chess and go were deliberately reconfigured by competitors, theorists, and tournament organizers over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries into systematic totalities. This transformation profoundly influenced subsequent concepts of formal and symbolic systems developed in twentieth-century mathematics, AI research, cognitive science, and economics.
Games and the Rise of Systems Thinking: From Models to Machines
SAMUEL PIZELO is a scholar, game designer, and programmer completing his PhD at the University of California, Davis. He researches at the intersection of game studies, media studies, and science and technology studies. His dissertation, “Modeling Revolution: A Global History of Games as Model Systems,” examines longer histories of games to articulate their function as “model systems” around the globe. His research has appeared in Digital Humanities Quarterly and ROMchip. For more information, see www.samuelpizelo.com.
Samuel Pizelo; Games and the Rise of Systems Thinking: From Models to Machines. Representations 1 February 2024; 165 (1): 92–119. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2024.165.4.92
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