Rock paper scissors, also known as ‘RPS’ or ‘Roshambo’ in some parts of the world, is a classic hand game enjoyed by people across the globe. The game has become so popular that it is now not only played in playgrounds but has transformed into an international sport. As much of an important part of our childhood as it is, this simple hand game that relies on chance has a rich and fascinating history.
The origin of rock paper scissors can be traced all the way back to the ancient Chinese Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). Legend has it that during this time, officials would use the game to settle disputes. The game was called “shoushiling” in which the three elements were represented as hand signs: a clenched fist for rock, outstretched palm for paper, and two fingers for scissors. In ancient Chinese culture, these elements are believed to represent the three paramount virtues of wisdom, power, and courage, respectively.
It’s also believed that during the 18th century, rock paper scissors was introduced to Japan before spreading throughout the rest of the world. The Japanese dubbed the game “jan-ken-pon,” which is still used in Japan today.
RPS started to become more commonly known in the 20th century. In the 1920s and 1930s, European children started playing the game under different names like ‘pi-pa-po’ and ‘klick klack kluck’. It wasn’t until the 1950s that rock paper scissors really started to take off in America, where it became a staple at playgrounds and amongst school children.
The game’s popularity kept growing, and it was not long before its simplicity became a subject of interest for researchers. In the 1960s, the game was analyzed mathematically by game theorists who introduced the concept of the Nash equilibrium – a term which refers to the optimum decision-making point for each player. As a result of this, many strategy guides and books were written about the game.
The popularity of RPS soon reached new heights and in 2002, The World Rock Paper Scissors Society was founded to promote the game and unite enthusiasts worldwide. The game started to be taken more seriously, with the first official RPS championship held in Canada in 2003. In 2019, the 17th annual World Rock Paper Scissors Championships were held in Toronto.
Today, Rock Paper Scissors has become not only a game of chance but also a sport. It has even been given its own set of official rules, regulations and a governing body called the World Rock Paper Scissors Association. The sport has become extremely popular across the world, with International and World Championships attracting contestants from every corner of the globe.
In conclusion, rock paper scissors may have humble origins in ancient China, but it has become one of the most widely-recognized and enjoyable games in the world today. Whether you are playing it for fun in the park or taking part in international competitions, the game remains as popular as ever and is enjoyed by people all over the world. Who knew that such a simple game that started out as a way to settle disputes in ancient times would become an international sensation?