What do you get when you combine a game of chance with some elementary school nostalgia? The answer, of course, is Rock Paper Scissors. A simple game consisting of three hand gestures and some strategic thinking, Rock Paper Scissors has a surprising depth of history and tradition across different cultures.
One of the earliest known records of Rock Paper Scissors dates back to ancient China, where the game was known as “shoushiling.” The game was reportedly played in conjunction with divination practices and was used to predict the outcome of upcoming battles. From China, the game spread throughout East Asia and eventually made its way to Europe by the 17th century.
In Europe, the game was known as “mora,” and it was popular among both children and soldiers. In fact, during the Napoleonic Wars, soldiers played mora to pass the time between battles. Other variations of the game existed in Europe as well, with different hand gestures being used in different regions.
In the United States, Rock Paper Scissors gained popularity in the mid-20th century. The game was often played by children as a way to determine who would go first in games or activities. In recent years, however, Rock Paper Scissors has become a serious business, with international tournaments being held annually and professional players competing for large cash prizes.
In Japan, Rock Paper Scissors is known as “janken” and is a ubiquitous part of Japanese culture. The game is often played on television and in stores, with prizes given to winners. The game also has a number of variations in Japan, including “mukimuki janken,” a game played with the whole body, and “jan-ken-pon,” a regional variation that replaces the word “scissors” with “pon.”
In Korea, Rock Paper Scissors is known as “kai-bai-bo” and has a unique cultural significance. In traditional Korean culture, the game was often used to resolve disputes or make important decisions. In fact, in some Korean mythologies, the creation of the world was decided by a game of Kai-Bai-Bo between two gods.
In Australia, Rock Paper Scissors is often played to determine who will buy the next round of drinks or settle other disputes. Some Australians also play a variation called “rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock,” which adds two additional hand gestures and some strategic complexity to the game.
Overall, Rock Paper Scissors is a game that has been enjoyed across different cultures and time periods. Whether played for fun or used to resolve important decisions, the game continues to be a lighthearted and entertaining way for people to connect with one another.