Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS) is a beloved childhood game that has been played in playgrounds for generations. However, what many people don’t realize is that the game’s hand gestures have evolved over time, with variations seen around the world. From rock, paper, scissors to rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock, the game has become more complex than the traditional three options.
The roots of RPS can be traced back to ancient China, where it was known as “shoushiling.” It was played using hand gestures to represent the elements of water, fire, and wood. The game’s popularity grew rapidly, and by the 17th century, it had become a popular pastime in Japan. There, it was called “jan-ken-pon,” and the hand gestures were changed to represent a woodcutter, a snake, and a frog. This version of the game spread throughout Asia and eventually made its way to Europe and North America.
As RPS became more widespread, the hand gestures associated with the game began to change. In the traditional version of RPS played in Western countries, the gestures are rock (a closed fist), paper (an open hand), and scissors (index and middle finger extended). However, in some variations, the hand gestures have been changed to better reflect local culture. In Turkey, for example, the gestures are “taş, kağıt, makas,” with taş representing rock, and makas representing scissors. In some regions of Europe, the hand gesture for scissors is to make a fist with the index and middle fingers extended, forming a horned shape.
In recent years, RPS has gained even more popularity on a global scale, with international tournaments being held in countries such as Japan and the USA. With this rise in popularity, the game has also begun to incorporate new hand gestures. In 2005, the television show “The Big Bang Theory” introduced a variation of RPS called “rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock” that added two new gestures. The “lizard” gesture is made by extending the hand and wiggling the fingers, while the “Spock” gesture is made by forming the “live long and prosper” hand sign made famous by the character from Star Trek.
As RPS continues to evolve, it’s clear that it has gone far beyond the playground. Its worldwide popularity and participation in global tournaments are a testament to its continued relevance. Regardless of the hand gestures used, RPS remains a fun and simple game that can be enjoyed by all ages and cultures. Who knows, maybe we’ll see even more variations in years to come.