Rock Paper Scissors, also known as RPS, is a popular game that many of us have played at least once in our lives. The objective of the game is to choose one of three hand gestures – rock, paper, or scissors – that will beat another hand gesture and be beaten by the third. But have you ever wondered where this game originated from? The surprising truth is that it has a long and diverse history.
The earliest known version of the game dates back to China during the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), where it was called “shoushiling.” Instead of the hand gestures we know today, the game involved hand signals that represented elements of nature – a closed fist for rock, an open palm for paper, and a diagonal hand gesture for scissors, representing water, wood, and metal, respectively. This game was believed to have been used to help children learn mathematical concepts, especially probability, as they had to guess which hand gesture their opponent would make next.
From China, the game spread to other parts of Asia before eventually reaching Europe in the 17th century. In Europe, it became popular as a drinking game known as “mora,” where players would guess how many fingers the other players were holding out. If they guessed correctly, they would get to hit the other player with a stick. The game was also believed to have been used by soldiers during World War I as a way to pass the time.
The modern version of the game we know today became popular in Japan during the 20th century and was called “janken,” meaning “rock, paper, scissors.” In Japan, there would be organized tournaments for the game, and it was even televised. Janken was often used as a way to decide a tie in sports competitions, with the winner being the one who won the most rounds of the game. The game’s popularity in Japan eventually led to its spread to other countries, including the United States.
Today, Rock Paper Scissors is a popular game played around the world, not only for fun but also for decision-making, including settling disputes and making important business decisions. In fact, there are even national and international championships for the game, with players competing for cash prizes.
In conclusion, the origins of the Rock Paper Scissors game we know today are a fascinating mix of cultural exchange and historical evolution. From a simple game used to teach math in China to a popular drinking game in Europe and a national sport in Japan, the game has come a long way and is now a beloved pastime enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.