Why does Paper beat Rock?

Rocks are tough objects that don’t get blown in the wind like Paper. In fact, you need to put a rock on top of the paper so it won’t blow away in the wind. So, why does Paper beat Rock in Rock Paper Scissors?

You might have heard that the meaning of why a paper beats the rock takes you to the ancient times in Chinese culture. When a request was sent to the Emperor, the request was symbolized using a rock. After the decision was made by the Emperor, he would ask his servants to place a bundle of paper under or over the rock. If the bundle was kept under the rock, it meant that the appeal was accepted. On the other hand if the bundle was kept over the rock, it meant the appeal was rejected. Gradually the symbolic identity of the paper covering the rock became a symbol linked to defeat.

Although it is a nice story, this is not true. Understanding the history of Rock Paper Scissors is important. Hand Games were created in ancient China, but the game we know of today as RPS has a Japanese Origin. Even though Japan has an Emperor there is also no mention of their emperor performing this ritual in Japanese History or Tradition.

In Reality, when the game of Rock Paper Scissors was created it was actually Rock, Cloth and Scissors. As the game spread and grew in popularity Paper became the adopted name for the outstretched hand gesture. We are not completely sure when or where this transition was made, but all of us at the World Rock Paper Scissors Association feel it was vital for the success and growth of the game.

Why Paper covers Rock makes sense

Paper covering a rock still makes sense in an object that is greater than another. Although it might not be as physical as a rock breaking scissors or scissors cutting a paper have you ever walked into a messy room and tried to find something? Have you have you ever tried to find something on a messy desk? This is why the paper beats the rock, just because it does not do any damage to the rock it still makes the rock invisible to the rest of the world rendering it useless.

The paper to us is perfect. It makes sense and is a simple gesture to throw, unlike Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock where the Spock move is difficult to make and even more difficult while trying to throw this move quickly. The gestures in RPS all make sense when working together in gameplay.

Possible Replacements to Paper

In our eyes there is no possible replacement to the paper, but what do you think?

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