Why nerds like games

That's a topic from Robin Hanson.  I'm not sure "nerds" is the right word here (or if there is a correct single word), but I get what Robin is trying to say:

Another explanation is that while nerds like to socialize, they are terrified of making social mistakes…Games let nerds interact socially, yet avoid mistakes via well-defined rules, and a social norm that all legal moves are “fair game.” Role-playing has less well-defined rules, but the norm there is that social mistakes are to be blamed on characters, not players.

I endorse this explanation (I am not sure if Robin does) and I notice some testable predictions.  If nerds are otherwise constrained and thus underconsuming social experiences, nerd-run games should be especially boisterous and enjoyable.  Nerds should invest more resources to play these games than non-nerds will find explicable; to non-nerds the games will seem superfluous.  Nerds should seek out games with intensely social elements.  In my limited sample of experience (I don't like these games myself, but every now and then they are played in my place of employment), I see these predictions being validated.


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