This week I've been participating in round 2 of Sock Madness. It's essentially a speed knitting contest. Contestants are e-mailed a sock pattern and have to knit the pair before they are eliminated. A smaller number of knitters passes on each round. This round there were 35ish knitters in my group and 20 moved on to round 3. Once the 20 spots are filled, the round is up and anyone not finished is eliminated.
It's not at all a tech-related game, but technology has certainly changed the play of the game. Through a variety of social networking sites, contestants can commiserate frustrations and ask for pattern help. I've also seen people cheering each other on and praising finishers. I finished my pair at two a.m. Friday night (or early Saturday morning, I guess). It's total madness and we all will freely admit this. While I wasn't planning on talking about any of my course readings in reference to the game, it occurs to me that it very clearly fits the definition of game from Kupperman's (2007) Grasshopper article: "Games have rules. Rules are unnecessary obstacles that make the game possible." The concept of knitting a pair of socks, which generally takes an average of two weeks or so, as fast as you can is a bit ludicrous. During the contest it is not unheard of to knit a pair within two days. Of course, there is the matter of aching hands to deal with afterwards. Speaking of which, must go back to resting my wrists . . .