A Note From NYU Game Center Director Frank Lantz on the EVO Scholarship
"I remember the moment, 20 years ago, when something clicked in my head. I was watching two of my co-workers play Mortal Kombat, and it suddenly occurred to me that what was happening beneath the surface of the game was something quite a bit like Chess. Now on the face of it Mortal Kombat couldn’t look any less like Chess, it is a grisly, garish, cartoon of a game, it looks like something made, not just for children, but for children with very bad taste. But watching the game closely, and playing it myself, revealed something else. What looked like a flurry of actions was actually a flurry of *decisions*, choices and counter-choices, calculations and predictions, all happening so quickly that they were almost a blur, but still quite obviously intensely *cognitive* in nature, an experience about *thinking*.
That something that looked so dumb could give way, under the hood, to a kind of hyper-intelligence was a surprise and delight, especially to a fan of paradox and irony. I’ve never forgotten that moment, and that sense of delight continues to inform my love of all kinds of games…”