RPS: Believe It or Not

I stumbled across a web page for the World Rock Paper Scissors Society today. They’re insane. They have a world championship, a list of gambits, an online practice area, and even a quicktime video of the winning move in last year’s championship (in which the players seem to take things very seriously, without a hint of irony). From the group’s mission statement:

The World RPS Society is dedicated to the promotion of Rock Paper Scissors as a fun and safe way to resolve disputes…. The World RPS Society is involved in many areas of the sport, such as; research studies, workshops, tournaments at both local and international levels, book publishing, and much more.

Never mind their gross misuse of the semicolon, what is up with that? You’ll have to see the site for a lot more interesting fun.

By the way, can’t you just imagine an action-packed movie wherein Sylvester Stallone is a loner truck driver who stumbles onto the RPS circuit and, against all odds, comes up against the best and, even though he suffers early defeats, he doesn’t give up, and eventually … I don’t want to give away the ending. You’ll have to see it for yourself.

PatrickFunnies07/27/03 7 comments


Dad • 07/27/03 10:47 PM:

I hear at the professional RPS level they play with real rocks, pieces of paper, and scissors. Then there’s the IBM computer program for RPS, Big Rock, that thinks ahead 50 billion moves and never loses…

I always thought the game was inherently unfair, since the paper just gets to “cover” the rock, while the scissors get to “cut” the paper, but the rock completely smashes the scissors! Whoa, I want to be the rock!

Dan • 07/28/03 12:25 PM:

seriously, pat, how did you find this site and why?

i’m still looking through this site, but those posters, as well as a lot of other stuff on this site, is bogus. that’s obvious. personal trainers? why would you put so much effort into something like this? there’s a lot of stuff on this site. it’s fake. you all know this, right?

Patrick • 07/28/03 4:52 PM:

I think there may be some humorous over-the-top stuff, but I do believe the society and the championships are real. For instance, check out their Media Archive (the page with the seemingly fake posters and such) and scroll to the bottom to see a newspaper article and to hear three radio spots that mention them.

Maybe it’s a new thing that has invented a past for itself?

In any case, if I’ve been fooled, then I’m in good company: CBS News, Utne Reader, Cornell, The Associated Press, The Straight Dope, The Halifax Herald, and many others (go to Google if you’re really interested) have been duped too.

Oh, and I found the link from your new employer, Dan: Coudal Associates. Have you applied there yet?

David • 08/03/03 12:16 AM:

This all reminds me of last week talking with Pat Urda and one of the most classic events EVER! It happened like this… Pat and I were on the phone talking about the apartment and trying to decide who was going to call the apartment place to check on the status of our lease and stuff. Neither of us wanted to do it - so Pat came up with an utterly brilliant idea. He simply said, “Let’s do rock, paper, scissors… pause … What’d you get?” Brilliant I tell you. I died laughing.

The website is classic too. I both thank you and question your sanity, Pat, in finding this site. The intro with the dudes playing is great.

Wanna talk about killer? The part about playing for honour. Love it. And “Think twice before using RPS for life-threatening decisions” :)

How about the gambit section? “The complexity of this series is belied by its apparent simplicity”

Dan • 10/10/03 1:19 PM:

Calling THIS funny is an understatement.

Please note the reference to The Princess Bride (or whatever Rob Reiner referenced).

Patrick • 11/26/03 4:04 PM:

I can’t believe we missed it, but about a month ago were the 2003 Rock Paper Scissors Championships (not the official site, but a lot of pictures).

David • 12/18/06 10:39 PM:

Here’s a recent NPR story on RPS

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