Who remembers “The Lizard-Spock Expansion” episode of The Big Bang Theory? It was only when I watched that episode did I discover the alternative version of Rock, Paper, Scissors – Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock – and I am willing to bet I am not alone in this. And just in case you are still not aware of the Star Trek-inspired version (there is nothing wrong with that, really), let’s talk a little bit about the game.
Everyone knows how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors, yes? Rock beats scissors. Paper beats rock. Scissors beat paper. Now on to the alternative. This image says it all.
Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock was invented by Sam Kass in the mid-90s. ((The image is also taken from his site.)) His story:
I invented this game (with Karen Bryla) because it seems like when you know someone well enough, 75-80% of any Rock-Paper-Scissors games you play with that person end up in a tie. Well, here is a slight variation that reduces that probability. (Note that for those of you who like to swing your fist back and forth and say, “Rock, Paper, Scissors, GO!”, might want to continue to do that, replacing “Rock” with “One,” “Paper” with “Two,” and “Scissors” with “Three.”) This version is also nice because it satisfies the Law of Fives.
An interesting thing that I just learned from visiting Sam’s site is that the makers of The Big Bang Theory did not ask for his permission to use the game in the show. Well, at least that is what I get from the statement: “Recently the game has appeared on television (without permission) and across the Internet”. In any case, the game has spread to the far corners of the Earth now, including Russia.
And Spock himself has played the game. Spock as in Zachary Quinto – the new Spock – and not the Spock that many of my generation has fallen in love with. No need to say his name, but I just want to anyway: Leonard Nimoy.
So anyway, Zachary Quinto was interviewed by a reporter who interestingly engaged the actor in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock. Guess what? The actor didn’t seem to be familiar with the game! Whether he was just playing along or he really wasn’t aware of the game’s existence, it doesn’t matter. The video is slightly amusing, and people who actually like Zachary Quinto will find it even more so.