On my trip to BIRS in January, I met a slew of awesome gamesters. Everyone was extremely friendly and I had intense conversations with many different people. Perhaps this is easy when there is a common ice-breaker: "Want to play a game?" People only turned this down when it got late; otherwise they were all eager for the challenge.
Does this mean everyone there was an extrovert? Does combinatorial game theory lend itself more towards extroverts? Will introverts find a hard time breaking into the field?
As I think back to the workshop, I don't recall a single person that came across as shy. There may have been some language barriers, perhaps, but those don't usually cause a problem if both players know the rules to a game. Of course, if you sit down and play quietly, you may never find out whether your opponent is introverted.
I'm somewhat worried that introverts may have a hard time being interested in games and CGT as a result. (There are similar reasons I worry that introverted students aren't getting all the benefits my extroverted students are.) I can see that many people might be intimidated by a class based around something so inherently competitive. Despite the fact that no grades are determined by students' actual ability to play games, I understand the completely irrational fear of not wanting to die in a video game.
Perhaps I needn't worry. Perhaps games and puzzles attract an introverted personality. It is easy to confuse introverts with shy or quiet people; the two do not always go hand in hand.
Wikipedia describes introversion as "a personality trait involving a tendency to drive one's perceptions, actions, thoughts and emotions inside, resulting in reduced interest in activity directed to the outside world." Taking the time to study and consider a game state may induce the same sort of energy as spending time alone for some introverts.
Oh dear, I'm getting into a space I know nothing about. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
My Last Visit with John Conway
4 weeks ago