One of the more bizarre stories to come from the London Olympics so far has been the farcical conclusion to the group stages of the women's badminton, which saw eight players deliberately try and lose in order to manipulate their knockout stage seedings, to the outrage of many.

Maybe instead of blaming the athletes, though, the organisers of the tournament could instead have looked to video games for a little help on how to stage an event where this kind of thing is avoided.

Author and fighting game veteran David Sirlin has written an interesting piece on his site that draws on examples of video game design (and Magic cards!) to highlight the problems inherent in organising a tournament that one the one hand is designed to encourage people to win, but on the other discourages (and in this case disqualifies) athletes from doing everything within the rules to, you know. Win.


I don't agree - there's more to sport than a contest there are other things in play like sportsmanship and entertainment - but it's still a good read for a different way of looking at the controversy.

Playing to Win in Badminton [Sirlin]

(Top photo by AP)