MetaMemes: Play It with Me!

OK, this looks like a lot of fun. I just got the creativity/brainstorming game MetaMemes, created by Kes Sampanthar. The concept is simple, and I think I’ve figured out how to play this game online among 3-4 geographically distributed players who each have a copy of the 214-card deck. You can buy the game online. ($23 plus shipping, USD) So who wants to play with me online? E-mail me!

Here’s a bit about the game…

There are four kinds of cards in the MetaMemes deck: Ideas, Objects, Inventions, and Words. Each card includes a brief illustration and explanation of its topic.

Without running through all the instructions in detail, there is a system that allows the players to quasi-randomly combine ideas chosen from the deck, and then team up in pairs to brainstorm about how those ideas might be combined to form a new idea. After several iterations of brainstroming, you end up with an array of new ideas. The players then use a point-weighted voting system to determine the best new idea.

I think this could be played online with the help of tools such as any instant-messneger client that allows conferences, or Skype, or a collaborative environment/tool set like Pexit, or just e-mail if you wanted to take your time about it.

Right now, I’m playing MetaMemes solitaire, my own invention. I just choose two cards are random and practice combining them in various ways – in writing, and in talking to myself. (I do that a lot anyway, so I don’t look any stranger than usual for it…) I’ve found that when I play MetaMeme solitaire, I seem to end up with questions rather than fully-formed new ideas, but that’s still fun. I guess i need someone to bounce these questions against, so I’ll do that here!

I just chose the invention card anti-aging gene, and the word card evolution. Here are my top-of-the-head brainstorming combinations which came to mind in that round of solitaire:

  • If a medical means of preventing aging were universally available, would that be the end of human evolution? Would we stagnate as a species?
  • If a genetic therapy to prevent aging were developed, would or could evolution move to counteract it (make it ineffective)?
  • “Evolution” is part of the word “revolution.” What kinds of political, social, and economic upheaval would result if some or all people were able to stop aging?
  • Might the US Endangered Species Act be an anti-aging-gene approach to ecosystem maintenance? That is, are we trying to “freeze” the current diversity of species, rather than work with evolution?
  • If everyone were to stop physically aging, would the governments of the world have to institute a mandatory age for suicide/euthanasia in order to prevent overpopulation? Or outlaw reproduction.

OK, that’s what I got in three minutes of brainstorming on two randomly chosen concepts.

So if there are other MetaMemers out there, let me know and we could give the online version a try.

5 thoughts on MetaMemes: Play It with Me!

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  1. I don’t dare buy this game and start playing it – online or offline. I’d never get any work done!

    But I found your hypotheses interesting. Here’s my take on them:

    Your wrote:
    If a medical means of preventing aging were universally available, would that be the end of human evolution? Would we stagnate as a species?

    I don’t think so. Many people die from accidents, disease, homicide, suicide. Those who live longest will have the greatest chance of procreating, so it’ll affect evolution, but not stop it.

    You wrote:
    If a genetic therapy to prevent aging were developed, would or could evolution move to counteract it (make it ineffective)?

    Hmm. Interesting idea. I’m not sure – I’ll have to think about it more.

    You wrote:
    “Evolution� is part of the word “revolution.� What kinds of political, social, and economic upheaval would result if some or all people were able to stop aging?

    This is the most interesting one to me. How would our societies and culture change if sdome of all people didn’t age? Would everyone have access to this? Would we as a species become wiser, having more years available? Our societies are already feeling the effects of people living to their 70s, 80s, 90s when just a century ago, the average lifespan was much shorter. We have people trying to stay married twice as long; people working more years; people needing to live on Social Security and pensions for many more years; older people becoming more ill as our medical advances keep us from dying young, but can’t keep us from being getting terminal diseases and from just wear and tear on the body. Many of our social structures are being strained now. How wold it work if someor all of us lived very, very long?

    You wrote:
    Might the US Endangered Species Act be an anti-aging-gene approach to ecosystem maintenance? That is, are we trying to “freeze� the current diversity of species, rather than work with evolution?

    I don’t think so. Our species has become so dominant and destructive on this planet that I think this Act is meant to keep us from just destroying many species outright. The Act won’t protect a species from its own evolution within the ecosystem, just from humans who have a tendancy to run roughshod over ecosystems.

    You wrote:
    If everyone were to stop physically aging, would the governments of the world have to institute a mandatory age for suicide/euthanasia in order to prevent overpopulation? Or outlaw reproduction.

    Another interesting one. Clearly, we would need to find new places to live or keep the population down to what the planet can reasonably sustain. Of course, we can advance our ability to sustain more people on the planet, but just from a physical space point of view, there’s obviously a limitation. In the past, usually disease or environmental disasters have wiped on huge portions of the population. Perhaps that would happen again.

    Good questions! I hope other chime in. I’m interested to see what they’ll say!

    Peggy

  2. Hi Amy, I would just like say thank you for being one of the early adopters of the game MetaMemes. You are the perfect example of why I have released this game in its early stages, so creative people like yourself can try it out and start finding new ways to use/play the game.
    I love the idea of playing the game online via IM or even email. I do have on my ‘to do’ list to create an online version of the game, where people can come and ‘MetaMeme’ together and share and create new ideas.
    So to try to add to your ‘storm’ on Anti-aging and Evolution.
    Anti aging could have some interesting impacts to evolution. If nobody aged, they would be around to see how future generations adapted to the environment around them, and even though they might be alive, and ‘young’ they would be superseded. How strange would it be to have cave people living in the same world as us, how would culture, ideas change?
    Hmmm.. interesting stuff. I am also very excited to see where we can take this idea.
    Thanks again for starting this online forum for MetaMemes.
    So to try add to your ‘storm’ on Anti-aging and Evolution.
    Anti aging could have some interesting impacts to evolution. If nobody aged, they would be around to see how future generations adapted environment around them, and even they might be a live, and ‘young’ they would be superceded. How strange would it be to have cave people living in the same world as us, how would culture, ideas change?
    Hmmm.. interesting stuff. I am also very excited to see where we can take this idea.
    Thanks again for starting this online forum for MetaMemes.
    Kes

  3. Another note on the ‘storm’ – To add to my thought on having caveman inhabit the earth with us; what kind of cavemen would survive to procreate? The statement about pilots comes to mind… ‘You get old pilots and you get brave pilots, BUT you don’t get old/brave pilots!’ – Would cowards survive longer and hence procreate more? Hence evolution will be selecting for a more conservative species. This doesn’t sound good for the future of creativity.