Meta-gaming

The blind ape’s meta gaming series

Part 1: Metagaming
Part 2: The Rise and Fall of Hypertext
Part 3: Sidenote: Google’s metagame
Part 4: Step outside and play your own game

The following post is something that has been floating around my brain for a while. As these things go, it might offer valuable inishgts or be a complete brainfart.

But I promised you crazy shit when I started this blog, so you’ll see more of this type of posts in the future.

The old ape has recently discovered the world of meta-gaming. By this, he is not talking about the colorful badges and pins that modern games employee to lure you into just one more game, but rather a legitimate strategy. So let me introduce you into the beauty of meta-gaming.

What is meta-gaming?

Meta-gaming is what we think of when we talk about “thinking outside of the box” or other such metaphors.

To start this off, the first example that comes to my mind is a paintball tournament.

At one hand, we have the normal paintball game as it is defined by the rules and normally consists of one team trying to shoot all the members of the other team before its own members are hit.

There are normal tactics and strategies that can be employed here, such as flank attacks, feints, surprise attacks, etc..

All of these are not meta-games, though.

Here is the definition:

Meta-gaming is acting on a level above the normal rules of the game.

It often breaks the rules of the game itself or rather breaks the game by acting on the game outside of the game’s own rules.

This sounds mighty confusing, so let’s continue the example. One possible meta-game in the paintball tournamnet would be one team buying all the paintballs and other supplies that the venue has to offer, thus winning the tournament simply by preventing the other teams from competing at all.

Coming closer to the affiliate marketing industry, AdSense arbitrage was a successful meta-game.

The rise of meta games

Often times it is simply someone “thinking outside of the box” and thus redefining the rules he plays by. Reading the fine print often allows you to think of ways to outsmart the system.

Other times, advances in technology make new layers possible. Outsourcing, while possible before, has risen to prominence only after email and internet communications.

As of today, it has become possible even for the single entrepreneur to utilize workforces across the globe.

In affiliate marketing, keeping up with the technology curve is indispensable, by playing it right, you can do some nice meta – gaming on google et al.

The fall of meta-games

Circumventing the rules AND WINNING by it upsets people.

Meta-game strategies usually find their fate in one of two ways

-Incorporation

oThe meta strategy is incorporated into the ruleset and thus becomes part of the game. Using robots and outsourcing to cheap labour is common enough nowadays in many industries. I

-Prosecution

oThe ruleset is adapted in a way to forbid known meta strategies. E.g. The paintball venue adapting a maximum purchase rule or Google prosecuting Adsense arbitrage.

How to come up with new meta games for fun and profit

-Read the fine print.

oKnowing the TOS allows you to think of ways to gain from it.

-Adapt and change old meta – strategies

oBought links – dead. Or are they?

-Know the up and coming, the bleeding edge of tools and technologies

oTechnology is the big enabler of meta gaming. Know it, use it.

-Think

And the old simian is out.