My Dad recommended this book Sapien to me, so I picked it up. I believe I had seen passing reference to it before:
After I had kids, we spent a lot of time going over the animals, something I never thought much about as an adult, and we do tend to forget that we are just another fellow animal … but then again, we’re clearly the Best. Animal. EVER!
According to this book, the primary “magical” ability that we human animals brought to the table, is that we create shared fictions that let strangers cooperate with strangers, without killing each other. Well, mostly. Certainly more so than any other animals have been able to.
Ths is interesting to me because I’ve always been a bit of an oddball in this regard; The whole “this game is only good with friends” thing was such a terrible design cop-out to me. I prefer to play online games with strangers, because to me that’s the magic sauce. If the design of game itself can get people to cooperate and play by a shared ruleset, that, that is the thing that moves us forward. It’s also the thing that makes us most human.
Even better, of course, if the game isn’t a mere video game, but a part of the longer term mission to get us off this prison of a rock, and into the stars.