After watching the first episode of No Game No Life, it intrigued me because I play a lot of video games. Sure, I enjoy the various references they make to Anime and Video Games along with the characters. What interested me more is how Blank manages to win every game despite coming close to losing. While the games are not necessarily deep, there are many aspects in gaming that contribute to their victory, which is not noticeable by most viewers. (Image Source)
After watching Sora and Shiro win their first real game in the third episode, some think that they won because Blank never loses. Sure, one can become good at video games by playing them all day long, but at the same time, you have to look at their background to see why their victories are believable. Sora and Shiro are shown to be very intelligent, which allows them to come up with ways to take advantage of their current situation on the fly. As seen with the chess game in Episode 3, Sora eventually finds out that it’s not a normal game of chess. He takes over and eventually made the game into an all out real-time war simulator while managing to make the queen switch sides, which solidified his victory. Aside from thinking alike, I feel that with Sora’s charisma and Shiro’s intelligence is what makes them formidable. Even if either of them messes up, they still have another chance to turn things around.
On the other hand, No Game No Life also shows that coming up with good strategy is vital in order to win. Sure, Stephanie lost countless times not because she is terrible at gaming, but for the fact that she also relied on luck. While all games have a degree of luck, it does not necessarily determine the overall outcome. For instance, in Pokémon, there are moves that can increase evasion stats along with a variety of one-hit KO moves with low accuracy. The problem with using such strategies that heavily relies on luck is for the fact that they can be easily countered with the possibly of it not working at all. This can explain why Jibril, Kurami and Izuna didn’t bother on such a strategy since it would increase the chances for defeat.
Even so, coming with a good and viable strategy is not simple and requires some knowledge about the game and the opponent through trial and error and observation. As seen with Sora and Shiro dealing with Izuna, it took some time for them to figure out how the game worked and her tactics before they could pull off a plan that allows them to deceive and ultimately corner her. This wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t know that clothing could negate the effects of bullet from a Love Gun as seen with Sora experimenting on a NPC. Moreover, they took the time to prepare by gathering information and getting Feel’s help so that they could stand a chance against the Warebeasts. In short, one should never dive in without knowing the game because it will reduce the chances of winning.
Lastly, thinking outside the box is vital for the fact that the solution may not be as clear-cut. Most often than not, people tend to be risk-averse since he/she is afraid of losing. I think in some cases, it’s a good idea to take some risks because there is a good chance that you will gain an advantage against your opponent. We seen this many times with Sora betting big and of course, deliberately losing at Existence Reversi so he can give Kurami a copy of his memories. One can argue that Blank’s victories were close. Even so, he and Shiro always knew the best possible step to take from the possible outcomes and payoffs by observing their opponent. As a result, they were able to turn around the game in their favor.
As a whole, No Game No Life has a lot of things that makes it interesting to watch such as how the games work and various references to Otaku subculture. From a gamer’s perspective, it was interesting to see how the brother and sister team manage to win behind the scenes for the fact that gaming in general is open-ended, thus one have to think up new solutions and strategies. While gaming, especially video games receives undeserved negative criticism for causing people to become violent, I feel that No Game No Life shows that playing games can be seen in a positive light regardless of the genre as it can improve a person’s intellectual capability. ¶