Good Games

The psychiatrist, who is in the best and perhaps the only position to study games adequately, unfortunately deals almost entirely with people whose games have led them into difficulties. This means that the games which are offered for clinical investigation are all in some sense “bad” ones. And since by definition games are based on ulterior transactions, they must all have some element of exploitation. For these two reasons, practical on the one hand and theoretical on the other, the search for a “good” game becomes a difficult quest. A “good” game might be described as one whose social contribution outweighs  the complexity of its motivations, particularly if the player has come to terms with those motivations without futility or cynicism. That is, a “good” game would be one which contributes both to the well-being of the other players and to the unfolding of the one who is “it.” Since even under the best forms of social action and organization a large proportion of time has to be spent in playing games, the search for “good” ones must be assiduously pursued. Several examples are offered here, but they are admittedly deficient in both numbers and quality.  They include “Busman’s Holiday,” “Cavalier,” “Happy to Help,” “Homely Sage” and “They’ll be Glad They Knew Me.”

– Dr. Eric Berne MD on Marital Games in Games People Play.

List of Good Games in Games People Play

  1. Busman’s Holiday
  2. Cavalier
  3. Happy to Help
  4. Homely Sage
  5. They’ll Be Glad They Knew Me