Computing Disputing: Argument Champion

By Adam Smith on August 20th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

...go on

Free browser game Argument Champion will make you defend the indefensible. It’s about debating, which makes it hard for me to imagine it’s not also sort of about politics since, outside an actual debating society, I can’t imagine anyone but a politician creating the sort of logical yet totally disconnected chains of unreasoning that I’ve been threading together for the last half hour. Your opponent has a random word/concept to defend and you choose your own from a list. The opinions of the audience hover over their heads and you must select one and then link it to your opponent’s argument or your own. So if they like ‘flesh’ and I’m an advocate of ‘dick’…well…they’re in the palm of my hand. It’s very clever.

Although some of the verbal connections seem a little odd, this is one of the few games that isn’t explicitly a ‘word game’ that has language at its centre. I mostly enjoy it for the surreal scenarios it throws up though. I found myself being an advocate of ‘Hazardous’ and was relieved to see that the crowd absolutely adored prejudice. It was their favourite of all the things. I’d already noticed that they liked Nazis and had enthusiastically declared how hazardous a Nazi can be in order to win them over.

Then there was this exchange.

Well? Which will it be? My arguments were complex.

The conclusions incontestable.

A victory for education. Construct your own perfect argument here. There’s a two player mode coming soon as well, so you can argue with a friend or loved one, and then argue with them about the argument in which you just roundly defeated them.

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55 Comments »

  1. Mike says:

    This is the greatest thing.

    Do you know how they make the connections? Do they use a big lexical database or did the developers code it all up themselves?

    • Premium User Badge Llewyn says:

      I’m guessing that at some point there has been an internet word association game which has generated a database of word links.

      At one point my opponent argued from Glasgow to Naked via Infrastructure and Morgan. Whoever Morgan is, he or she clearly has varied interests.

    • JuJuCam says:

      Was the link to the blog post describing the creation of this game not there earlier?

      http://www.agbic.com/discussion/85/entry-argument-champion#Item_1

      “The debate topics and the audience preferences are randomly chosen from the underlying concept association network, derived from MIT’s ConceptNet.”

  2. kinglog says:

    Great fun! I just argued that if you like culture, naturally you appreciate COW

  3. Premium User Badge c-Row says:

    Some of those connection make absolutely no sense at all, but I guess that’s the idea…?

    • Premium User Badge Anthile says:

      “Approving of NEGLECT naturally leads to approving of ABUSE. Do you appreciate ABUSE? Then you probably appreciate DRUG. I admire DRUG, so I admire USEFUL. What comes to mind when you think of USEFUL? SOCIETY, of course. So you see, NEGLECT is a lot like SOCIETY.”

    • tetracycloide says:

      And yet still makes more sense than any other argument on the internet I’ve ever participated in or witnessed.

    • PopeJamal says:

      It’s a very clever idea, but it didn’t seem very entertaining to me. Maybe because it didn’t make much sense to me? I guess YMMV.

      • tetracycloide says:

        You sound like the kind of person that could suck every ounce of fun out of an otherwise good game of apples to apples :P

        • Makaze says:

          Apples to Apples sucks all the fun out of itself when compared to Cards Against Humanity

    • kinglog says:

      The game is discovering the developer’s thoughts – not really ‘what makes sense’. It’s done in a way that was enjoyable this morning but I wouldn’t often go back to it.

  4. Premium User Badge Jackablade says:

    Hm. I crashed the game by sucking too much.

    • Savagetech says:

      Same, I took too long finding an argument for why inability isn’t ordinary (c’mon, that’s a slam dunk, what is with these word clusters?) and the game shit the bed on me.

    • Premium User Badge LTK says:

      If you FAIL in this game, you begin to STUTTER. STUTTER is a lot like STOP. Of course, STOP is inextricably linked to FREEZE. Therefore, if you FAIL, the game will FREEZE.

      And so my game froze as well. We don’t need a program to play this game, do we?

      • SiHy_ says:

        FREEZE is like ICE; ICE leads to SLIP; SLIP is an ACCIDENT; ACCIDENT is intertwined with CRASH. So yeah, it crashed for me too.

  5. Damn You Socrates says:

    That’s not an argument, it’s just contradiction.

  6. randomnine says:

    Do you support things that are GOOD? Well then! You should support things that are BEST. And what could be better than a CHAMPION?

    If you like GOOD, you should like ARGUMENT CHAMPION. I rest my case.

  7. Premium User Badge Anthile says:

    http://i.imgur.com/yJ76r.jpg
    Nothing easier than that.

  8. Premium User Badge c-Row says:

    http://i.imgur.com/fdPz1.jpg

    Ban this sick filth!

    • povu says:

      Yeah, why does it convince us that ‘head’ and ‘secretary’ is a bad thing? Ridiculous!

    • jalf says:

      My opponent tried to argue in favor of bike by linking it to rape…

      In another round he came up with this gem

      FUCK reminds me of FUN
      I claim that FUN and CAMP are intertwined
      I loathe CAMP so I loathe OUTDOOR
      therefore FUCK and OUTDOOR are connected

      Needless to say, I won…

  9. Edawan says:

    I beat the game, but some of the argument trees made really no sense.

  10. Premium User Badge Bluerps says:

    That was fun!
    It would be nice to just be able to repeat the last round. Unfortunately, when you finish that you only have the option to restart the game.

    • nearly says:

      or fail. I attempted and couldn’t pass nationals twice, but then had no problem with galactic, oddly enough.

  11. GHudston says:

    I beat the game by successfully arguing in favour of defeat. Does this mean I lost?

  12. sinister agent says:

    “Incredible! The champion is dethroned! You people really like AFFAIR!”

    I feel dirty. For bonus irony points, the champion was arguing in favour of MISTAKE.

  13. Soolseem says:

    I’d love to be able to look under the hood of the game and see how the ideas are linked.

  14. Smion says:

    If you like YOURSELF you should also like HITLER, because YOURSELF and BODY are intertwined. BODY leads to DEATH and many people who like DEATH also like HITLER.

    Heard it here first: The majority of people like Hitler

  15. ghor says:

    This is great. But it crashed when I disapproved of CHRIST. Hidden agenda?

  16. Tom OBedlam says:

    Hmm, that was fun, but a bit too easy really. I think it’d really benefit from having multiplayer on it.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      The entire problem with the game is that the words are utterly random the majority of the time, and it is entirely too easy to wind up with a combination that has a 20+ word chain, or none at all.

  17. Arctem says:

    My opponent just made the argument that “SEXY is intertwined with DAUGHTER.”
    I’m concerned for whoever made the word links in the first place.

    (the argument went on to connect daughter to child to wife to sarah as a reason for why you should hate launch)

  18. SiHy_ says:

    It’s a fun concept but the reasoning trees were a bit arbitrary as to whether something would link or not. I could link ‘traffic’ to ‘acid’ but not ‘Russian’ to ‘icey’.

  19. tetracycloide says:

    “TRIO reminds me of HONEYMOON.”

    My honeymoon was not as much fun as the honeymoon of whoever came up with these word associations…

  20. Geen says:

    Moustache>Beard>Man>Bad>Republican.
    I rest my case, Republicans win.
    Goddamn this is hilarious.

  21. Borborygme says:

    Even the argument demon seems bored as hell!

  22. Chibithor says:

    Disapproving of ATTACHMENT naturally leads to disapproving of HAND. If you despise HAND, you despise SMALL. I hate SMALL, so I hate PENNY. That’s why I believe ATTACHMENT supports AUSTIN.

    You can’t really argue against that.

  23. glum says:

    I argued Evil was better than Sexy for the win. I got on one chain of words where I only had one choice for 4 in row.

  24. RSeldon says:

    Love this. Just won a round by arguing that POPE supports MUM. This might be news to my mother.

  25. drdin says:

    Beat it first try, some of those were wonky but once you knew a keyword to look for it became pretty easy, still a great little distraction though.

  26. Premium User Badge LTK says:

    How the hell was it not possible to connect SUFFER and DAMAGE?

  27. Canadave says:

    The moment I successfully defeated “Uncertainty” with “Momentum” was when this most felt like a politcal simulator.

  28. The Random One says:

    It froze on the last round, when I was arguing RATIONAL against HELPFUL. I’d like to have seen that one.

  29. Neoviper says:

    I played a round representing “Theft”, and managed to leverage the audiences fondness for “Security” into my argument, bringing them easily under my sway. I love this game.

  30. twood says:

    I registered just so that I could post this victory: http://i.imgur.com/xOxPO.png

    I successfully argued rape is better than education. I should know—I’m a professor.

  31. Moth Bones says:

    Excellent laughs (“The audience LOVES heroin”) but as noted, some very peculiar connections. Fun for free though.

  32. belgand says:

    Too much of it is based on random guessing without knowing how something will be allowed to relate. Likewise it can sometimes be very difficult to determine exactly what word they intend when dealing with synonyms. For example, I was thinking that linking “elaborate” with “difficult” would be simple, but rather than the adjective meaning “detailed and complicated” they were talking about the verb meaning “Develop or present in detail” which didn’t naturally lead to the same sort of tree.

    A cute idea, but it falls apart far too quickly and has some very fundamental problems.