No discussion of the concept of game can avoid mentioning Neil Strauss, author of “The Game.” Various people have been around a long time promoting their various materials on the subject. It was mainly limited to small ads in magazines oriented towards young men, and later the internet.
“The Game” is not nearly so much about game as it is about Neil Strauss. I don’t mean this as a criticism; he has followed a journalistic technique that was popular in the 60’s, but dates back to Mark Twain or possibly earlier, of the writer writing about himself as he does or experiences something. The only subject Hunter S. Thompson wrote about was Hunter S. Thompson; that got dull relatively quickly but when it was good, it was the shit.
Neil Strauss is a mainstream journalist of impeccable credentials, and while he expresses a certain amount of skepticism, he generally makes a ringing endorsement of game and the people who promote it. In fact I’m pretty sure the term “game”, at least as it is used in this context, comes from him. Ross Jeffries, for example, usually got trashed pretty good when he went out for publicity; Strauss says a couple uncomplimentary things about him, but says his methods do work. He depicts Mystery as a mercurial, mentally unstable figure, but one who uses his method to have sex with lots of beautiful women.
“The Game” would have a little more credibility if Strauss questioned a little harder. Clueless guys go to a seminar, then a month later are instructors. Strauss points out telling guys to approach women takes no skill in and of itself, and he doesn’t paint the many purveyors of seminars, CDs, and DVDs in a uniformly good light, but he never explicitly or even really implicitly examines what is going on. I’ll do it for him- there are numerous snake oil artists fleecing desperate men who have more money than sense. I’m willing to believe Mystery is for real and the Mystery Method works; I’m also inclined to believe the biggest thing that many of the guys who went to his seminar learned was how easy it was to charge $1000 a head for a long weekend of taking guys out to clubs.
How would the results of “game” compare with a control? If you artlessly hit on a bunch of women you will get a certain response, especially if you are good-looking, regardless of what you say. Strauss recounts s his own experiences in detail; he gives multiple examples for Mystery; he gives one for Ross Jeffries; a few for students. He doesn’t say much about Eric, Tyler Durden and the Real Social Dynamics crew, but he doesn’t seem to care much for them.
He addresses the burn out factor; he finds every woman in Hollywood seems to know the routines. I don’t know how much trouble this actually represents for an aspiring PUA; in a club in a big city, maybe, otherwise it may not be too likely a woman has been exposed to this.
Other than Strauss, game has not received much objective attention. Some possibly rigged reality shows have been done on it. Any body looking for a “story” here is looking to hype something positively or negatively to get ratings.
One last, but probably critical point. It has been pointed out that many promoters of game are also strong believers in the “nature” side of nature vs. nurture. If intelligence is inborn and can’t be changed, why would a component of personality as critical as game not be also? Much less be teachable in a weekend seminar? Most sales training, the closest readily comparable service, is crap. Self-help and personal development are big industries that have more of a placebo affect than anything else.
Nonetheless, making the most out of your resources, and maintaining and nurturing your relationships with other people, is not just desirable, it’s a matter of survival. Things that take years of practice will not help you much. Take things you can use and improve from quickly and discard the rest.