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Lantz told me that the deepest relationship he has ever had with a game was with poker, to which he was almost dangerously addicted. “Somehow teetering on the edge was part of the fun for me,” he said. “It was like a tightrope walk between this transcendently beautiful and cerebral thing that gave you all kinds of opportunities to improve yourself — through study and self-­discipline, making your mind stronger like a muscle — and at the same time it was pure self-destruction. There’s no word for that in English, for a thing that does both of those at the same time. But it’s wonderful.”

I asked him if he knew a word for that in another language.

He said no, but then he thought for a minute.

“I think it’s ‘game,’ ” he said. “I think the word for that is ‘game.’ ”

New York Times.

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