Bullet Train –- Prisoner’s Dilemma

Bullet Train is an American action comedy that pits various killers against each other while riding a bullet train. In this scene, Lemon has tracked down two people (Prince and Kimura) and needs information. Instead of torturing the two of them, he opts instead to place them in a classic prisoner’s dilemma. He hopes that the two will be self-interested and reveal the outcome he desires.

Prince and Kimura are asked to close their eyes and either confess or rat the other person out. Lemon reminds them that cooperation (both raising hands or both pointing at each other) is likely a lie and he will kill them both. It’s a slight twist on the traditional prisoner’s dilemma played in classrooms, but it’s nice to see an application of interdependence and game theory in movies.

Thanks to Liam McDermott for the clip recommendation!

Big Bang Theory — Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

Sheldon isn’t a fan of traditional rock, paper, scissors so he introduces a new variant of the game with two more options, which increases the number of possible outcomes. The guys decide to use RPSLS to solve their disagreements, but they seem to struggle with the notion of needing to have mixed strategies. While Spock is not a dominant strategy in this game, the others don’t seem to comprehend ways to beat the throw.

For more Big Bang Theory clips, check out Bazinganomics!

BudLight — Rock, Paper, Scissors

 

Rock, paper, scissors is a good game to help settle a dispute, but this simultaneous move game has no clear advantage. It helps if you have an actual rock in your back pocket though.

Footloose — Playing Chicken with Tractors

Two high school students decide to play a game of chicken on a dare. In this classic game, two contestants head straight for one another and the winner is the one who doesn’t bail or turn away. If both participants turn away then they both are deemed “chickens.” However, if both stay the course then they will crash into one another and possibly die.

Thanks to Austin Boyle for the clip!

Golden Balls: Split or Steal

In one of the greatest game theory game shows produced, contestants play a simultaneous-move game where they must decide whether to split or steal money from each other.

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