When you hear the word “scissors”, what do you think of? Household scissors? Sewing scissors? Electrician shears?

Or do you think of “Rock Paper Scissors”? It’s a childhood hand game that adults play for fun and to make decisions or choose a winner. Our kids play it. We play it. Our parents played it. But there’s a lot we bet you never knew about this ancient game…

Rock crushes scissors. Scissors cut paper. Paper wraps rock.

Rock Paper Scissors is one of the oldest games in the world, used for fairly making decisions, in a similar way to flipping a coin, throwing dice, or drawing straws, and its history is full of myths and exaggerations.

Here’s what we do know:

  • Hieroglyphics dating to 2000 B.C.E. in Middle Egypt depict people playing finger-flashing games similar to Rock Paper Scissors, and there is also evidence on an ancient Japanese scroll of the same.
  • The game is also called Roshambo.
  • These games (or variations on them) are found worldwide, but outside the USA and Canada, they are most common in Asia.
  • The first definitive mention of this exact game is in an ancient Chinese text called Wazazu from the Ming Dynasty. The game was called shoushiling.
  • A Japanese version of the game, called Jankenpon, uses the same hand postures but they represent a village chief, his mother, and a tiger.
  • An Indonesian version of the game features an earwig, a man, and an elephant (the earwig defeats the elephant by infecting his brain via the trunk).
  • In 1842, the Paper Scissors Stone Club was founded in London, England. Its aim was to provide a “safe legal environment for playing said game”. Its name was changed in 1918 to the world RPS Club, thereafter its headquarters moved to Toronto, Canada.
  • While it can be a seemingly random game, it involves some strategy to win, and it is actually more difficult to win when playing against children. Why? Their choices are more random and less strategic than adults – thus less easy to predict. It is impossible when playing the game to gain any strategic advantage over a truly random player.
  • The World Rock Paper Scissors Society holds annual Championship competitions for prizes of up to $10,000.
  • Japanese researchers have taught chimpanzees to successfully play the game.
  • In 2006, a Federal Court Judge in Florida ordered that a trivial point over location for a deposition be settled by a playoff of rock-paper-scissors.

When you buy the best scissors from Vampire Tools, you’re always a winner – even if you never win at Rock Paper Scissors!