One subfield of computer science that used to be quite popular is the computational complexity of playing particular games. At the end of the 1900s there was a slew of research on this, examine games ranging from the universally known such as Go and Chess to the more obscure such as Sim and Domineering. A look at the Wikipedia page shows that many papers along these lines were published not only in specialty venues, but top CS Theory venues as a whole such as SIAM Journal of Computing, J. Combin. Theory Ser. A, and STOC.
Over the past years, there have been a number of papers along these lines, primarily targeting computer games such as Bejeweled, many classical Nintendo games, and Pokémon. These later publications tend to be not published in peer-reviewed venues, or published in venues far less mainstream than the previous wave. Looking at some algorithmic game theory proceedings and journals, I’ve noticed few have papers on particular games. Instead, they tend to focus on AI playing games or more wholistic theoretical concerns not restricted to particular games.
My questions are:
- Is this assessment of history correct?
- Assuming the answer to #1 is yes, has something changed in the culture or interests of computer scientists that has lead to this?
- Are results along these lines no longer considered publishable?
Some context: I’m a young computer science researcher who hasn’t ever paid much attention to this field, but who has recently started dabbling in examining the complexity of games with my gaming buddies. I decided to do a preliminary literature review and was surprised by this pattern I’ve noticed.