It made me think about something that happens with the internet. The interview question in question was:
"How might you design a program that lets people play Monopoly with each other over the internet?"
And quite quickly we start thinking about the rules. The "business" logic of the game. How do we enforce it? How do we stop the cheaters?
Online we care about security, and rightly so. When the wrong data gets into (and then out of) our systems we risk privacy, money, and perhaps more.
But games? Before a computer, when in the history of a game has the mechanism of a game enforced the rules of the game? I cannot pull one out of my head. Even when the stakes are high we refer to a referee for our rule keeping. At most the mechanism of play involves a video camera and some painted lines.
And perhaps with some virtual games a digital watch-dog is necessary. Such as a first person shooter where the simulated laws of physics must be obeyed to ensure fair play.
But a game like Monopoly? Or Chess? or Backgammon?
Haven't we been able to play these kind of games without computers telling us when we're playing by the rules for literally ages?
I would design a system that lets players play. And then I would design an identity system that reduces complete anonymity and records all the action of the game. Nobody wants to play with a cheater and a cheater will be on record.
Maybe you'll circumvent my identity system and sign up again. But I'll probably play most of my games with players that have + reputation.
As a bonus, cheating will be obvious in hind-sight. If you trust your rules-keeping system any cheater that gets away with it will look legitimate after the fact.