How we cite our quotes:
“You did better. They think you're better. But I don't want a better little brother, Ender. I don't want a Third.” (2.45)
Almost all of the competition in Ender’s Game is between the kids at Battle School. (Or, if you prefer, between Ender and the teachers at Battle School.) But before that, the kids were competing to get into Battle School. Peter was rejected when he was five and he’s angry that Ender got even a little bit closer. For Peter, that’s a judgment on him – it’s not just that Ender does better on the tests, but that Ender is better.
Ender liked it better, though, when two boys played against each other. (5.94)
Battle School has some video games in which the players compete against the computer, but most of the games – especially the really important ones – have the students compete against each other. Ender learns from watching the computer and from watching the students, but he only starts making a name for himself when he finally plays against the older boys.
The message was clear. Winning is more important than anything. (8.38)
This is the message that Rose de Nose gets across to Ender when he joins Salamander Army – and Ender really internalizes it. Even though these are just games, winning comes to be a life-and-death situation. Partially because it really is – there might be aliens coming to attack them. But partially this focus on winning the games is… well, maybe some students are losing their sense of what’s really important.