A game is a structured form of play that can be played alone or with others; it involves a set of rules and is usually competitive. It can also be a form of entertainment or an educational tool.
Games are a central part of human life, with their origins in the early years of civilization and a wide variety of different forms ranging from chess to card games. Some require strategy and intellectual acumen while others are solely or in part based on chance.
The term game can refer to a single occasion, like musical chairs or a sport, or it can refer to a series of events, such as basketball or gin rummy. It may also refer to a specific object, such as a board or card set.
Game Tools and Rulemakers
Games often rely on specific tokens or objects for the interaction between players. These include the use of pawns on a board, play money, or an intangible item such as a point scored. However, these tools and rules may change depending on the context, such as whether the game is being played indoors or outdoors, or in a crowded place or a quiet setting.
During the development of a game, many different things need to be designed and implemented. These include the character, objects, and environment, which are all programmed using a game engine. Graphics are also created to help convey the game’s theme and feel.
In-Game Behaviour and Mental Health
One way to investigate the effect of video games on well-being is to measure player behaviour directly, such as time spent playing, compared to other activities, like reading, exercise or watching TV. But such measurements are notoriously imprecise and unreliable, which means that we rely on self-report data when trying to make sense of how and why people spend so much time playing.
There are three main influences on how much a person spends on games: personal, interpersonal and environmental. These influence one another, pushing and pulling on the amount of gaming a person does.
While a person’s personal influence on gaming can be controlled, this does not mean that a person is not influenced by other people. For example, a gamer’s friends can encourage them to continue playing games or to try out new ones.
Interpersonal influences can be controlled, as well, though they are more difficult to quantify. A gamer’s friends may be able to motivate them to play more games or to continue playing even when they are not feeling very well.
Finally, environmental influences can be controlled as well. A gamer’s environment can influence how they experience the world while playing a game, such as by influencing what the gamer sees or hears.
Although some studies have attempted to track player engagement in the context of specific gaming platforms, such as Steam or Xbox Live, most of these efforts were unable to find direct measures of video game behavior due to a lack of transparent APIs for researchers to use. This was a key barrier to studying the effects of video games on wellbeing.