A video game is a computer-based form of interactive play, normally undertaken for fun or entertainment, and occasionally used as a teaching tool. Video games are quite different from work, which typically is carried out as a means of recreation, and from writing, which is generally more of an expressive or aesthetic component of artistic or creative aspects. When we think of video games, we usually imagine them to be highly interactive, with the player navigating through levels, solving puzzles, avoiding obstacles, and generally interacting with the environment in which they are operating the game. This idea is central to the nature of the medium, since games need to generate mental activity that will allow the player to advance the game’s plot, solving problems along the way.
Computer games can take many forms, ranging from the very simple, such as a game of Space Invaders, to the complex, such as a computer game with thousands of variables, such as the popular chess board game. In the last twenty years, however, computer games have increasingly involved graphics, complex interactivity, and the incorporation of narrative elements, providing new opportunities for game designers. Computer game design has come a long way over the last two decades, from the early games played on minicomputers and other platforms, to the incredibly complex games played on personal computers, in living rooms around the world. The development of video gaming, through the invention of the video game console and the computer game software that drives it, has provided even greater opportunity for game designers to explore the full scope of their creative potential.
A number of computer game companies, such as Rockstar, have taken an international approach to game design, employing teams of writers and editors from all over the world. These teams, located across multiple countries and continents, are responsible for the creation and maintenance of a bibliographic database of video game related information, which can be accessed by fans and historians alike. By bringing together scholars of all disciplines and fields of study, the editors of the encyclopaedia britannica strive to make this valuable information available to the widest number of people possible. This has led to the creation of an encyclopaedia which reaches far beyond its local borders, in an effort to reach out to a worldwide audience.
Another important goal of the encyclopedic articles is to contribute to the overall growth of knowledge about video games. Through the numerous in-depth articles that focus on a single game or genre of games, the britannica seeks to develop a comprehensive selection of information about games, gamers, developers, designers, critics, and anyone else interested in this growing industry. For this purpose, the britannica has drawn upon a wide variety of sources, including magazines, scholarly articles, as well as the popular press. By bringing all of these various resources together, the editors have established an invaluable resource that can greatly expand the knowledge base for game enthusiasts.
In addition to expanding the range of knowledge about video games, the encyclopedic articles also aim to create a sense of community around this expanding field. In many instances, the staff of the encyclopedic articles has done extensive research on a particular topic before compiling the contents into an appropriate encyclopaedia britannica. This has helped to ensure that the articles reflect a consensus among all members of the editorial staff, which helps to guarantee that a well-written article will be accepted and enjoyed by readers. In addition to providing a forum for game enthusiasts to discuss their favorite games, the encyclopedic articles also provides relevant information for educators, students, parents, children, and anyone else interested in the world of video games. By contributing informative articles to this valuable source of information, the encyclopedic staff helps to ensure that the video gaming industry maintains an atmosphere of vigorous debate and intellectual conversation.
Patricia Bauer is the associate editor for games, as well as the technical director for the encyclopedic website. She has held a variety of roles within the company and is currently involved with game testing, game design, production, storyboarding, and production. This article is dedicated to recognizing her efforts as the lead editor for the encyclopedic b.a. The views expressed herein are those of the individual responsible for overseeing the production of the encyclopedic site, and are not necessarily those of Patricia Baucer, the associate editor for games.