A game is a contest or pastime, usually played for entertainment or fun. Some games are simple, like Connect Four or Tic Tac Toe, and others are played for millions of dollars, like professional basketball.
A games’ goals are often difficult to achieve, requiring skill or strategy. A game’s rules are important as they define the boundaries of the game, shaping its play.
Many games are both mental and physical; they may also perform an educational, simulational or psychological role.
Some games are designed for specific purposes, such as promoting health and fitness or helping people develop practical skills. A game may be designed for children or adults, and some games are even played by disabled people.
Players can play any type of game, from board games to video games. Some games are physical, such as tabletop games and boardgames, while others involve mental challenges, such as computer games.
The term “game” comes from the Greek word gametos, which means contest. It can also mean a piece of art or entertainment, but is most commonly used to describe a form of play.
Some definitions, such as those in Wiktionary and the online Dictionary of English, say that a game is an interactive goal-oriented activity made for money. However, other definitions and history show that games are not necessarily undertaken for money, and some are undertaken for artistic reasons, such as jigsaw puzzles and games of Mahjong.
In game theory, a game is a system of interdependent economic interactions between agents with partial information about the outcome and the rules. These interactions are governed by the laws of game theory, which analyzes how the rules and incentives influence player behavior.
These laws of game theory include: The Prisoner’s Dilemma
A classic example is the Prisoner’s Dilemma, in which two prisoners are arrested for a crime, but do not know their exact location and do not know if they can communicate with each other. The officials then present them with four deals, or two x two boxes, each representing one of the two possibilities for the prisoners’ behavior.
If the prisoners confess, they will be convicted of the crime. If they do not, they will each receive a different amount of time in prison.
The prisoner’s dilemma is the most famous example of game theory. It is also the model that is used most in economics textbooks.
Game theory models the behavior of rational actors in complex environments, and it is often used in economic forecasting and decision making. It is based on a number of assumptions about the way that players interact with each other, and how they use game resources.
This includes the tools they have to manage, such as game tokens. These can be pawns on a board, play money, or intangible items such as points scored.
Another common tool in games is the environment. This can range from a school playground, to a street course, to the game of hide-and-seek in a park. The environment can change the rules and gameplay of a particular game, depending on the location, and it can even change the tools available to the players.