What Makes a Game?

The word “game” has a lot of definitions, but it’s hard to give an exact, comprehensive answer to what makes something a game. In a layman’s sense, it can be anything that is engaging, interactive entertainment. This is what distinguishes games from other forms of media like movies, books and music, which are not interactive.

While departments of computer science have studied the technical aspects of video games for years, theories that examine games as an artistic medium are relatively new. Two of the most prominent approaches to this phenomenon are ludology and narratology. Those who approach gaming through the lens of ludology see the game as a form of social interaction, comparable to the holodeck from Star Trek, allowing players to take on a role and immerse themselves in a virtual world.

Those who view video games through the lens of narratology take a more theoretical perspective on what constitutes a game. They see the video game as an artificial experience based on fiction, a mode of storytelling that allows users to inhabit the roles of characters in a story. The most important aspect of this type of game is the sense of agency, or power to shape the narrative of the game and make choices that affect its outcome.

What does this mean for the future of video games? As the industry continues to evolve and innovate, it will be interesting to see how this debate plays out in courtrooms and boardrooms, as well as in the minds of gamers around the world.

One thing that’s clear is that there are a lot of ways to define the concept of a game, and most of them will be incorrect or misleading in some way. But that’s OK, because the goal of a game is to engage and entertain its players. It’s a medium that can be as creative, immersive and artful as any other type of media.

There are several different types of games, but they all share the same fundamental features: a set of goals or restrictions, an element of challenge and interaction, and a lack of real-world relevance. This definition explains why games can be as complex and sophisticated as a multi-player, multiplayer shooter or as simple and rudimentary as a board game like Monopoly.

The definition of game also applies to non-video games, which can be played on any number of platforms. These can include everything from a traditional tabletop to a portable electronic device. However, these devices tend to be more limited in their capabilities and require a certain level of skill to operate, compared to video games. This is because most non-video games are not designed to be as user-friendly or as robust as modern video games. This means that they are more likely to be a form of passive entertainment than a game that requires active participation from the player. This is why it’s so common for people to use the term “game” to describe things like Monopoly, even though those games are not really games in the traditional sense of the word.