I did some research on the internet and I found out that many people tried to define the concept of “Game”, but none of their definitions has been universally accepted. There are some common points though.
First of all, games usually have a goal, it could explicitly be defined by the game designers, like, for example, “Defeat the villains and save the city” in Spider-Man, or defined by the players themselves like “Becoming a movie star in the sims”.
Also, the outcome of the game is unforeseeable and different every time depending on the choices of the players. For example, one could win a game of chess and lose the next one or, again, the main characters could either live or die in “Detroit: become human”.
This unpredictability is one of the aspects that differentiate games from other media like books or movies, where the experience is more or less the same every time.
The other great difference is that games offer interaction through players’ decisions. Each player is free to decide which action to take to achieve the goal and beat the game. In “Undertale”, for example, players can choose whether to hurt their enemies or not, and this has a huge impact on the unfolding of the game.
But that’s not as easy as it seems because games have rules, and rules are used to define the terms of the aforementioned game-player interaction and also to limit the actions available to the players to make the whole experience more challenging.
Finally, an aspect common to almost every game is the reason why we play it. And this reason is, well, Because it’s fun, nothing else. People don’t need any particular motivation to do this and they play since ancient times, just to have fun. However, playing games is not just funny, it could help players to hone or develop skills and also, since games are usually separated from real life, to experience what it means to be someone else, like a pirate, a mage or a pokémon trainer.
But does it make sense to give a strict definition? Does it allow players to experience the product differently if said product is classified as a game by a definition, or not? Does it help game developers in their job? Or is it just a constraint?
I think that games are continuously evolving and thus a definition can easily become obsolete in just a few years or even less, and this is why we should not bother too much with finding a super-powerful definition but just enjoy playing them.
Well, This is it.
I’ll leave you the references if you want to delve into the topic and I’d be happy to know what you think about it.
Until next time.
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