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What is a game?
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What is a game?:

Vikings
Making judgement calls on what will lead to your desired outcome based on available information could absolutely be considered a skill you could get better at, depending on how good you get at picking up cues or predicting things.
Uh the fundamental spirit of cooperation and unity that drives the human race is unconfirmed to be more efficient than random computer input
 27 Ars Thaumaturgis, Mon, 21st Oct '13 8:12:05 AM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
A Video Game is any piece of interactive electronic entertainment that challenges the player.
As I see it, the term "game" (in the sense of skill challenge) in "video game" is vestigial: a remnant from the days in which most video games were indeed designed as skill challenges. As the medium has grown and diversified, I feel that the term "game" has increasingly become a misnomer.

(That said, I decided to see what Dictionary.com had to say — it's not prescriptive, presumably, but it seemed worth a look. While it does define a computer- or video- game as, well, a game, its first definition of "game" is, I believe, "an amusement or pastime", with a "skill and rules" definition occurring a little lower down. So even if we do go with video games necessarily being "games", that doesn't necessarily restrict them to the "skill challenge" definition of "game".)

If we restrict the title "video game" to only those games that include skill challenges (and ignore simple skills like "operating the controls", which even Minecraft in creative mode has, I presume) then we want for a name to cover the interactive medium as a whole. "Interactive entertainment" would do, I suppose.

 28 Hellman Sabian, Mon, 21st Oct '13 9:36:18 AM from The United Kingdom Relationship Status: Maxing my social links
Pushing that Devil Trigger
What is a game?

Form of electronic media which one plays most commonly for recreation and fun. Also the challenge. That's the best I could come up with.

Also well done for getting the Castlevania reference out of the way.

edited 21st Oct '13 9:36:29 AM by HellmanSabian

"Some are born speedy, some achieve speediness and some have speediness thrust upon them." - William Shakespeare (Sort Of)
 29 Totemic Hero, Mon, 21st Oct '13 5:20:05 PM from the next level Relationship Status: Abstaining
Spit taker
A game is an interactive form of entertainment where the choices and/or actions of every active participant lead to one of multiple potential outcomes occurring.

There are several forms of this: board games, tabletop RPGs, sports, play-by-post games, and video games. (Most of the definitions so far seem to either ignore some of these forms or solely define video games, hence my phrasing.)
"These days they have a stat for how many times a guy goes for a cup of coffee." -Mark McGwire
 30 Grounder, Mon, 21st Oct '13 6:00:34 PM Relationship Status: All is for my lord
I'd like to thank the academy...
1game noun ˈgām

: a physical or mental activity or contest that has rules and that people do for pleasure

: a particular occurrence of a game

: one of the games that are part of a larger contest (such as a tennis match)

Thanks, Merriam Webster!tongue

edited 21st Oct '13 6:01:10 PM by Grounder

 31 Noaqiyeum, Tue, 29th Oct '13 2:50:16 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
Also well done for getting the Castlevania reference out of the way.
[triply smug]

A game is an interactive form of entertainment where the choices and/or actions of every active participant lead to one of multiple potential outcomes occurring.

There are several forms of this: board games, tabletop RP Gs, sports, play-by-post games, and video games. (Most of the definitions so far seem to either ignore some of these forms or solely define video games, hence my phrasing.)
Thanks. It does seem to me that a "video game" should simply be a game played via a video screen, without any further restrictions or qualifications save for the inherent limitations of the medium.

Yes, but they don't have any gameplay mechanics. Nothing to master. Only choices with little means to predict the outcome. You can't "Play" a visual novel any better or worse no matter how many times you read it.
What is "gameplay"?

...isn't the same true of "deterministic games" like Chutes and Ladders? Even less so, even, because there is no actual choice involved.
DRYH
OEOE
NSUA
TTRD
 32 Alucard, Wed, 27th Nov '13 12:29:56 PM from Vancouver, BC Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Lazy?
Insight.

edited 27th Nov '13 12:30:10 PM by Alucard

You're one to talk, Photon Shot

It's how you get by, Ghost Butterfly
 33 Noaqiyeum, Wed, 11th Dec '13 6:42:11 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
Ha! Well-timed.

Much as I like EC, though, I think their answer is somewhat unhelpful. Obviously it's possible to ask the question in bad faith, in such a way as to imply the value of "game" over "not-game" or vice versa. But it's also possible, and perfectly reasonable, to ask it in a sense of simple taxonomy. If "What is a game?" is an inherently wrong question, then so is "What is music?" or "What is literature?". Or even, in general, "What is art?".

The fact that these questions have been asked for centuries and the discussion continues to be insightful and lead to new and good creations is just one of the signs that those mediums have matured. Dan's description of "Whatever you want it to be" as a "non-answer" is exactly correct - it's not only both trivial and meaningless, but it attempts to invalidate the entire discussion and deny that anything beneficial can come from doing so.

So so long as anyone else is interested, I'd like to continue this conversation. :)
DRYH
OEOE
NSUA
TTRD
 34 Benluke, Thu, 12th Dec '13 3:17:46 PM from United States
Some guy.
A game is a ruleset designed for competition (Either among a group of people or against the game system, usually some mix of both.).

A Video Game is a game played on an electronic device.

edited 12th Dec '13 3:46:55 PM by Benluke

 35 Ninety, Thu, 12th Dec '13 3:25:37 PM from Land of Quakes and Hills Relationship Status: In Spades with myself
Absolutely no relation to NLK
Surely you mean electronic? Because I wouldn't qualify "Who can hold onto this broken power wire the longest" to be much of a videogame.
math792d: "If there was a tagline to the Aesir beyond 'war never changes, ' it would be 'alcohol was involved.'"
 36 Benluke, Thu, 12th Dec '13 3:48:32 PM from United States
Some guy.
Electronics are electric, totally didn't write the wrong word.

tongue

edited 12th Dec '13 3:48:50 PM by Benluke

 37 Trip, Thu, 12th Dec '13 9:06:32 PM from the Puppeteers Altar Relationship Status: Robosexual
buzz
Video games are these supposedly mundane things, that are basically movies and shows that you control with buttons.

They manage to be fucking awesome, somehow
I'm starting to think we have a gas leak. Everyone has been extraordinarily retarded all week. ~Cloud Strife
 38 PBlades, Fri, 13th Dec '13 7:54:43 AM from Saint Mihiel Relationship Status: Healthy, deeply-felt respect for this here Shotgun
Basket Dog
Nothing but a miserable piles of easte-

Um. Well played, troper. You win this round.

edited 13th Dec '13 7:55:08 AM by PBlades

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 39 Disco Dancer, Fri, 13th Dec '13 6:04:53 PM from A Floating Island Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Demon Suitcase
Gamma

Accented

Mummifying

Experience
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 40 Noaqiyeum, Sat, 14th Dec '13 10:45:31 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
[up][up] [click] 4

...seriously, predicting that joke was not that difficult. :P

A game is a ruleset designed for competition (Either among a group of people or against the game system, usually some mix of both.).
Does that account for cooperative games like Pandemic, or deterministic games like Snakes and Ladders? I'm not sure how broadly you're using "competition", you see, or what it means to compete against the game system... :/
DRYH
OEOE
NSUA
TTRD
 41 Fighteer, Mon, 16th Dec '13 11:41:18 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
I'm going to have to agree with the "game as competition with rules" definition. Further, it's implied that the competition is a proxy for or a simulation of some form of actual conflict or pursuit.

Examples: Chess is a game in which the formalized rules of moving and capturing pieces are intended to teach strategy in warfare. Hide-and-seek is a game children play that has its roots in developing crucial survival skills. International sports competitions are a kind of warfare-by-proxy.

Even militaries play games: war games, in which combat is simulated without the risk of actual lives (hopefully, anyway).

For that matter, girl-focused games tend to simulate social environments and function as proxies for female competition. I've seen some mobile games that are based around forming sororities and/or clubs, with the goal being to establish one's popularity and defeat the Alpha Bitch.

A video game moves the rule-based competition onto a platform which can at the same time provide a highly immersive experience and transplant the need to manage the rules onto a device that is free from accidental bias or error (bugs notwithstanding). I say "accidental", of course, because computers can still cheat, but only if they are programmed to.

A Visual Novel, in which you choose which page to turn to as a simulation of a decision tree, is every bit as much a game as an installment in the Call of Duty franchise or a snowball fight in the backyard. In the case of visual novels, the competition is you against the designer of the story.

edited 16th Dec '13 12:08:44 PM by Fighteer

Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
 42 Totemic Hero, Mon, 16th Dec '13 1:02:14 PM from the next level Relationship Status: Abstaining
Spit taker
Doesn't that view mandate Death of the Author (since the majority of video games are supposedly created to entertain, instead of breaking the player)?

edited 16th Dec '13 1:02:32 PM by TotemicHero

"These days they have a stat for how many times a guy goes for a cup of coffee." -Mark McGwire
 43 Fighteer, Mon, 16th Dec '13 1:12:19 PM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Whether they are created to entertain or punish is immaterial to the definition. Besides, the implication in even the most Nintendo Hard games is that there is some entertainment value, else why would people (other than the pathologically masochist) continue playing?
Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
 44 Totemic Hero, Mon, 16th Dec '13 2:19:51 PM from the next level Relationship Status: Abstaining
Spit taker
Either way, I still view that model as flawed. (Hint: Try and define what constitutes a player under that definition.)
"These days they have a stat for how many times a guy goes for a cup of coffee." -Mark McGwire
 45 Fighteer, Mon, 16th Dec '13 2:24:17 PM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
The player is the person playing the game. Participating in, partaking of, controlling or exercising agency in, etc. Making choices or providing inputs that affect the experience and/or the outcome.

edited 16th Dec '13 2:25:16 PM by Fighteer

Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
 46 Lightblade, Mon, 16th Dec '13 3:38:51 PM from Philadelphia Relationship Status: Owner of a lonely heart
My personal definition of a "game" is "An activity where participants try to achieve an objective under a set of rules." To elaborate, here's Magic: The Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater's article, Ten Things Every Game Needs (Part 1 and Part 2). Points 1 and 2 are what I believe to be the essentials, while the rest are more about what makes a good game.

#1) A Goal or Goals: There needs to be a point for your game. What are your players trying to do? How do they win?

  1. 2) Rules: There needs to be a list of what players are and are not allowed to do. Restrictions are an important part of a game.

A "Video Game" is a game played through a video monitor. The monitor is how I differentiate video games from electronic games like, say, Simon.

edited 16th Dec '13 3:40:14 PM by Lightblade

It is a mistake to fancy that horror is associated inextricably with darkness, silence, and solitude...
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Total posts: 46
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