3.3. ConclusionsΒΆ

What is our takeaway?

People have collectively spent thousands of hours arguing over how to best define the word game and not come up with a definitive answer. We are told by other experts that trying to define what is or is not a game is a problematic and divisive exercise. Why should we spend time considering the various definitions?

Even if we chose not to worry about assigning labels to various interactive experiences, thinking critically about our vocabulary helps us clarify our thinking.

What about practicing free throws (where someone shoots from a set spot on a basketball court) makes it an activity most people would call “not a game” while playing horse (where people take turns challenging each other to make baskets from set spots on a court) is clearly a game? You should be able to describe what it is about the later that makes it more “gamelike”.

While it is certainly possible to make an interesting experience that violates the “rules” of how to be a game, it is also the case that failed games often are a result of designers failing to keep in mind what people seek in gameplay. As you practice creating computer based interactive experiences (aka video games), keep in mind the things that seem to make games games.

Materials on this page adapted from:
Game Design Concepts by Ian Schreiber (CC BY-NC 3.0)