Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is the word 'game' going through a slow hijack?

Recently someone tried to say the regular definition of 'game' is an entertaining activity or sport.

Of course feeding ducks or watching a sunset are entertaining activities as well. Thus they must be games.

I think for thousands of years the way people have (to not use a name yet) engaged certain activities is in a verses mode, where one of them is trying to beat the other. For millions of years we didn't have computers, only another person hungry to win.

It's really hard to imagine after millions of years of that, it's not atleast a small amount of evidence towards the word 'game' being primarily about winning/having win conditions.

But computers are entirely new on our cultural horizon. And computers...well, they can lose to you a million times, if you keep the supply of electrickery coming.

This really allows the developer to project a falsehood - have the program 'lose' to the player where if the developer were playing the opposition, he would attempt to win. And this falsehood can be extended until what is there is farcicle. Just a veneer of opposition.

Computers have made it really easy for people to think they are beating something of note, when really they are simply engaging some busy work the developer thought up. Thus allowing the slow hijack of 'game' into anything that makes money for the commercial, or anything thats artsy, for those craving artistic recognition but hiding it under the credibility of 'games'.


  1. Some folks at Story Games like to use the word "toy" to define a play activity that doesn't really have a goal.
    Microscope RPG has been called a toy, for example.

  2. Looking at the history, 'toy' seems to communicate an activity that doesn't have a goal better than game does. I think sim city has been described as a toy as well. Seems a fine name?

    I think alot of people, particularly those outside of 'gamer culture' to associate game with an activity that has a goal.

    In such a case, to call something a game when it has no goal is a bait and switch, intentionally or not.

    While toy just seems an honest term that really facilitates communication well and toys are credible (well, if toys aren't credible, then games/the word game isn't credible either, surely?)