In the latest Gamasutra feature
, Keith Burgun, founder of 100 Rogues
developer Dinofarm Games, attempts to define exactly what makes a video game, by first starting with the definition of what a game is.
Burgun believes that the term 'game' refers to a specific thing. "What I mean by that is that I think there is a unique concept that I can only call 'game', and this is something different from the large blanket term we use in the digital game world," he further explains.
"We video gamers call everything from digital puzzles, interactive fiction, simulators, to even digital crafting tools "games" (or "video games"). Essentially, anything digital, interactive, and used for amusement gets called a game."
He notes that the dictionary definition of a game is an "amusement or pastime," and therefore by that logic, even watching TV can be classed as a game.
"The thing is -- there exists a special thing, a thing that isn't a toy, isn't a puzzle, and isn't any of those other things I mentioned," he says. "It's a thing that's been around since the dawn of history, and it still thrives today."
We don't really have a word for this special something, he claims, but he classes it as "a system of rules in which agents compete by making ambiguous decisions."
"The 'ambiguous decisions' part is really crucial, and I am here to argue that it's the single most important aspect in a game," he says.
The rest of Burgun's delve into exactly what makes a game is live now on Gamasutra