Games are playful activities that are structured by rules and used to create a sense of fun. They often involve a certain level of uncertainty and can also be considered to be art (like jigsaw puzzles or mahjong) or work (like spectator sports or video games).

A game is an activity where players must make choices within the constraints of the rules in order to succeed at the objective of the game. This structure provides the element of choice and adventure that is unique to games. The rules of a game are inseparable from the end goal of the game and this fact emphasizes their importance to the overall game experience. The inseparability of the rules from the end goal of a game gives players a constant choice to either abide by these rules and play within the magic circle or to exit the game and pursue other interests.

The rules of a game provide an alibis that allows players to participate in a game while avoiding real world consequences. This alibis can take the form of rules, stories, costumes, instructions, presentations and representations that help to guide the player into participating in the game without having to face the potential real world consequences of their actions. This reliance on interaction alibis is an important aspect of what defines a game as it provides a sense of safety for players that they can enter and play the game without fearing real world consequences.

In addition to interaction alibis, a game must offer some type of feedback mechanism that is provided to the player as a result of their interaction with the game. This feedback can be a variety of visual and audio elements that are displayed on screen as the player interacts with the game or it could be a physical feedback system such as haptic technology built into the gaming platform that causes the controller to shake in the hand of the user in response to their action within the game. These feedback mechanisms allow the player to feel as if they are truly involved in the game world that is being presented to them and this adds an additional layer of realism to the experience.

Aside from the defining characteristics of a game, it is important that any definition of a game be applicable to all forms of the medium including board games, tabletop role playing games and virtual interactive games. This is an essential consideration because it helps to avoid creating a bias in game studies where only virtual games are being examined. This has been a problem in the past where it has been suggested that only digital games can be called games and this has led to the development of narrow definitions of what constitutes a game. However, this type of approach is often not useful in terms of describing the complexities and unique features of video games. This is especially true with the recent case between Epic and Apple where both sides have cited different definitions of what a game is and has been.