Game is a plaything that has rules and involves mental or physical stimulation. It can be competitive or cooperative, and may have a specific learning objective or perform an educational, simulational, or psychological role. Games can be as simple as a toss of a ball, or as complex as a board game like chess. A game is a form of entertainment, but it may also be considered art if created for its own beauty or entertainment value, or as a form of exercise or therapy.

There are many different types of games, and they can be played on a variety of devices including computer, console, mobile phone, and tablet. The gaming industry is a global business with an annual revenue of over US$100 billion, making it one of the fastest-growing entertainment industries in the world.

Video games have become a highly specialized field of study, with academic fields such as digital humanities and game studies gaining popularity. Digital game studies has a broad range of interests, from exploring the ways that video games are developed within specific project management models (Zhao et al., 2018) to examining the social impacts of video game playing (Jagoda, 2018, 201; cf. Game, 2015).

A defining characteristic of games is their rules and the way that they shape players’ actions. A game’s rules may be set by a designer or by an arbitrator, and they govern the interactions between players. Rules may include how to win the game, such as by being first to amass a particular quota of tokens (such as chess pawns or Monopoly hotels) or by achieving a certain relationship between a player’s own game tokens and those of his or her opponent (such as checkmate in chess).

The way that rules shape the gameplay of a game depends on the type of game and its environment. Some games have no obvious tool, such as hide-and-seek or tag. Others have tools that are idiosyncratic to the game: a chessboard and pieces, a standard deck of cards, a racing car, or a tabletop set for a game such as dominoes or Monopoly.

A game can require skill, strategy, luck, or a combination of all three. Players engage in a variety of activities to achieve these ends, which can include collecting and trading items, solving puzzles, or defeating enemies. The challenge of overcoming mechanical and interpretative difficulties generates emotions such as anger, boredom, curiosity, complicity, and pleasure for the player (Jagoda, 2018, 202), and these emotions can be used to guide the gameplay. Players can even be encouraged to seek out difficult games by providing them with a reward for completing them. This reward can be a tangible item or virtual currency, such as points or virtual coins. A game can also be used to promote social cohesion or raise money for charity. This is often done through multiplayer games where the participants are all connected to a single server, and the results of the game are shared on the Internet.