A game is an activity with a set of rules and goals, which participants play for pleasure. Games may be competitive or non-competitive, and may have a social, educational, or simulational role. Games can be informal, such as tug of war, or formal, such as association football or chess. They can range from a simple board game like Connect Four to a complex triple-A video game developed by a large studio.
The game industry is a large business with many different types of games. Video gaming is especially popular, with its own subculture of hard-core gamers. There are also other categories of gamers who do not seek out conventional contest situations or taming of chance, and instead are interested in other types of gaming experience. These might involve novel mechanical, interpretive, or sensuous difficulties (Jagoda 2018b).
Developing a useful definition of a game involves understanding its context and history. This can be done by examining previous research in the area, although it is possible to make a meaningful definition without taking existing work into account. However, doing so will likely result in the creation of a definition that is flawed or incomplete.
A common approach to defining a game involves identifying the aims and goals of the game, then assessing whether it achieves those aims and goals. In a video game, this usually involves the assessment of the game’s mechanics and how the player interacts with them. In a tabletop game, this is often more difficult to do, because the elements of a tabletop game are confined to a relatively small area and require little physical exertion beyond placing, picking up, or moving game pieces.
Another important aspect of a game is its playability. A game can be characterized as a “game” if the player finds enjoyment in its rules, objectives, and challenges. A game can be enjoyable for players of any age or gender, and it does not need to be a competition. However, it should be noted that some games have a competitive nature and can lead to feelings of frustration or elation for the players.
A final aspect of a game is its world. A game world is a fictional setting that immerses the player in its world and allows them to feel as though they have control of that world, with their actions affecting everything within it. A game world can be as simple as a dungeon from a tabletop game, or as complex as an immersive virtual reality game. Some games are played by one person, while others are multiplayer. These games can be either social or competitive and can include teams of players or individuals playing against each other. The underlying technology behind a game world is usually computer software. This can run on a variety of different platforms, including PCs and consoles. Increasingly, however, games are being developed for mobile devices and other handheld technologies. This opens up new opportunities for developers, and may change how we view games in the future.