A game is an interactive form of entertainment, typically with goals, rules, and challenge. It can be as simple as Connect Four or Tic Tac Toe, or as complex as a video game like Fortnite that has millions of players and a real-life economy. Some games are purely recreational, while others have educational, simulational, or psychological roles. Some use physical objects, such as chess pawns or dice, while others are played with mental or social activities, such as planning and strategy or storytelling. Games may also be used to develop practical skills, serve as exercise, or even as a form of punishment.

The concept of game is often debated, particularly as new types of games are developed. For example, some people believe that a virtual reality game is not a game because it does not require an active participant. Other people, however, argue that a game is any kind of interactive entertainment, whether it is playing Tetris on an old-school monitor or inhabiting a fully immersive world like Fortnite. This debate is a central issue in the legal battle between Epic and Apple over the right to distribute and sell their respective video games.

While the term “game” has a wide range of definitions, most commonly it refers to a contest or pastime that requires skill, luck, or both. A game can be a simple activity, such as tag or hide-and-seek, or it can be played for monetary prizes, such as football or professional basketball. A game can also be a complex piece of art, such as a board game or computer program, or it can be an elaborate spectacle, such as a circus performance or a theatrical production.

In addition to being a form of entertainment, games can also provide education and practice in the areas of math, science, geography, history, and literature. Games can help people learn to work as a team, or they can teach social skills such as conflict resolution and cooperation. Some games also have a therapeutic role, such as helping those with anxiety or depression to control their symptoms by engaging in a safe and controlled environment.

The development of games can be a multifaceted process, with multiple types of game producers and distributors. For instance, publishers create the actual game media, while large digital storefronts act as distributors and retailers in the online space. Retailers such as department stores and electronics stores, as well as specialty video game shops, are the direct providers of games to consumers. In the past, some retailers have even offered trade-in options, allowing customers to return unwanted games for credit towards new purchases.