What It Means To Be A Game.

We play them, experience them and share them but what are games? If I asked you to define the term 'game' what would you say?

The enduring definition of a game comes from Sid Meier, creator of SimCity who described games as 'a series of interesting decisions'. This works for games like Monkey Island but would this apply to games like Super Hexagon which relies purely on reflex? Another description states that games have to have rules, with clearly defined goals, success and failures states. But with experiences like Proteus or Passage this doesn't ring true either.

  Proteus is a wonderful game centred around exploration... it is beautiful!

Proteus is a wonderful game centred around exploration... it is beautiful!

The definition of 'game'  has been limited and with the creative spark ignited by the indie scene, what it means to be a game seems to be more fluid. A few years ago games which unified controls and interactions and asked players to immerse themselves in the story would have not been considered games, but rather interactive stories. However in the past couple of years experiences like Gone Home, Dear Esther, To The Moon, Proteus, The Stanley Parable and the mighty Walking Dead' have garnered great attention and have demanded to be taken seriously. These games lack agency and as opposed to mechanics and dynamics there has been an emergence in aesthetics and sensation, about impression and storysense (making your own story through cues within the game).

  Another exploration game but this time you do press buttons and switches... does this make it more of a game than Proteus? Some people argue that it does.

Another exploration game but this time you do press buttons and switches... does this make it more of a game than Proteus? Some people argue that it does.

Symantics plays a big part. For years games have been thought of in simple terms; a challenge with a high score or set number of levels to be completed. But as the industry develops and new genres emerge maybe it is time for a shift on what a 'game' actually is. For example films have evolved over a hundred years and now encapsulates many genres, styles and media. The same can be said for art and music so why not computer games? Maybe we'll see a change in the way the term 'game' is thought of as the industry develops... for me though be it on mobile, console or PC I love engaging with all variety of games!