Among the 8 definitions of game, I prefer the last one by Elliot Avedon and Brian Sutton-Smith. It kind of concludes game in both physical and digital form. And the 4 features defined are also carefully adjusted. I like that they constrained the “interaction” in the game as “exercise of control systems”, as in many games we don’t interact with other players but just play with the game mechanisms. And also the 3rd definition: “contest between powers” is a thoughtful feature as it is not stated as “contest between players” or “contest between player and the game system” – which just covers the majority of game genre. The reasons I don’t agree with some other definitions from the reading is that I don’t see a game must contain decision-making process. Like Pachinko, you simply pull down a trigger and wait to see the result, the only thing you did is just using the trigger – and I’m reluctant to call it “decision-making”. And for all definitions given in the reading, one thing is really important – the limitation of the rules – what behavior you can do in the game. And as for video game genre, designers can choose to tell people what you can do in the game or to tell them what they cant do – like GTA – which is actually interesting as we suppose there’re actually more things we cant do than we can do (in previous games), but technology has changed this to its opposite.
I’d like to give a definition from what we are expecting from the game rather than describing and taking the game logic apart. And from my point of view, game is more like a play, you feel and learn through the playing of the game. But at the same time your participation can promote its progress. But I’d agree that some restriction on the form should be included. So I give my definition of game as follows:
- a goal: game should have a goal, players should be motivated to achieve that goal, but they do not need to finish it;
- a process: there should be some time between the beginning and the end of the game, either for the interaction, or thinking;
- rules: defining what players can do and can not do in the game;
- gain/loss: after the game (not necessarily finish it, but simply played it), not only the game status will change, but (hopefully) the player will feel different or have different thing physically.
From the 4 features in the definition, goal and rules are more concrete than the other 2, but the other 2 are more directly felt though the playing of the game.
I feel his definition is a little bit narrow. I don’t see any necessities that player need to be “participants”, one person can still play a game. And I also disagree that “decision making” is an essential feature for a game as I mentioned in question 1.
I think puzzles are games, as 1) they have a goal, 2) there is a process needed to finish the game, 3) you have to follow the rules (such as Sodoku), 4) the status of game is different when you finished a puzzle.
I think life is a game, so second life is also a game. And literally, I think all games are simply partial simulators of life.
A climax of a game can be happened at the very beginning – maybe in order to attract players or as needed for the story. To me, if I view a video game more like a movie, I may put the climax at the very beginning and spend the whole game explaining the starting. The beginning can be simple in action but fast in rhythm – which does not increase difficulty (hopefully). And also it is the same thing with a movie that climax can actually happen anywhere during the movie.
As for the color notion, I want to continue my opinion of seeing a game as more like a movie (just with interactivity) – so the color should sort of retain a degree of reality but to enhance the presentation or to attract players – but that should have a clear purpose. To me, if the color alternation on real things (like a blue tree) only want to make a game looks more beautiful and don’t give any other information, makes less sense to me. I don’t have many thing to say on the competition notion – as I hate two-player games, especially when they are not cooperating but competing each others. In my opinion, not all game can be considered art – similar situation on advertisements. Can advertisements be considered art? Or arts? I hesitate to say all advertisements are art (as some of them are only for publicizing, like games, some of them are only for entertaining), but there do exist some advertisements that could shift perception of some audiences (same thing on games). So in this sense, I think we call games as interaction arts – that should be a better notion than art.