Reading response 1

  1. After reading Salen & Zimmerman’s taxonomy of game definitions. explain which definition(s) for game appeals to you most?

Joann Huizinga’s definition relates closely to my perception of what a game is. The part of the definition that appeals most to me is the concept of “artificiality” where a game is enjoyable because players do not follow the rules of the “ordinary world”. Out of all the scholars mentioned in Chapter 7 of Rules of Play, this definition is the only definition that mentions artificiality, which is a core component of a game.

As stated in the chapter, Huizinga’s definition has many flaws. One flaw that struck me was the fact that games create social groups and are not associated with material gain. Not all games create social groups, unless for a competition, a game such as tick tack toe, does not bring about large interest base around it. Also a simple toy store sells games to generate profit.

2. How would you define a game in your own words?


A game is an artificial construct in which players use rules and/ or material in order to achieve one or more goals (goals can be pre-disposed or made by the player).

To the best of my ability, this definition combines the most relevant aspects of all the definitions stated in chapter 7.


3. What is your opinion of Costikyan’s definition of games, is it too broad , too narrow,which aspects of his definition do agree with and which do you disagree with? Are puzzles games? Is second life a game? What do you make of his ideas about narrative in games? And his notions of color and competition? What about his idea that games should be considered “art”?

Greg Costikyan, has developed a very decent definition as compared to the definition that the authors of Roles of Play have developed. Although Costikyan defines games as a part of culture, this does not aid us in understanding how games work. One main problem that arises from his definition, is his lack of mentioning rules. Game token is a very abstract way to define means.

Through reading the chapter, I enjoyed how the authors used puzzles as the first example to point out the pros and cons of the different definitions of games; in addition, to showing the book’s definition is. According to the authors of Rules of Play, a puzzle is most definitely a game, since it has all the elements of the game. A puzzle is a system of pieces that must be put together to achieve a quantifiable outcome.


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