reading notes # 1


Every definition of game that was presented each gave its own input, and each raised different points. After reading all of the different definitions I felt the book’s definition “Our definition” just got right to the point. It did indeed whittle away the unnecessary parts that were included in the previous definitions. The grid that compared all the elements of the game definition made it easier visually to see all of the different aspects these people have for it. Only one man in that group thought that a game is a form of art (Greg Costikyan). I found that to be very interesting, because normally we wouldn’t necessary categorize a game as art. Art is not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the word game. I think the main goal of making a game is to have an incredible idea first, then adding the art aspect only makes the game stronger.

In our gaming class of course our ideas for games are what’s most important to start, but then there is the production aspect and making your game look good. Making your game aesthetically pleasing is a huge part of the process. The majority of people judge a book by its cover, and will be attracted to your game right way if it looks interesting. For example, as I am setting up for the undergrad show in the gallery, we have about 6 board games laid out, of course I immediately went to the coolest ‘looking’ one and checked it out. Having a balance between a great concept and great production I feel makes a game great.



A game is an activity with a set of rules, that leads to a goal. A game can involve one person or it can involve a huge amount of people. Games are involved in many different mediums; from playing rock, paper, scissors to playing kinect on the xbox. Using the books theme of the difference between ‘play’ and ‘game’, I feel in one way a game gets created is by playing. For example you are your buddies start playing or engage in an activity; if you were to add rules or a goal to this activity it becomes a game and not just playing. This is how some types of games come about.



Going back to Greg Costikyan’s ideas about games I feel he right, but focuses a bit to much on the art aspect. He dives right in on his definition and says a game is a form of art. I agree with this statement but if I were to explain the word game, the idea of games being a form of art would come in later after I explain the more important parts. But then again the definition of art is a never ending argument, and a very broad word. My opinions on Costikyan are mostly explained above, but overall I feel he is right in most of his opinions.

Of course a puzzle is a game, what else would it be? I can understand how this question came about, but after thinking about it, puzzles do have a set of basic rules and there is a goal… to finish it. As far as second life, I would have to agree with what Jonathan said, “Second lives are toys until they are turned into games by creating goals.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

I agree with Costikyan’s ideas about the narrative tension in games. “Tension makes for fun games.” His example with the Yankees explains this thought very well. “What can be done to make the game tense?” This is a great idea to think about in our class on our first project. What he has to say about a games color I also agree with. Every thing this man has to say is very interesting and while you might not agree with everything he has to say, he raises great points.