The game: a definition

Several definitions of games exists within and without the academic world. With this text I will make the case for one of them. This definition goes as followed, “each games must have an implicit or explicit player” ¬†Furthermore we will define the “player” as “Someone with implicit or explicit control over the actions in a game”.

An observant reader might have noticed that the two definitions is intertwined, there is a point to that we will come to later. ¬†But first let’s break down these two definitions into smaller parts. Let’s begin with the definition of a game, this is a modification of a literary definition. “A text is a text if it has if it has an explicit or implicit reader”. The distinction between explicit and implicit reader is important. This way a text is not only a text if it would be to read, but also if it had the potential to be read. The same logic applies to or definition of a game. A game is still a game, even if no one ever plays it, as long as there is a possibility that someone could play it.

The next step is to define the player that is mentioned in our games definition. It’s important to define the term player for two reasons. First of, the term is not as directly obvious as that of a reader. Secondly, the term player is used in several different scenarios, wish leads to a need for further clarity to avoid confusion.

These definitions clear up two things, a game must not have been played, in order to be discussed or analysed as a game. Finally these definitions together means one very important thing. In order for a game to be considered a game in our discussion, it must have one thing. It must be possible for a player/person to take control over, in other words change something in the game. There must exist an deliberate interaction between the game and the player.

When we in the future will discuss games of any kind, from board games to video games to slot machines, this is the definition I will use.