The word game refers to any number of games, usually played for competitive, amusement, or relaxation. Generally, games are separated from work, which normally is done for recreation, and from literature, which generally are more or less an expression of artistic or aesthetic themes. Most games are played by group members or teams. The common denominator in most games is the use of initiative, strategy, and luck. The essence of the activity lies in its ability to stimulate mental abilities and social interaction.
A game is defined according to its rules and arrangement of the elements in it. A simple one may be a game of cards, while a competition tournament would include both. Many variations of the game are created by the application of these rules, with different sets of rules applying to various sets of players and at different times. Some of the popular ones are table tennis, badminton, billiards, chess, bingo, croquet, bowling, horseback riding, ping pong, snooker, soccer, tennis, and track and field.
Analytical work on games was actually a new definition. It was first used in 1825 by German scholar and psychologist Carl Zollern, who based his work on studies of children and adolescents, who were fond of games that involved intellectual analysis or critical thinking. Analytical work in games like these is often difficult, since it requires the ability to observe and make judgments on what seems reasonable to a given group or category of people. Thus, some people have criticized the whole idea of game definitions as nothing more than “social science” jargon, with no scientific backing.
In this article, we will look into four recent games that fit into the new definition, as well as others that were already in this tradition but were relegated to the “other” classification due to their often troubled histories. These games include: word Search, Clue, Scrabble, Backgammon, Candyland, Mental Fitness, Riddle Master, Backgammon, and Quidditch. These were not always the games they are today, nor were they all necessarily games for kids. There are a few exceptions to the rule, including the board game Lemonade Tycoon.
The new definition is very loosely applied, probably because the idea of defining a game can be an open question. For example, let’s use Clue as our example. Based on the first three e.g. clues, which include letters of the alphabet, a clue is only as helpful as its owner. This opens up the question of whether a certain “clue” can help identify a set of cards that are already in the deck (e.g. a joker or a seven or five card draw).
Another possible source of new definitions could be the games that are created as flash applications. Many of these games, like Scrabble or Candyland for example, make useful game definitions. As the popularity of these games increases it is inevitable that these definitions will change, so it is worth considering what current definitions might be, as well as making a list of games you would like to see categorized under the ‘other’ sub-categories. If nothing else it might be worth taking a look at the websites of the Game Studies Association to find out more about the current definitions.