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A game is a structured form of play, usually undertaken for
entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an idea or a task, but is more likely to be one of the activities or events that have developed over thousa ...

entertainment
or
fun
fun
, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Many games are also considered to be work (such as professional players of spectator sports or games) or art (such as
jigsaw puzzle A jigsaw puzzle is a tiling puzzle that requires the assembly of often irregularly shaped interlocking and mosaiced pieces, each of which typically has a portion of a picture. When assembled, the puzzle pieces produce a complete picture. In th ...
s or games involving an artistic layout such as
Mahjong Mahjong or mah-jongg (English pronunciation: ) is a tile-based game that was developed in the 19th century in China and has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. It is commonly played by four players (with some three-play ...
,
solitaire Solitaire is any tabletop game which one can play by oneself, usually with cards, but also with dominoes. The term "solitaire" is also used for single-player games of concentration and skill using a set layout Tile-based game, tiles, pegs or s ...
, or some
video games Video games, also known as computer games, are electronic games that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensing device to gener ...

video games
). Games are sometimes played purely for enjoyment, sometimes for achievement or reward as well. They can be played alone, in teams, or online; by amateurs or by professionals. The players may have an audience of non-players, such as when people are entertained by watching a chess championship. On the other hand, players in a game may constitute their own audience as they take their turn to play. Often, part of the entertainment for children playing a game is deciding who is part of their audience and who is a player. A toy and a game are not the same. Toys generally allow for unrestricted play whereas games come with present rules. Key components of games are goals,
rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Education * Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE), a university in Cambodia Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making ...
, challenge, and
interaction Interaction is action that occurs between two or more objects, with broad use in philosophy and the sciences. It may refer to: Science * Interaction hypothesis, a theory of second language acquisition * Interaction (statistics) * Interactions o ...

interaction
. Games generally involve mental or physical stimulation, and often both. Many games help develop practical
skills A skill is the learned ability Abilities are powers an agent has to perform various Action (philosophy), actions. They include common abilities, like walking, and rare abilities, like performing a double backflip. Abilities are intelligent po ...

skills
, serve as a form of exercise, or otherwise perform an educational,
simulation A simulation is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. Simulations require the use of Conceptual model, models; the model represents the key characteristics or behaviors of the selected system or proc ...

simulation
al, or
psychological Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, including feelings and thoughts. It is an academic discipline of immense scope, crossing the boundaries between ...
role. Attested as early as 2600 BC, games are a universal part of human experience and present in all cultures. The
Royal Game of Ur The Royal Game of Ur is a Two-player game, two-player Strategy game, strategy Race game, race board game of the tables game, tables family that was first played in ancient Mesopotamia during the early third millennium BC. The game was popular ac ...
,
Senet Senet or senat ( egy, znt, translation=passing; cf. Coptic language, Coptic ⲥⲓⲛⲉ /sinə/ "passing, afternoon") is a board game from ancient Egypt. The earliest representation of senet is dated to E from the Mastaba of Hesy-Re, while sim ...
, and
Mancala The mancala games are a family of two-player Turns, rounds and time-keeping systems in games, turn-based Strategy game, strategy board games played with small stones, beans, or seeds and rows of holes or pits in the earth, a board or other pl ...

Mancala
are some of the oldest known games.


Definitions


Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein ( ; ; 26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrians, Austrian-British people, British philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy o ...

Ludwig Wittgenstein
was probably the first academic philosopher to address the definition of the word ''game''. In his ''
Philosophical Investigations ''Philosophical Investigations'' (german: Philosophische Untersuchungen) is a work by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, published posthumously in 1953. ''Philosophical Investigations'' is divided into two parts, consisting of what Wittgens ...
'', Wittgenstein argued that the elements of games, such as play, rules, and competition, all fail to adequately define what games are. From this, Wittgenstein concluded that people apply the term ''game'' to a range of disparate human activities that bear to one another only what one might call
family resemblance Family resemblance (german: Familienähnlichkeit, link=no) is a philosophical idea made popular by Ludwig Wittgenstein, with the best known exposition given in his posthumously published book ''Philosophical Investigations'' (1953). It argues tha ...
s. As the following game definitions show, this conclusion was not a final one and today many philosophers, like
Thomas Hurka Thomas Hurka (born 1952) is a Canadian philosopher who holds the Jackman Distinguished Chair in Philosophical Studies at the University of Toronto and who taught previously, from 1978 to 2002, at the University of Calgary. He is a leading defen ...
, think that Wittgenstein was wrong and that Bernard Suits' definition is a good answer to the problem.


Roger Caillois

French sociologist
Roger Caillois Roger Caillois (; 3 March 1913 – 21 December 1978) was a French intellectual whose idiosyncratic work brought together literary criticism, sociology, ludology and philosophy by focusing on diverse subjects such as games and play (activity), pla ...
, in his book ''Les jeux et les hommes (Games and Men)''(1961), defined a game as an activity that must have the following characteristics: * ''fun'': the activity is chosen for its light-hearted character * ''separate'': it is circumscribed in time and place * ''uncertain'': the outcome of the activity is unforeseeable * ''non-productive'': participation does not accomplish anything useful * ''governed by rules'': the activity has rules that are different from everyday life * ''fictitious'': it is accompanied by the awareness of a different reality


Chris Crawford

Game designer Chris Crawford defined the term in the context of computers. Using a series of
dichotomies
dichotomies
: # Creative expression is ''art'' if made for its own beauty, and ''entertainment'' if made for money. # A piece of entertainment is a '' plaything'' if it is
interactive Across the many fields concerned with interactivity, including information science, computer science, human-computer interaction, communication, and industrial design, there is little agreement over the meaning of the term "interactivity", but mos ...
. Movies and books are cited as examples of non-interactive entertainment. # If no goals are associated with a plaything, it is a ''toy''. ''(Crawford notes that by his definition, (a) a toy can become a game element if the player makes up rules, and (b) ''
The Sims ''The Sims'' is a series of life simulation game, life simulation video games developed by Maxis and video game publisher, published by Electronic Arts. The franchise has sold nearly 200 million copies worldwide, and it is one of the best-selling ...
'' and ''
SimCity ''SimCity'' is an Open-ended (gameplay), open-ended City-building game, city-building video game series originally designed by Will Wright (game designer), Will Wright. The first game in the series, ''SimCity (1989 video game), SimCity'', was ...
'' are toys, not games.)'' If it has goals, a plaything is a ''challenge''. # If a challenge has no "active agent against whom you compete", it is a ''
puzzle A puzzle is a game, Problem solving, problem, or toy that tests a person's ingenuity or knowledge. In a puzzle, the solver is expected to put pieces together (Disentanglement puzzle, or take them apart) in a logical way, in order to arrive at th ...
''; if there is one, it is a ''conflict''. ''(Crawford admits that this is a subjective test. Video games with noticeably
algorithm In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm () is a finite sequence of rigorous instructions, typically used to solve a class of specific Computational problem, problems or to perform a computation. Algorithms are used as specificat ...
ic
artificial intelligence Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence—perceiving, synthesizing, and inferring information—demonstrated by machines, as opposed to intelligence displayed by animal cognition, animals and human intelligence, humans. Example tasks in ...
can be played as puzzles; these include the patterns used to evade ghosts in ''Pac-Man''.)'' # Finally, if the player can only outperform the opponent, but not attack them to interfere with their performance, the conflict is a ''competition''. ''(Competitions include
racing In sport, racing is a competition of speed, in which competitors try to complete a given task in the shortest amount of time. Typically this involves :wikt:traverse, traversing some distance, but it can be any other task involving speed to reach ...
and
figure skating Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, pairs, or groups perform on figure skates on ice. It was the first winter sport to be included in the Olympic Games, when contested at the Figure skating at the 1908 Summer Olympics, 1908 Olympics ...
.)'' However, if attacks are allowed, then the conflict qualifies as a game. Crawford's definition may thus be rendered as: an interactive, goal-oriented activity made for money, with active agents to play against, in which players (including active agents) can interfere with each other. Other definitions, however, as well as history, show that entertainment and games are not necessarily undertaken for monetary gain.


Other definitions

* "A game is a form of art in which participants, termed ''players'', make decisions in order to manage resources through game tokens in the pursuit of a goal." ( Greg Costikyan) According to this definition, some "games" that do not involve choices, such as Chutes and Ladders,
Candy Land ''Candy Land'' (also ''Candyland'') is a simple racing In sport, racing is a competition of speed, in which competitors try to complete a given task in the shortest amount of time. Typically this involves :wikt:traverse, traversing some di ...
, and
War War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary, mercenaries, Insurgency, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violenc ...
are not technically games any more than a slot machine is. * "A game is a form of play with goals and structure." (Kevin J. Maroney) * "A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome." (
Katie Salen Katie Salen Tekinbas is an American game designer, animator, and educator. She is a professor at the University of California, Irvine. Previously, she taught at DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media, Parsons The New School for ...
and
Eric Zimmerman Eric Zimmerman (born 1969) is an American game designer and the co-founder and CEO of Gamelab, a computer game development company based in Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as the City, is the most densely populated and geogra ...
) * "A game is an ''activity'' among two or more independent ''decision-makers'' seeking to achieve their ''objectives'' in some ''limiting context.''" ( Clark C. Abt) * "At its most elementary level then we can define game as an exercise of voluntary control systems in which there is an opposition between forces, confined by a procedure and rules in order to produce a disequilibrial outcome." (Elliot Avedon and
Brian Sutton-Smith Brian Sutton Smith (July 15, 1924 – March 7, 2015), better known as Brian Sutton-Smith, was a play theorist who spent his lifetime attempting to discover the cultural significance of play (activity), play in human life, arguing that any useful ...
) * "to play a game is to engage in activity directed toward bringing about a specific state of affairs, using only means permitted by specific rules, where the means permitted by the rules are more limited in scope than they would be in the absence of the rules, and where the sole reason for accepting such limitation is to make possible such activity." (Bernard Suits) * "When you strip away the genre differences and the technological complexities, all games share four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation." (
Jane McGonigal Jane McGonigal (born October 21, 1977) is an American author, game designer, and researcher. McGonigal advocates using mobile and digital technology to channel positive attitudes and collaboration in a real-world context. Biography Early years ...
)


Gameplay elements and classification

Games can be characterized by "what the player does". This is often referred to as
gameplay Gameplay is the specific way in which players interact with a game, and in particular with video games. Gameplay is the pattern defined through the game rules, connection between player and the game, challenges and overcoming them, plot and pla ...
. Major key elements identified in this context are tools and rules that define the overall context of game.


Tools

Games are often
classified Classified may refer to: General *Classified information Classified information is material that a government body deems to be sensitive information that must be protected. Access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of peo ...
by the components required to play them (e.g. miniatures, a
ball A ball is a round object (usually sphere, spherical, but can sometimes be ovoid) with several uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be ...
, cards, a board and pieces, or a
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern digital electronic computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, pr ...
). In places where the use of leather is well-established, the ball has been a popular game piece throughout recorded history, resulting in a worldwide popularity of ball games such as rugby,
basketball Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball (approximately in diameter) through the defender' ...
, soccer (football),
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bails b ...
,
tennis Tennis is a List of racket sports, racket sport that is played either individually against a single opponent (singles (tennis), singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles (tennis), doubles). Each player uses a tennis racket th ...
, and
volleyball Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules. It has been a part of the official program of the Summe ...
. Other tools are more idiosyncratic to a certain region. Many countries in Europe, for instance, have unique standard decks of
playing card A playing card is a piece of specially prepared card stock, heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper, cotton-paper blend, or thin plastic that is marked with distinguishing motifs. Often the front (face) and back of each card has a Pap ...
s. Other games such as
chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and shogi (Japanese chess). The current ...
may be traced primarily through the development and evolution of its game pieces. Many game tools are tokens, meant to represent other things. A token may be a pawn on a board,
play money Play money is noticeably fake banknotes, bills or coins intended to be used as toy currency, especially for classroom instruction or as a marker in board games such as Monopoly (game), Monopoly, rather than currency in a legitimate exchange marke ...
, or an intangible item such as a point scored. Games such as
hide-and-seek Hide-and-seek (sometimes known as hide-and-go-seek) is a popular children's game in which at least two players (usually at least three) conceal themselves in a set environment, to be found by one or more seekers. The game is played by one chose ...
or tag do not use any obvious tool; rather, their interactivity is defined by the environment. Games with the same or similar rules may have different gameplay if the environment is altered. For example, hide-and-seek in a school building differs from the same game in a park; an
auto race Auto racing (also known as car racing, motor racing, or automobile racing) is a motorsport Motorsport, motorsports or motor sport is a global term used to encompass the group of competitive sporting events which primarily involve the use ...
can be radically different depending on the track or
street A street is a public thoroughfare in a built environment. It is a public parcel of landform, land adjoining buildings in an urban area, urban context, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. A street can be as simple as ...
course, even with the same cars.


Rules and aims

Games are often characterized by their tools and rules. While rules are subject to variations and changes, enough change in the rules usually results in a "new" game. For instance,
baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball sport played between two team sport, teams of nine players each, taking turns batting (baseball), batting and Fielding (baseball), fielding. The game occurs over the course of several Pitch ...
can be played with "real" baseballs or with wiffleballs. However, if the players decide to play with only three bases, they are arguably playing a different game. There are exceptions to this in that some games deliberately involve the changing of their own rules, but even then there are often immutable
meta Meta (from the Ancient Greek, Greek μετά, ''wikt:meta-, meta'', meaning "after" or "beyond") is a prefix meaning "more comprehensive" or "transcending". In modern nomenclature, ''meta''- can also serve as a prefix meaning self-referential, a ...
-rules. Rules generally determine the time-keeping system, the rights and responsibilities of the players, scoring techniques, preset boundaries, and each player's goals. The rules of a game may be distinguished from its aims. For most competitive games, the ''ultimate'' aim is winning: in this sense, checkmate is the aim of chess. Common win conditions are being first to amass a certain quota of points or tokens (as in Settlers of Catan), having the greatest number of tokens at the end of the game (as in
Monopoly A monopoly (from Greek language, Greek el, μόνος, mónos, single, alone, label=none and el, πωλεῖν, pōleîn, to sell, label=none), as described by Irving Fisher, is a market with the "absence of competition", creating a situati ...
), or some relationship of one's game tokens to those of one's opponent (as in chess's
checkmate Checkmate (often shortened to mate) is any game position in chess and other chess-like games in which a player's king (chess), king is in Check (chess), check (threatened with ) and there is no possible escape. Checkmating the opponent wins the ...
). There may also be ''intermediate'' aims, which are tasks that move a player toward winning. For instance, an intermediate aim in football is to score goals, because scoring goals will increase one's likelihood of winning the game, but isn't alone sufficient to win the game. An aim identifies a
Sufficient Condition In logic and mathematics, necessity and sufficiency are terms used to describe a material conditional, conditional or implicational relationship between two Statement (logic), statements. For example, in the Conditional sentence, conditional stat ...
for successful action, whereas the rule identifies a
necessary condition In logic Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both Mathematical logic, formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of Validity (logic), deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science inv ...
for permissible action. For example, the aim of chess is to checkmate, but although it is expected that players will ''try'' to checkmate each other, it is not a rule of chess that a player ''must'' checkmate the other player whenever possible. Similarly, it is not a rule of
football Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, Kick (football), kicking a Football (ball), ball to score a Goal (sport), goal. Unqualified, Football (word), the word ''football'' normally means the form of football tha ...
that a player must score a goal on a penalty; while it is expected the player will try, it is not required. While meeting the aims often requires a certain degree of skill and (in some cases) luck, following the rules of a game merely requires knowledge of the rules and some careful attempt to follow them; it rarely (if ever) requires luck or demanding skills.


Skill, strategy, and chance

A game's tools and rules will result in its requiring skill, strategy,
luck Luck is the phenomenon and belief that defines the experience of improbable events, especially improbably positive or negative ones. The Naturalism (philosophy), naturalistic interpretation is that positive and negative events may happen at an ...
, or a combination thereof, and are classified accordingly. Games of skill include games of physical skill, such as
wrestling Wrestling is a series of Combat sport, combat sports involving grappling-type techniques such as clinch fighting, throw (grappling), throws and takedown (grappling), takedowns, joint locks, Grappling hold#Pinning hold, pins and other grappling h ...
,
tug of war Tug of war (also known as tug o' war, tug war, rope war, rope pulling, or tugging war) is a sport that pits two teams against each other in a test of strength: teams pull on opposite ends of a rope, with the goal being to bring the rope a certa ...
, hopscotch,
target shooting Shooting sports is a group of competitive sport, competitive and recreational sporting activities involving proficiency tests of accuracy, precision and speed in shooting — the art of using ranged weapons, mainly small arms (firearms and airgun ...
, and stake, and games of mental skill such as
checkers Checkers (American English), also known as draughts (; British English), is a group of Abstract strategy game, strategy board games for two players which involve diagonal moves of uniform game pieces and mandatory captures by jumping over opp ...
and
chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and shogi (Japanese chess). The current ...
. Games of strategy include checkers, chess, Go, arimaa, and
tic-tac-toe Tic-tac-toe (American English), noughts and crosses (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), or Xs and Os (Canadian English, Canadian or Hiberno-English, Irish English) is a paper-and-pencil game for two players who ta ...
, and often require special equipment to play them.
Games of chance A game of chance is in contrast with a game of skill. It is a game A game is a structured form of play (activity), play, usually undertaken for enjoyment, entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Many games are a ...
include gambling games (
blackjack Blackjack (formerly Black Jack and Vingt-Un) is a casino game, casino banking game. The most widely played casino banking game in the world, it uses Playing card, decks of 52 cards and descends from a global family of casino banking games known ...
,
Mahjong Mahjong or mah-jongg (English pronunciation: ) is a tile-based game that was developed in the 19th century in China and has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. It is commonly played by four players (with some three-play ...
,
roulette Roulette is a casino game named after the French language, French word meaning ''little wheel'' which was likely developed from the Italians, Italian game Biribi''.'' In the game, a player may choose to place a bet on a single number, various ...
, etc.), as well as snakes and ladders and
rock, paper, scissors Rock paper scissors (also known by other orderings of the three items, with "rock" sometimes being called "stone," or as Rochambeau, roshambo, or ro-sham-bo) is a hand game Hand games are games played using only the hands of the players. Ha ...
; most require equipment such as cards or
dice Dice (singular die or dice) are small, throwable objects with marked sides that can rest in multiple positions. They are used for generating Statistical randomness, random values, commonly as part of tabletop games, including List of dice game ...
. However, most games contain two or all three of these elements. For example,
American football American football (referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada), also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular American football field, field with goalposts at each end. Th ...
and
baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball sport played between two team sport, teams of nine players each, taking turns batting (baseball), batting and Fielding (baseball), fielding. The game occurs over the course of several Pitch ...
involve both physical skill and strategy while
tiddlywinks Tiddlywinks is a game A game is a structured form of play (activity), play, usually undertaken for enjoyment, entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Many games are also considered to be work (such as profe ...
,
poker Poker is a family of comparing card games in which players wager over which hand is best according to that specific game's rules. It is played worldwide, however in some places the rules may vary. While the earliest known form of the game ...
, and
Monopoly A monopoly (from Greek language, Greek el, μόνος, mónos, single, alone, label=none and el, πωλεῖν, pōleîn, to sell, label=none), as described by Irving Fisher, is a market with the "absence of competition", creating a situati ...
combine strategy and chance. Many card and board games combine all three; most
trick-taking game A trick-taking game is a card game, card or tile-based game in which play of a ''Hand (card games), hand'' centers on a series of finite rounds or units of play, called ''tricks'', which are each evaluated to determine a winner or ''taker'' of th ...
s involve mental skill, strategy, and an element of chance, as do many strategic board games such as
Risk In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening. Risk involves uncertainty about the effects/implications of an activity with respect to something that humans value (such as health, well-being, wealth, property or the environme ...
, Settlers of Catan, and
Carcassonne Carcassonne (, also , , ; ; la, Carcaso) is a French fortified city in the department of Aude, in the region of Occitanie. It is the prefecture of the department. Inhabited since the Neolithic, Carcassonne is located in the plain of th ...
.


Single-player games

Most games require multiple players. However, single-player games are unique in respect to the type of challenges a player faces. Unlike a game with multiple players competing with or against each other to reach the game's goal, a one-player game is a battle solely against an element of the environment (an artificial opponent), against one's own skills, against time, or against chance. Playing with a
yo-yo A yo-yo (also spelled yoyo) is a toy consisting of an axle connected to two cylinder, disks, and a string looped around the axle, similar to a wikt:spool, spool. It is an ancient toy with proof of existence since 500 BCE. The yo-yo was also ca ...
or playing
tennis Tennis is a List of racket sports, racket sport that is played either individually against a single opponent (singles (tennis), singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles (tennis), doubles). Each player uses a tennis racket th ...
against a wall is not generally recognized as playing a game due to the lack of any formidable opposition. Many games described as "single-player" may be termed actually
puzzle A puzzle is a game, Problem solving, problem, or toy that tests a person's ingenuity or knowledge. In a puzzle, the solver is expected to put pieces together (Disentanglement puzzle, or take them apart) in a logical way, in order to arrive at th ...
s or
recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for happiness, enjoyment, amusement, ...
s.


Multiplayer games

A multiplayer game is a game of several players who may be independent opponents or teams. Games with many independent players are difficult to analyze formally using
game theory Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interactions among rational agents. Myerson, Roger B. (1991). ''Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict,'' Harvard University Press, p.&nbs1 Chapter-preview links, ppvii–xi It has appl ...
as the players may form and switch
coalition A coalition is a group formed when two or more people or groups temporarily work together to achieve a common goal. The term is most frequently used to denote a formation of power in political or economical spaces. Formation According to ''A Gui ...
s. The term "game" in this context may mean either a true game played for entertainment or a competitive activity describable in principle by mathematical game theory.


Game theory

John Nash proved that games with several players have a stable solution provided that coalitions between players are disallowed. Nash won the
Nobel prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel#Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel's will of 1895, are awarded to "those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest ben ...
for economics for this important result which extended von Neumann's theory of
zero-sum Zero-sum game is a Mathematical model, mathematical representation in game theory and economic theory of a situation which involves two sides, where the result is an advantage for one side and an equivalent loss for the other. In other words, pla ...
games. Nash's stable solution is known as the
Nash equilibrium In game theory, the Nash equilibrium, named after the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., John Nash, is the most common way to define the solution concept, solution of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players. In a Nash equilibrium, ea ...
. If cooperation between players is allowed, then the game becomes more complex; many concepts have been developed to analyze such games. While these have had some partial success in the fields of economics, politics and
conflict Conflict may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Conflict'' (1921 film), an American silent film directed by Stuart Paton * ''Conflict'' (1936 film), an American boxing film starring John Wayne * ''Conflict'' (1937 film) ...
, no good general theory has yet been developed. In quantum game theory, it has been found that the introduction of
quantum information Quantum information is the information of the quantum state, state of a quantum system. It is the basic entity of study in quantum information theory, and can be manipulated using quantum information processing techniques. Quantum information re ...
into multiplayer games allows a new type of equilibrium strategy not found in traditional games. The entanglement of player's choices can have the effect of a contract by preventing players from profiting from what is known as ''betrayal''.


Types

Games can take a variety of forms, from competitive
sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and Skill, skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to specta ...
s to
board game Board games are tabletop games that typically use . These pieces are moved or placed on a pre-marked board (playing surface) and often include elements of Tabletop game, table, Card game, card, Role-playing game, role-playing, and miniatures ga ...
s and video games.


Sports

Many sports require special equipment and dedicated playing fields, leading to the involvement of a community much larger than the group of players. A city or town may set aside such resources for the organization of sports leagues. Popular sports may have spectators who are entertained just by watching games. A community will often align itself with a local sports team that supposedly represents it (even if the team or most of its players only recently moved in); they often align themselves against their opponents or have traditional rivalries. The concept of
fandom A fandom is a subculture composed of Fan (person), fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the objects of their fandom and spend a ...
began with sports fans.


Lawn games

Lawn game A lawn game is an outdoor game A game is a structured form of play (activity), play, usually undertaken for enjoyment, entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Many games are also considered to be work (such as p ...
s are outdoor games that can be played on a
lawn A lawn is an area of soil-covered land planted with Poaceae, grasses and other durable plants such as clover which are maintained at a short height with a lawnmower (or sometimes grazing animals) and used for aesthetic and recreational pu ...
; an area of mowed grass (or alternately, on graded soil) generally smaller than a sports field (pitch). Variations of many games that are traditionally played on a sports field are marketed as "lawn games" for home use in a front or back yard. Common lawn games include
horseshoes Horseshoe A horseshoe is a fabricated product designed to protect a horse hoof from wear. Shoes are attached on the palmar surface (ground side) of the hooves, usually nail (engineering), nailed through the insensitive hoof wall that is anat ...
,
sholf Sholf is a lawn game A lawn game is an outdoor game A game is a structured form of play (activity), play, usually undertaken for enjoyment, entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Many games are also considere ...
,
croquet Croquet ( or ; french: croquet) is a sport that involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops (often called "wickets" in the United States) embedded in a grass playing court. Its international sports governing body, gov ...
,
bocce (, or , ), sometimes anglicized as bocce ball, bocci or boccie, is a Ball sports, ball sport belonging to the boules family. Developed into its present form in Italy, it is closely related to British bowls and French , with a common ancestr ...
, and lawn bowls.


Tabletop games

A tabletop game is a game where the elements of play are confined to a small area and require little physical exertion, usually simply placing, picking up and moving game pieces. Most of these games are played at a table around which the players are seated and on which the game's elements are located. However, many games falling into this category, particularly
party game Party games are games that are played at social gatherings to facilitate Social interaction, interaction and provide entertainment and recreation. Categories include (explicit) icebreaker (facilitation), icebreaker, Parlour game, parlour (indoo ...
s, are more free-form in their play and can involve physical activity such as mime. Still, these games do not require a large area in which to play them, large amounts of strength or stamina, or specialized equipment other than what comes in a box.


Dexterity and coordination games

This class of games includes any game in which the skill element involved relates to manual dexterity or hand-eye coordination, but excludes the class of video games (see below). Games such as jacks, paper football, and
Jenga Jenga is a Game of skill, game of physical skill created by British board game designer and author Leslie Scott (game designer), Leslie Scott and marketed by Hasbro. Players take turns removing one block at a time from a tower constructed of 54 bl ...
require only very portable or improvised equipment and can be played on any flat level surface, while other examples, such as
pinball Pinball games are a family of games in which a ball is propelled into a specially designed table where it bounces off various obstacles, scoring points either en route or when it comes to rest. Historically the board was studded with nails call ...
,
billiards Cue sports are a wide variety of Game of skill, games of skill played with a cue stick, cue, which is used to strike billiard balls and thereby cause them to move around a Baize, cloth-covered billiards table, table bounded by elastic bumpers kn ...
,
air hockey Air hockey is a ''Pong ''Pong'' is a table tennis–themed Twitch_gameplay, twitch arcade sports video game, featuring simple 2D computer graphics, two-dimensional graphics, manufactured by Atari, Inc, Atari and originally released in 1972 ...
, foosball, and
table hockey A table hockey game, also called rod hockey game, stick hockey, bubble hockey, and board hockey, is a game for two players, derived from ice hockey Ice hockey (or simply hockey) is a team sport played on ice skates, usually on an Ice rink ...
require specialized tables or other self-contained modules on which the game is played. The advent of home video game systems largely replaced some of these, such as table hockey, however air hockey, billiards, pinball and foosball remain popular fixtures in private and public game rooms. These games and others, as they require reflexes and coordination, are generally performed more poorly by intoxicated persons but are unlikely to result in injury because of this; as such the games are popular as
drinking games Drinking games are game A game is a structured form of play (activity), play, usually undertaken for enjoyment, entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Many games are also considered to be work (such as professio ...
. In addition, dedicated drinking games such as quarters and
beer pong Beer pong, also known as Beirut, is a drinking game in which players throw a ping pong ball across a table with the intent of landing the ball in a cup of beer on the other end. The game typically consists of opposing teams of two or more player ...
also involve physical coordination and are popular for similar reasons.


Board games

Board games use as a central tool a board on which the players' status, resources, and progress are tracked using physical tokens. Many also involve
dice Dice (singular die or dice) are small, throwable objects with marked sides that can rest in multiple positions. They are used for generating Statistical randomness, random values, commonly as part of tabletop games, including List of dice game ...
or cards. Most games that simulate war are board games (though a large number of video games have been created to simulate strategic combat), and the board may be a map on which the players' tokens move. Virtually all board games involve "turn-based" play; one player contemplates and then makes a move, then the next player does the same, and a player can only act on their turn. This is opposed to "real-time" play as is found in some card games, most sports and most video games. Some games, such as
chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and shogi (Japanese chess). The current ...
and Go, are entirely deterministic, relying only on the strategy element for their interest. Such games are usually described as having "
perfect information In economics Economics () is the social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behav ...
"; the only unknown is the exact thought processes of one's opponent, not the outcome of any unknown event inherent in the game (such as a card draw or die roll). Children's games, on the other hand, tend to be very luck-based, with games such as
Candy Land ''Candy Land'' (also ''Candyland'') is a simple racing In sport, racing is a competition of speed, in which competitors try to complete a given task in the shortest amount of time. Typically this involves :wikt:traverse, traversing some di ...
and Chutes and Ladders having virtually no decisions to be made. By some definitions, such as that by Greg Costikyan, they are not games since there are no decisions to make which affect the outcome. Many other games involving a high degree of luck do not allow direct attacks between opponents; the random event simply determines a gain or loss in the standing of the current player within the game, which is independent of any other player; the "game" then is actually a "race" by definitions such as Crawford's. Most other board games combine strategy and luck factors; the game of
backgammon Backgammon is a two-player board game Board games are tabletop games that typically use . These pieces are moved or placed on a pre-marked board (playing surface) and often include elements of Tabletop game, table, Card game, card, Role-pla ...
requires players to decide the best strategic move based on the roll of two
dice Dice (singular die or dice) are small, throwable objects with marked sides that can rest in multiple positions. They are used for generating Statistical randomness, random values, commonly as part of tabletop games, including List of dice game ...
. Trivia games have a great deal of randomness based on the questions a person gets. German-style board games are notable for often having rather less of a luck factor than many board games. Board game groups include
race games Race game is a large category of board games, in which the object is to be the first to move all one's pieces to the end of a track. This is both the earliest type of board game known, with implements and representations dating back to at least t ...
, roll-and-move games,
abstract strategy games Abstract strategy games admit a number of definitions which distinguish these from strategy games in general, mostly involving no or minimal theme (narrative), narrative theme, outcomes determined only by player choice (with no randomness), and pe ...
,
word games Word games (also called word game puzzle A puzzle is a game, Problem solving, problem, or toy that tests a person's ingenuity or knowledge. In a puzzle, the solver is expected to put pieces together (Disentanglement puzzle, or take them apar ...
, and
wargames ''WarGames'' is a 1983 American science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to Sci-Fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science ...
, as well as
trivia Trivia is information and data that are considered to be of little value. It can be contrasted with general knowledge and common sense. Latin Etymology The ancient Ancient Rome, Romans used the word ''triviae'' to describe where one road sp ...
and other elements. Some board games fall into multiple groups or incorporate elements of other genres:
Cranium The skull is a bone protective Cranial cavity, cavity for the brain. The skull is composed of four types of bone i.e., cranial bones, facial bones, ear ossicles and hyoid bone. However two parts are more prominent: the cranium and the mandible ...
is one popular example, where players must succeed in each of four skills: artistry, live performance, trivia, and language.


Card games

Card games use a deck of cards as their central tool. These cards may be a standard
Anglo-American Anglo-Americans are people who are English-speaking inhabitants of Anglo-America. It typically refers to the nations and ethnic groups in the Americas that speak English as a native language, making up the majority of people in the world who spe ...
(52-card) deck of
playing cards A playing card is a piece of specially prepared card stock, heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper, cotton-paper blend, or thin plastic that is marked with distinguishing motifs. Often the front (face) and back of each card has a Pap ...
(such as for
bridge A bridge is a structure built to span a physical obstacle (such as a body of water, valley, road, or rail) without blocking the way underneath. It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle, which is usually someth ...
,
poker Poker is a family of comparing card games in which players wager over which hand is best according to that specific game's rules. It is played worldwide, however in some places the rules may vary. While the earliest known form of the game ...
,
Rummy Rummy is a group of matching-card games notable for similar gameplay based on matching playing cards, cards of the same rank or sequence and same suit. The basic goal in any form of rummy is to build ''Meld (cards), melds'' which can be either ...
, etc.), a regional deck using 32, 36 or 40 cards and different suit signs (such as for the popular German game skat), a tarot deck of 78 cards (used in Europe to play a variety of
trick-taking game A trick-taking game is a card game, card or tile-based game in which play of a ''Hand (card games), hand'' centers on a series of finite rounds or units of play, called ''tricks'', which are each evaluated to determine a winner or ''taker'' of th ...
s collectively known as Tarot, Tarock or Tarocchi games), or a deck specific to the individual game (such as '' Set'' or
1000 Blank White Cards 1000 Blank White Cards is a party game Party games are games that are played at social gatherings to facilitate Social interaction, interaction and provide entertainment and recreation. Categories include (explicit) icebreaker (facilitation), ...
). Uno and Rook are examples of games that were originally played with a standard deck and have since been commercialized with customized decks. Some
collectible card game A collectible card game (CCG), also called a trading card game (TCG) among other names, is a type of card game that mixes strategy game, strategic deck building elements with features of trading cards, introduced with ''Magic: The Gathering'' in ...
s such as '' Magic: The Gathering'' are played with a small selection of cards that have been collected or purchased individually from large available sets. Some board games include a deck of cards as a gameplay element, normally for randomization or to keep track of game progress. Conversely, some card games such as
Cribbage Cribbage, or crib, is a card game A card game is any game using playing cards as the primary device with which the game is played, be they traditional or game-specific. Countless card games exist, including families of related games (su ...
use a board with movers, normally to keep score. The differentiation between the two genres in such cases depends on which element of the game is foremost in its play; a board game using cards for random actions can usually use some other method of randomization, while Cribbage can just as easily be scored on paper. These elements as used are simply the traditional and easiest methods to achieve their purpose.


Dice games

Dice games use a number of
dice Dice (singular die or dice) are small, throwable objects with marked sides that can rest in multiple positions. They are used for generating Statistical randomness, random values, commonly as part of tabletop games, including List of dice game ...
as their central element. Board games often use dice for a randomization element, and thus each roll of the dice has a profound impact on the outcome of the game, however dice games are differentiated in that the dice do not determine the success or failure of some other element of the game; they instead are the central indicator of the person's standing in the game. Popular dice games include ''
Yahtzee Yahtzee is a dice game made by Milton Bradley Company, Milton Bradley (a company that has since been acquired and assimilated by Hasbro). It was first marketed under the name of Yahtzee by game entrepreneur Edwin S. Lowe in 1956. The game is a ...
'',
Farkle Farkle, or Farkel, is a dice game Dice games are games that use or incorporate one or more dice as their sole or central component, usually as a random device. The following are games which largely, if not entirely, depend on dice: Collectible ...
,
Bunco Bunco (also spelled bunko or bonko) is a dice game generally played with twelve or more players, divided into groups of four, trying to score points while taking turns rolling three dice in a series of six rounds. A bunco is achieved when a pe ...
, Liar's dice/ Perudo, and Poker dice. As dice are, by their very nature, designed to produce apparently random numbers, these games usually involve a high degree of luck, which can be directed to some extent by the player through more strategic elements of play and through tenets of
probability theory Probability theory is the branch of mathematics concerned with probability. Although there are several different probability interpretations, probability theory treats the concept in a rigorous mathematical manner by expressing it through a set o ...
. Such games are thus popular as gambling games; the game of
Craps Craps is a dice game in which players gambling, bet on the outcomes of the roll of a pair of dice. Players can wager money against each other (playing #Rules of play against other players ("Street Craps"), "street craps") or against a bank (" ...
is perhaps the most famous example, though Liar's dice and Poker dice were originally conceived of as gambling games.


Domino and tile games

Domino games are similar in many respects to card games, but the generic device is instead a set of tiles called
dominoes Dominoes is a family of tile-based game A tile-based game is a game that uses tiles as one of the fundamental elements of play. Traditional tile-based games use small tiles as playing pieces for gambling or entertainment games. Some board ...
, which traditionally each have two ends, each with a given number of dots, or "pips", and each combination of two possible end values as it appears on a tile is unique in the set. The games played with dominoes largely center around playing a domino from the player's "hand" onto the matching end of another domino, and the overall object could be to always be able to make a play, to make all open endpoints sum to a given number or multiple, or simply to play all dominoes from one's hand onto the board. Sets vary in the number of possible dots on one end, and thus of the number of combinations and pieces; the most common set historically is ''double-six'', though in more recent times "extended" sets such as ''double-nine'' have been introduced to increase the number of dominoes available, which allows larger hands and more players in a game.
Muggins Muggins, sometimes also called All Fives, is a domino game played with any of the commonly available sets. Although suitable for up to four players, Muggins is described by John McLeod as "a good, quick two player game".
,
Mexican Train Mexican Train is a game played with domino Dominoes is a family of tile-based games played with gaming pieces, commonly known as dominoes. Each domino is a rectangular tile, usually with a line dividing its face into two square ''ends''. Each ...
, and Chicken Foot are very popular domino games.
Texas 42 42, also known as Texas 42, is a trick-taking game played with a standard set of double six dominoes. 42 is often referred to as the "state game of Texas". Tournaments are held in many towns, and the State Championship tournament is held annu ...
is a domino game more similar in its play to a "trick-taking"
card game A card game is any game using playing cards as the primary device with which the game is played, be they traditional or game-specific. Countless card games exist, including families of related games (such as poker). A small number of card ga ...
. Variations of traditional dominoes abound: Triominoes are similar in theory but are triangular and thus have three values per tile. Similarly, a game known as Quad-Ominos uses four-sided tiles. Some other games use tiles in place of cards;
Rummikub ''Rummikub'' () is a tile-based game A tile-based game is a game that uses tiles as one of the fundamental elements of play. Traditional tile-based games use small tiles as playing pieces for gambling or entertainment games. Some board game ...
is a variant of the
Rummy Rummy is a group of matching-card games notable for similar gameplay based on matching playing cards, cards of the same rank or sequence and same suit. The basic goal in any form of rummy is to build ''Meld (cards), melds'' which can be either ...
card game family that uses tiles numbered in ascending rank among four colors, very similar in makeup to a 2-deck "pack" of Anglo-American
playing cards A playing card is a piece of specially prepared card stock, heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper, cotton-paper blend, or thin plastic that is marked with distinguishing motifs. Often the front (face) and back of each card has a Pap ...
.
Mahjong Mahjong or mah-jongg (English pronunciation: ) is a tile-based game that was developed in the 19th century in China and has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. It is commonly played by four players (with some three-play ...
is another game very similar to
Rummy Rummy is a group of matching-card games notable for similar gameplay based on matching playing cards, cards of the same rank or sequence and same suit. The basic goal in any form of rummy is to build ''Meld (cards), melds'' which can be either ...
that uses a set of tiles with card-like values and art. Lastly, some games use graphical tiles to form a board layout, on which other elements of the game are played. Settlers of Catan and
Carcassonne Carcassonne (, also , , ; ; la, Carcaso) is a French fortified city in the department of Aude, in the region of Occitanie. It is the prefecture of the department. Inhabited since the Neolithic, Carcassonne is located in the plain of th ...
are examples. In each, the "board" is made up of a series of tiles; in Settlers of Catan the starting layout is random but static, while in Carcassonne the game is played by "building" the board tile-by-tile. Hive, an abstract strategy game using tiles as moving pieces, has mechanical and strategic elements similar to
chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and shogi (Japanese chess). The current ...
, although it has no board; the pieces themselves both form the layout and can move within it.


Pencil and paper games

Pencil and paper games require little or no specialized equipment other than writing materials, though some such games have been commercialized as board games (''
Scrabble ''Scrabble'' is a word game in which two to four players score points by placing tiles, each bearing a single letter, onto a Board game, game board divided into a 15×15 grid of squares. The tiles must form words that, in crossword fashion, ...
'', for instance, is based on the idea of a
crossword puzzle A crossword is a word A word is a basic element of language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means b ...
, and
tic-tac-toe Tic-tac-toe (American English), noughts and crosses (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), or Xs and Os (Canadian English, Canadian or Hiberno-English, Irish English) is a paper-and-pencil game for two players who ta ...
sets with a boxed grid and pieces are available commercially). These games vary widely, from games centering on a design being drawn such as ''
Pictionary ''Pictionary'' (, ) is a charades-inspired word-guessing game invented by Robert Angel with graphic design by Gary Everson and first published in 1985 by Angel Games Inc. Angel Games licensed Pictionary to Western Publishing Western ...
'' and "connect-the-dots" games like sprouts, to letter and word games such as ''
Boggle ''Boggle'' is a word game invented by Allan Turoff and originally distributed by Parker Brothers. The game is played using a plastic grid of lettered dice, in which players look for words in sequences of adjacent letters. Rules One player begi ...
'' and ''
Scattergories ''Scattergories'' is a creative-thinking category-based party game Party games are games that are played at social gatherings to facilitate Social interaction, interaction and provide entertainment and recreation. Categories include (expli ...
'', to solitaire and logic puzzle games such as
Sudoku Sudoku (; ja, 数独, sūdoku, digit-single; originally called Number Place) is a logic Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both Mathematical logic, formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of Validity (logi ...
and
crossword puzzles A crossword is a Word game, word puzzle that usually takes the form of a Square (geometry), square or a rectangular Grid graph, grid of white- and black-shaded squares. The goal is to fill the white squares with letter (alphabet), letters, form ...
.


Guessing games

A guessing game has as its core a piece of information that one player knows, and the object is to coerce others into guessing that piece of information without actually divulging it in text or spoken word.
Charades Charades (, ). is a parlor game, parlor or party game, party word game, word guessing game. Originally, the game was a dramatic form of literary charades: a single person would act out each syllable of a word or phrase in order, followed by the w ...
is probably the most well-known game of this type, and has spawned numerous commercial variants that involve differing rules on the type of communication to be given, such as ''
Catch Phrase A catchphrase (alternatively spelled catch phrase) is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Such phrases often originate in popular culture and in the arts, and typically spread through word of mouth and a variety of mass ...
'', ''
Taboo A taboo or tabu is a social group's ban, prohibition, or avoidance of something (usually an utterance or behavior) based on the group's sense that it is excessively repulsive, sacred, or allowed only for certain persons.''Encyclopædia Britannica ...
'', ''
Pictionary ''Pictionary'' (, ) is a charades-inspired word-guessing game invented by Robert Angel with graphic design by Gary Everson and first published in 1985 by Angel Games Inc. Angel Games licensed Pictionary to Western Publishing Western ...
'', and similar. The genre also includes many
game shows A game show is a genre of broadcast viewing entertainment (radio, television, internet, stage or other) where contestants compete for a reward. These programs can either be participatory or Let's Play, demonstrative and are typically directed b ...
such as ''
Win, Lose or Draw ''Win, Lose or Draw'' is an American television Television, sometimes shortened to TV, is a telecommunication medium for transmitting moving images and sound. The term can refer to a television set, or the medium of Transmission (tele ...
'', ''
Password A password, sometimes called a passcode (for example in Apple Inc., Apple devices), is secret data, typically a string of characters, usually used to confirm a user's identity. Traditionally, passwords were expected to be memorized, but the lar ...
'' and '' $25,000 Pyramid''.


Video games

Video games are computer- or
microprocessor A microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit, or a small number of integrated circuits. The microprocessor contains the arithmetic, logic, and control circu ...
-controlled games. Computers can create virtual spaces for a wide variety of game types. Some video games simulate conventional game objects like cards or dice, while others can simulate environs either grounded in reality or fantastical in design, each with its own set of rules or goals. A computer or video game uses one or more
input device In computing, an input device is a piece of equipment used to provide data and control signals to an information processing system, such as a computer or information appliance. Examples of input devices include keyboards, mouse, scanners, cameras ...
s, typically a
button A button is a fastener that joins two pieces of fabric together by slipping through a loop or by sliding through a buttonhole. In modern clothing and fashion design, buttons are commonly made of plastic but also may be made of metal, wood, o ...
/
joystick A joystick, sometimes called a flight stick, is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. A joystick, also known as the control column, is the principal cont ...
combination (on
arcade games An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are presented as primarily game of skill, games of skill and in ...
); a keyboard,
mouse A mouse (plural, : mice) is a small rodent. Characteristically, mice are known to have a pointed snout, small rounded ears, a body-length scaly tail, and a high breeding rate. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse (''Mus mus ...
or
trackball A trackball is a pointing device consisting of a ball held by a socket containing sensors to detect a rotation of the ball about two axes—like an upside-down ball mouse (computing), mouse with an exposed protruding ball. Users roll the ball t ...
(
computer games A personal computer game, also known as a PC game or computer game, is a type of video game played on a personal computer (PC) rather than a video game console or arcade cabinet, arcade machine. Its defining characteristics include: more divers ...
); or a controller or a motion sensitive tool (
console games A console game is a type of video game consisting of images and often sounds generated by a video game console, which are displayed on a television or similar audio-video system, and that can be manipulated by a player. This manipulation usually ...
). More esoteric devices such as paddle controllers have also been used for input. There are many genres of video game; the first commercial video game, ''
Pong ''Pong'' is a table tennis–themed Twitch_gameplay, twitch arcade sports video game, featuring simple 2D computer graphics, two-dimensional graphics, manufactured by Atari, Inc, Atari and originally released in 1972. It was one of the earliest ...
'', was a simple simulation of
table tennis Table tennis, also known as ping-pong and whiff-whaff, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight ball, also known as the ping-pong ball, back and forth across a table using small solid rackets. It takes place on a hard table div ...
. As processing power increased, new genres such as adventure and action games were developed that involved a player guiding a character from a third person perspective through a series of obstacles. This "real-time" element cannot be easily reproduced by a board game, which is generally limited to "turn-based" strategy; this advantage allows video games to simulate situations such as combat more realistically. Additionally, the playing of a video game does not require the same physical skill, strength or danger as a real-world representation of the game, and can provide either very realistic, exaggerated or impossible physics, allowing for elements of a fantastical nature, games involving physical violence, or simulations of sports. Lastly, a computer can, with varying degrees of success, simulate one or more human opponents in traditional table games such as
chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and shogi (Japanese chess). The current ...
, leading to simulations of such games that can be played by a single player. In more open-ended computer simulations, also known as sandbox-style games, the game provides a virtual environment in which the player may be free to do whatever they like within the confines of this universe. Sometimes, there is a lack of goals or opposition, which has stirred some debate on whether these should be considered "games" or "toys". (Crawford specifically mentions Will Wright's ''
SimCity ''SimCity'' is an Open-ended (gameplay), open-ended City-building game, city-building video game series originally designed by Will Wright (game designer), Will Wright. The first game in the series, ''SimCity (1989 video game), SimCity'', was ...
'' as an example of a toy.)


Online games

Online games An online game is a video game that is either partially or primarily played through the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to ...
have been part of culture from the very earliest days of networked and
time-share A timeshare (sometimes called vacation ownership) is a property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property ...
d computers. Early commercial systems such as
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thou ...
were at least as widely famous for their games as for their strictly educational value. In 1958, '' Tennis for Two'' dominated Visitor's Day and drew attention to the
oscilloscope An oscilloscope (informally a scope) is a type of electronic test instrument that graphically displays varying electrical voltages as a two-dimensional plot of one or more signals as a function of time. The main purposes are to display repetitiv ...
at the
Brookhaven National Laboratory Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratories, United States Department of Energy national laboratory located in Upton, New York, Upton, Long Island, and was formally established in 1947 at th ...
; during the 1980s,
Xerox PARC PARC (Palo Alto Research Center; formerly Xerox PARC) is a research and development company in Palo Alto, California. Founded in 1969 by Jack Goldman, Jacob E. "Jack" Goldman, chief scientist of Xerox Corporation, the company was originally a div ...
was known mainly for ''
Maze War ''Maze'', also known as ''Maze War'', is a 3D multiplayer first-person shooter list of maze video games, maze game originally developed in 1973 and expanded in 1974. The first version was developed by high school students Steve Colley, Greg Thomp ...
'', which was offered as a hands-on demo to visitors. Modern online games are played using an Internet connection; some have dedicated
client Client(s) or The Client may refer to: * Client (business) In business, commerce, and economics, a client is a person who receives advice or services from a professional, such as a lawyer or a health care provider. Clients differ from customers i ...
programs, while others require only a
web browser A web browser is application software for accessing websites. When a User (computing), user requests a web page from a particular website, the browser retrieves its Computer file, files from a web server and then displays the page on the user' ...
. Some simpler browser games appeal to more casual gaming demographic groups (notably older audiences) that otherwise play very few video games.


Role-playing games

Role-playing games, often abbreviated as RPGs, are a type of game in which the participants (usually) assume the roles of characters acting in a fictional setting. The original role playing games – or at least those explicitly marketed as such – are played with a handful of participants, usually face-to-face, and keep track of the developing fiction with pen and paper. Together, the players may collaborate on a story involving those characters; create, develop, and "explore" the setting; or vicariously experience an adventure outside the bounds of everyday life. Pen-and-paper role-playing games include, for example, ''
Dungeons & Dragons ''Dungeons & Dragons'' (commonly abbreviated as ''D&D'' or ''DnD'') is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The game was first published in 1974 by TSR (company)#Tactical Studies Rules ...
'' and ''
GURPS The ''Generic Universal RolePlaying System'', or ''GURPS'', is a Role-playing game (pen and paper), tabletop role-playing game system designed to allow for play in any game setting. It was created by Steve Jackson Games and first published in 1986 ...
''. The term ''role-playing game'' has also been appropriated by the video game industry to describe a genre of video games. These may be single-player games where one player experiences a programmed environment and story, or they may allow players to interact through the internet. The experience is usually quite different from traditional role-playing games. Single-player games include ''
Final Fantasy is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on ...
'', ''
Fable Fable is a literary genre: a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse (poetry), verse, that features animals, legendary creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature that are Anthropomorphism, anthropomorphized, and that illustrat ...
'', ''
The Elder Scrolls ''The Elder Scrolls'' is a series of Action role-playing game, action role-playing video games primarily developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The series focuses on Nonlinear gameplay, free-form gameplay in an ...
'', and ''
Mass Effect ''Mass Effect'' is a military science fiction media franchise created by Casey Hudson, Drew Karpyshyn and Preston Watamaniuk. The franchise depicts a distant future where humanity and several alien civilizations have colonized the known univers ...
''. Online multi-player games, often referred to as Massively Multiplayer Online role playing games, or MMORPGs, include ''
RuneScape ''RuneScape'' is a fantasy Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving Magic (supernatural), magical elements, typically set in a fictional universe and sometimes inspired by mythology and folklore. Its roots are in oral tra ...
'', ''
EverQuest 2 ''EverQuest II'' is a 3D fantasy Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving Magic (supernatural), magical elements, typically set in a fictional universe and sometimes inspired by mythology and folklore. Its roots are in oral ...
'', ''
Guild Wars ''Guild Wars'' is an online role-playing game franchise developed by ArenaNet and published by NCSOFT. The games were critically well received and won many editor's choice awards, as well as awards such as Best Value, Best Massively Multiplay ...
'', ''
MapleStory ''MapleStory'' () is a free-to-play Free-to-play (F2P or FtP) video games are games that give players access to a significant portion of their content without paying or do not require paying to continue playing. Free-to-play is distinct fr ...
'', '' Anarchy Online'', and '' Dofus''. , the most successful MMORPG has been ''
World of Warcraft ''World of Warcraft'' (''WoW'') is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. Set in the ''Warcraft'' fantasy universe, ''World of Warcraft'' takes place within the world of Azeroth ...
'', which controls the vast majority of the market.


Business games

Business games can take a variety of forms, from interactive board games to interactive games involving different props (balls, ropes, hoops, etc.) and different kinds of activities. The purpose of these games is to link to some aspect of organizational performance and to generate discussions about business improvement. Many business games focus on organizational behaviors. Some of these are computer simulations while others are simple designs for play and debriefing. Team building is a common focus of such activities.


Simulation

The term "game" can include simulation or re-enactment of various activities or use in "real life" for various purposes: e.g.,
training Training is teaching, or developing in oneself or others, any skills and knowledge or fitness that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one's capability, capacity, productivity and performanc ...
, analysis, prediction. Well-known examples are
war games A wargame is a strategy game in which two or more players command opposing armed forces in a realistic simulation of an armed conflict. Wargaming may be played for recreation, to train military officers in the art of strategic thinking, or to s ...
and
role-playing Role-playing or roleplaying is the changing of one's behaviour to assume a role A role (also rôle or social role) is a set of connected behaviors, rights, moral obligation, obligations, beliefs, and social norm, norms as conceptualized by peop ...
. The root of this meaning may originate in the human prehistory of games deduced by
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, societies, and linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because i ...
from observing
primitive culture ''Primitive Culture'' is an 1871 book by Edward Burnett Tylor. In his book, Tylor debates the relationship between "primitive" societies, and "civilized" societies, a key theme in 19th century anthropological literature. Evolutionism Tylor's ...
s, in which children's games mimic the activities of adults to a significant degree:
hunting Hunting is the human activity, human practice of seeking, pursuing, capturing, or killing wildlife or feral animals. The most common reasons for humans to hunt are to harvest food (i.e. meat) and useful animal products (fur/hide (skin), hide, ...
, warring,
nursing Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life (healthcare), quality of life. Nurses may be diffe ...
, etc. These kinds of games are preserved in modern times.


See also

* Game club *
Gamer A gamer is a proactive hobbyist who Player (game), plays interactive games, especially video games, tabletop role-playing games, and skill-based card games, and who plays for usually long periods of time. Some gamers are competitive, meaning ...
* Girls' games and toys *
History of games The history of games dates to the ancient human past. Games are an integral part of all cultures and are one of the oldest forms of human social interaction. Games are formalized expressions of play which allow people to go beyond immediate imagi ...
* Learning through play * List of games *
Ludibrium Ludibrium is a word derived from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latiu ...
*
Ludology Game studies, also known as ludology (from ''ludus'', "game", and ''-logia'', "study", "research"), is the study of games, the act of playing them, and the players and cultures surrounding them. It is a field of cultural studies that deals with ...
* Ludomania *
Mobile game A mobile game, or smartphone game, is a video game that is typically played on a mobile phone. The term also refers to all games that are played on any portable device, including from mobile phone (feature phone or smartphone), tablet computer, ...
* N-player game *
Personal computer game A personal computer game, also known as a PC game or computer game, is a type of video game played on a personal computer (PC) rather than a video game console or arcade cabinet, arcade machine. Its defining characteristics include: more divers ...


References


Further reading

* Avedon, Elliot; Sutton-Smith, Brian, ''The Study of Games''. (Philadelphia: Wiley, 1971), reprinted Krieger, 1979. {{Authority control 26th-century BC establishments Leisure activities