Saturday, May 07, 2005

What A Game Is

I must have something skewed in my brain here because the more I read about game theory the more I realise that people have different opinions on what games are.

So far I have come across:
  • Interactive Movie/story
  • Mind exercising activity
  • Learning about something (refers to a game educating the play about a skill or world)
  • Interactive universe
  • Multimedia puzzle
People always make the comparison between videogames and Movies or Stories, then tag on the interactive bit, but never once has anybody said that video games are a form of immersive media. And that is what games have always been for me, ever since I first seen Settlers. When I seen that I didn't see a challenge or a puzzle to be solved. What I seen was the chance to become leader of a colony of settlers trying to build a home in a new world around a castle. And I was the chief architect and it was my job to lead these people forwards. Now for a young child this was probably the first experience of importance and responsibility that I had ever felt, because while playing Settlers I was someone important, not just in my mind, but in this digital world and I adored doing this job for these people.

For me games have always been an immersive experience that I have used purely as escapism, to immerse myself in another world and playout a character's life and experiences or to takeon the role of someone else in a virtual world, was always the greatest joy I ever had. Now the industry has changed and I am slowly learning that it is because the people at the driving wheel of the industry, and the vast majority of people participating in the industry, either developing or playing, see things very differently.