The Definition of Terms

This week I researched different commonly used terms used in the study of game design and game development. The task was to find two different meanings to commonly used terms that are often differently viewed between different people, and then define them myself. I found Chris Crawford’s writing ‘The Art of Computer Game Design’ the most relatable of all the sources I looked at. He himself understands that in order to understand games and game design, you must determine what the word ‘game’ means (Crawford, 1982). From his writing and others (which I will mention shortly) I was able to recognise my own interpretation of these terms.

Simulation to me is an activity created from a set of rules and/or elements derived from a specific existing event. Crawford’s idea is that simulation uses set rules/elements within and event to portray possible outcomes of an activity, event or situation (Crawford, 1982). As a personal lover of simulation games above all others, I believe that simulation is creating an environment for a player that allows them to explore a reoccurrence of an existing event. Whereas Crawford’s writing explains that simulation is a rule or element added to an environment to create a possible outcome. Again similar to Crawford’s ideas I believe that interaction is when two players/people are involved in an activity/game together. In games, this would be either through the social atmosphere of a video game, or a physical involvement in an activity e.g. board games, physical games.

From reading Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals by Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salen I found a better understanding of the word play. The writing describes play as ‘the opposite of serious’ (Eric Zimmerman, 2004). That statement itself describes what I think play means really well, to me the best way to describe it would be as an activity with no other purpose than to entertain. Again I agree with Zimmerman on his definition of ‘Game’ and similar to his ideas I believe that Game means an event that has a set of rules, structure, conflict and a definable outcome.

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