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What is actually a game?

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This question haunted me while I was thinking which one of my ideas would actually would make a bestseller game. I'm a guy who enjoys puzzle games (as strange as it sounds in our Assassin's Creeds and Crysis driven days). I spend my times with Pentominos, play 4-5 hours of Tetris (which is one hell of a brilliant game!), like the game Hexic, Dwice and many others! Usually russian, they make good puzzle games. Playing Tetris today, I realized that all the good games that I used to like 10 years ago, today are dust. Who of you remember Aegis, Guardian of the Fleet? Eye of the Beholder II? Dune I? And even the good old Tengen Tetris game for the NES. Played Crysis the last day, have a quad core system with a 8600 GTS card, can play it up on medium with no problems. Trouble is that after staring at the scenery for half an hour, and actually started to play the game, I got bored. Now, I never got bored of Doom, Wolfenstein 3D and even Rise of the Triad. So my question is, am I cuku or there are not really any good video games on the market today? I have the impression are concentrating on the video part a little bit to much and not on the game part. I have several game ideas, based on tactics and strategy and even puzzle games, my question is, would I starve to death trying to sell them?

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Diagnose: you like casual games more than 'hardcore' games. You're not crazy.
Casual games is in fact the biggest slice of the games pie, measured in number of players and probably in financial terms as well.

I play more small games than major titles too, but mostly because I don't want to spend all my spare time playing games.

Edit: or were you looking for an answer to question posed in the topic's title? The contents of the post seem to have little to do with.

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Quote:
Original post by Tegramon
I have several game ideas... would I starve to death trying to sell them?

Yes. Read FAQ 1.
But your question is totally different from your subject line. I expected this to be one of those posts about defining the word "game."

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Quote:
Original post by WanMaster
Casual games is in fact the biggest slice of the games pie, measured in number of players and probably in financial terms as well.


I've often heard this statement, so I am genuinely wondering if there is any actual proof for this (especially the financial side), or is it all down to assuming that everybody plays Solitaire at work?

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Quote:
Original post by Tegramon
Who of you remember Aegis, Guardian of the Fleet? Eye of the Beholder II? Dune I?
Funnily enough, I have very fond memories of Dune I. Any one know where I can find a copy? I am looking for the version with the extended graphics and sound though - I had a copy in '98, in the UK, so it can't be that hard to find.

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It's simple to describe a game and the difference between, for example, a game and a puzzle.


1) A creative expression:
- is it focussed on beaty? -> it's art
- is it focussed on money? -> it's entertainment (go to 2)

2) Entertainment:
- is it non-interactive? -> it are books, music, movies
- is it interactive? -> it are playthings (go to 3)

3) Playthings:
- does it Not have a goal? -> it's a toy
- does it Have a goal? -> it's a challenge (go to 4)

4) Challenge:
- does it have no competitor? -> it's a puzzle
- does it Have a competitor? -> it's a conflict (go to 5)

5) Conflict:
- are attacks Not allowed? -> it's a competition
- are attacks allowed? -> it's a game


This shows what seperates a challenge from a puzzle, a book from a conflict.
I hope this clears things up, it's taken from a book on gamedesign (title currently unknown to me, I had a copy just of that page).

According to the scheme presented above a virtual running match isn't a game, it's a competition. MahYong (however you write that) isn't a game, it's a puzzle. Some games aren't games, they are just advanced puzzles. I think simcity to a certain extent falls under this rule. With 'disasters' turned off it's no more than a sinkhole for strategic expressions.

And again according to That a game doesn't have to be 100% classified as a 'game'. It's still entertainment, I personally like digital simulations of puzzles and conflicts just as well. Some people even are happy with a digital toy and don't forget the Furby. That wasn't a game (if we forget it's hidden minigames). Don't let your creativity be limited by what is and what isn't classified as a game.

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Quote:
Original post by liqwiz
It's simple to describe a game and the difference between, for example, a game and a puzzle.


1) A creative expression:
- is it focussed on beaty? -> it's art
- is it focussed on money? -> it's entertainment (go to 2)

2) Entertainment:
- is it non-interactive? -> it are books, music, movies
- is it interactive? -> it are playthings (go to 3)

3) Playthings:
- does it Not have a goal? -> it's a toy
- does it Have a goal? -> it's a challenge (go to 4)

4) Challenge:
- does it have no competitor? -> it's a puzzle
- does it Have a competitor? -> it's a conflict (go to 5)

5) Conflict:
- are attacks Not allowed? -> it's a competition
- are attacks allowed? -> it's a game


So... it has to be focused on money to be a game? Sorry, that just doesn't make any sense in any level. What about chess or go? When did entertainment = money happen? And when did art = beauty happen? And why on earth books/literature/drama and movies/cinematography are not considered art?

Is boxing match a game or a competition? Is playing Counter Strike a game or competition? This definition seems totally ambiguous to me.

Uh, sorry, but that's just so wrong :)

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I largely agree with Wikipedia's definition of a game:

Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game
A game is a structured or semi-structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes also used as an educational tool. Games are generally distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more concerned with the expression of ideas. However, the distinction is not clear-cut, and many games are also considered to be work or art.


So if there's some structure to it, and you get enjoyment out of it, you can classify it as a game.

As for the discussion of games, I'm in the same boat. I bought GTA IV simply because it was GTA IV. I've played it maybe four times and it's been shelved since. I find myself more interested in smaller arcade style games and think that there is, tops, 3 AAA titles coming out the rest of this year I will consider buying.

As for profitability, there is definitely room there. Take games like Tetris, Bejeweled, and Peggle. These are games that tons of people love and play. Many people have purchased at least one of them on at least one platform. One nice benefit of the casual games market (especially in the puzzle area) is that it's fairly simple to put your game into everyone's hands. Depending on the game of course, it's much easier to take a casual PC game and move it to the Xbox or the web or to cell phones. All three games I mentioned earlier are on multiple, different platforms which helps them reach more gamers. Then you look at something like Crysis and realize you simply don't have that mobility without sacrificing everything the game really is (pretty graphics and fast-paced action). So being in the casual games market does open up the possibility of more consumers.

There was also a great article on Gamasutra interviewing PopCap games not too long ago. It's definitely worth a read if you are considering casual games as a market you want to shoot for: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3699/popcap_the_complexity_of_being_.php.

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