Is It a Game?
I could not (but I really wanted) play Heavy Rain. The core feature is the very flexible story. Players can end up with a very different experience. It’s focused in the storytelling and reviews say that the lack of game over… the story always progresses.
_Lack of game over? Where is the challenge?__ ;Ok, here we go: Heavy Rain is a game? A more profound question: what is a game? This is the difference between a game and a puzzle? Or a simple challenge?
So let me define:
- Movies and books are not games. Games are interactive
- Jigsaws and puzzles are not games. Games must have multiple players;(even if they have different role). Not that we could assume that an AI could be considered a player as well
- Racing and swimming are not games. Gamers must interfere in the performance;of the other players
- Toys and sandboxes are not games. Games must have rules and objectives
So, games should be interactive, multiplayer, competitive, defined by rules and they have a goal. Clark Abt defines _“A game is an activity among two or more independent decision-makers seeking to achieve their objectives in some limiting context”.
The curious thing is that if we take this concept to actual games, mane famous video games are not… games. Sim City, The Sims, Monkey Island, City Ville, Portal, World of Goo and Heavy Rain and several others fail in at least one aspect that makes a game.
Knowing this is a good way to correct position products against each other.