Interesting quote

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Steve Vosloo

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Nov 14, 2008, 2:18:20 AM11/14/08
to galsa
There is a discussion going on in a gaming mailing list about the definition of games. It seems like this discussion comes up often and doesn't have a definite answer -- different people hold different points of view. And that's probably fine. There was a link to a section in an article (http://www.costik.com/nowords.html) by Greg Costikyan, which caught my eye, though:

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According to Will Wright, his Sim City is not a game at all, but a toy. Wright offers a ball as an illuminating comparison: It offers many interesting behaviors, which you may explore. You can bounce it, twirl it, throw it, dribble it. And, if you wish, you may use it in a game: soccer, or basketball, or whatever. But the game is not intrinsic in the toy; it is a set of player-defined objectives overlaid on the toy.

Just so Sim City. Like many computer games, it creates a world which the player may manipulate, but unlike a real game, it provides no objective. Oh, you may choose one: to see if you can build a city without slums, perhaps. But Sim City itself has no victory conditions, no goals; it is a software toy.

A toy is interactive. But a game has goals.

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Interesting perspective. I've also heard it said that all games are simulations, but not all simulations are games.

--Steve

Danny Day

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Nov 24, 2008, 6:31:15 AM11/24/08
to Games and Learning South Africa
I'm aware of the toy/game distinction and use it quite a lot... Some
of the other interesting definitions of games that I've come across go
as follows:

A game has rules of play, a toy has an environment.

A game has scope for improvement, you can get better at playing it.

The latter is probably my favorite definition as it covers a broad
range of possible games but also makes a neat distinction between toys
(tools of play) and games: As soon as you apply a framework within
which you can improve on how you use a toy, you've got a game :)

Steve Vosloo wrote:
> There is a discussion going on in a gaming mailing list about the definition of games. It seems like this discussion comes up often and doesn't have a definite answer -- different people hold different points of view. And that's probably fine. There was a link to a section in an article (http://www.costik.com/nowords.html) by Greg Costikyan, which caught my eye, though:
> -----According to Will Wright, his Sim City is not a game at all, but a
> toy. Wright offers a ball as an illuminating comparison: It offers many
> interesting behaviors, which you may explore. You can bounce it, twirl it, throw
> it, dribble it. And, if you wish, you may use it in a game: soccer, or basketball, or
> whatever. But the game is not intrinsic in the toy; it is a set of player-defined
> objectives overlaid on the toy.
>
> Just so Sim City. Like many computer games, it creates a world
> which the player may manipulate, but unlike a real game, it provides no
> objective. Oh, you may choose one: to see if you can build a city without slums,
> perhaps. But Sim City itself has no victory conditions, no goals; it is a software
> toy.
>
> A toy is interactive. But a game has goals.-----Interesting perspective. I've also heard it said that all games are simulations, but not all simulations are games.--Steve
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