In nowadays almost every person in the world is playing game every day. ‘We have games you can play on your personal computer, your console, your handheld device…not to mention the games we still play on fields or on courts’ (McGonigal, 2011: 20). But what exactly a game is? Do we only play a game using different devices, cards and boards or play it on fields? Do we really know that we are playing a game?
Jane McGonigal gives us an idea that the game can be called a game only when it meets 4 defining traits; and all at once. ‘All games share four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation’ (McGonigal, 2011: 21). To see how these 4 traits are fundamental let’s take snooker for instance. While we are playing, we are playing of one's own free will, accepting all the rules, knowing our goals and getting feedback through a score card. We are doing it instead of taking all of the snooker balls and dropping each of them to the pockets using our hands.
Seemingly the definition of McGonigal may seem really easy and fully acceptable, however after careful consideration and analysis it becomes more complex. We may think that even our everyday duties can become a game even without knowing about it. For instance our degree is a game. We have a goal to successful finish it. We have rules that are the assignments and exams that we have to pass. We are doing it voluntarily and we getting feedback from our lecturers. However game to be exactly the game has to be interactive. ‘From war simulations to Bullletin Board System style chess to 3D computer games, digital technology has been inherently bound with interactivity and diversion’ (Flanagan, 2009: 226). If we will switch off a video game or just leave a room we would not be able to accept the rule, to gain a goal and received feedbacks. That all is only possible via our interaction using mouse, keyboard, controller or touch screen.
Jane McGonigal in the book ‘Reality is Broken’ give as a clear idea what really is a game and proved that we sometimes didn’t know that we are playing a game. However on the other hand she suggests that the game can only exist with human interaction what absolutely change our ideas that forms final definition of a game.
McGonigal, J., (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Penguin Press HC.
Flanagan, M. (2009). Critical Play: Radical Game Design. The MIT Press