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I was watching one of my favorite streamers play Five Nights at Freddie's 2 last night. He liked the concept of the game but he didn't like how it pretty much just copied FNaF1 and just made it more clicking. And then something strange started happening in chat; people where claiming that FNaF wasn't even a game. I asked them why they thought this and they gave several reason that generally just boiled down to, "Because I don't like it." but I found myself thinking about it again today and wanted to know what you guys think actually constitutes a game?

 

Personally I consider FNaF to be a game, even if it is more repetitive then most, and I enjoy it purely from a design point of view in that it has a design perhaps unique to it in the entirety of gaming.

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What builds up a game is on the course of having an interaction and gameplay. In other words, if a material does not have an interaction and gameplay, interactivity or something that has to do with you in control of something, then it is not a video game. There are games out there that you just watch, which is a popular genre of games right now, but you still set it up, interact and then watch the game going. Still, there is an interaction. FNaF is a video game, however, if we are talking about its play, style, delivery, design or anything that has to do with the core mechanics and gameplay, it is a cliche, almost redundant and bland as it is.

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The bare-bones requirements for a video game is:

 

1-You have a task, as in, a condition that makes it obvious you "win" or "lose" the game. In this case, it's either surviving till 6 AM, or getting killed by an animatronic before the deadline.

2-You have some degree of control over what happens in the game, usually by deciding the actions taken by a character. In FNAF, you have to choose when to use your lights, camera and doors/mask so that you can defend yourself from the attacks efficiently

3-The two aforementioned points are connected, ergo there is a causality between the player's actions and the game's outcome. In FNAF it is apparent: not managing your power supply or failing to protect yourself results in a loss.

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I recall the book "Rules of Play" having a some 20 page chapter about defining both "Game" and "Video Game" with the definitive answer being there is so such agreement on a definition, though there are a lot of good ones. Those good ones are essentially boiled down to those that all the previous posters here have said.

 

Personally, I would go a step further to define a Video Game as "software, or hardware that emulates software (inately this means it has rules), that is artistically designed to be interacted with, to give end-users feelings of (primarily) escapism or emotional enlightenment, though the act of interaction and results." That widely blankets pretty much anything that you could ever call a video game - but excludes things like Windows Media Player, DVD menus, pen and paper RPGs, and choose your own adventure books.

 

The people that persist in saying that "X isn't a game" must truly be the most boring, unimaginative, uncreative people this world can produce. How can your view of the world be so small, or how can you be so afraid / angry at the thought of something's classification? Call of Duty, Minecraft, Five Nights at Freddy's, Journey, The Path, Mountain, they're all games. Is there input? Is there output? Did you get something from that interaction? It's pretty much always a game. I can't think of any real exceptions.

Maybe you could argue things like The Flowers of Robert Mapplethorpe? As the menu selecting part of it is not the goal of the software, the results are. It's probably technically closer to something like archival software.

 

No the really good question is does a game require conflict?

You have to be pretty smart to debate that one, as it requires innate knowledge of the types of conflict in games, and a tight definition of conflict itself.

 

 

On another note what's wrong with Five Nights at Freddy's? How exactly is it cliche'? All those tropes of animatronics coming to life, uh, sure? All those first person point in click horror games out there that don't have the player character move, uh, what? In actuality, I find it ingeniously designed to compliment horror by playing with weakness and empowerment. Yeah, it's probably a lot more popular than it should be, and it's fans are disgustingly, pathetically, rabid. But honestly, I could have the exact same criticism for all the Final Fantasy games out there, just because I don't like it's fan-base and popularity, and my criticism would have just about as much validity it.

Edited by Chaosian

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The thing is, it hardly even matters what is or is not a game anymore. People use the term "video game" or even just "game" for a heck of a lot of things, especially nowadays when there is so many diverse examples. People can argue over what is or what isn't technically a game, but really even with examples of things that definitely are games often their "gameyness" isn't really the thing some people care about and instead talk about their story or even their graphics. Really "video game" might as well be called "entertainment software" at this point.

 

I mean is Dear Esther really a game? No, not really. The Stanley Parable? Depends if you count choosing a path for the story to take gameplay. How about visual novels? Sometimes, other times they are wholly linear and have no game elements at all. How about Gone Home? Well it does have puzzles. Five Nights at Freddie's? Sure, the game may not end up being very deep, but it's there. Sim City? Some versions don't really have goals and so can be argued they arn't really games. The Sims? The same. But all of these things are basically made and sold in the same way as any other thing people agree are games regardless if they are games or not. Heck Dear Esther and Stanley Parable share the same game engine as Half-Life 2 and Portal.

 

And anyway, did Bioshock get so popular because of it's first person shooter gameplay, or it's story, graphics and world? Did Portal do so well because of it's puzzles or because of it's snarky evil computer's personality? Do people really play most RPGs for it's battle systems or because of their story? I mean someone who likes something like Doom might not get into something like Dear Esther, but not all things have to appeal to everyone. I mean there are people who think Half-Life and Half-Life 2's story sequences where you take a break form running and shooting things are the best parts of the game while others think they are the worst. Can you blame some people for maybe wanting to take those story bits and remove all the actual action and gameplay while others want to do the opposite? Does doing either one or the other fundamentally change the fact that it's still the same medium?

 

In short, people need to either stop worrying about what is or isn't a game, or come up with a better term for the medium that actually reflects the kind of things that are made for it. I have no problem if Dear Esther was not called a game anymore, but I do have a problem with people saying it has no right to exist in the same shared medium.

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I recall the book "Rules of Play" having a some 20 page chapter about defining both "Game" and "Video Game" with the definitive answer being there is so such agreement on a definition, though there are a lot of good ones. Those good ones are essentially boiled down to those that all the previous posters here have said.

 

Personally, I would go a step further to define a Video Game as "software, or hardware that emulates software (inately this means it has rules), that is artistically designed to be interacted with, to give end-users feelings of (primarily) escapism or emotional enlightenment, though the act of interaction and results." That widely blankets pretty much anything that you could ever call a video game - but excludes things like Windows Media Player, DVD menus, pen and paper RPGs, and choose your own adventure books.

 

The people that persist in saying that "X isn't a game" must truly be the most boring, unimaginative, uncreative people this world can produce. How can your view of the world be so small, or how can you be so afraid / angry at the thought of something's classification? Call of Duty, Minecraft, Five Nights at Freddy's, Journey, The Path, Mountain, they're all games. Is there input? Is there output? Did you get something from that interaction? It's pretty much always a game. I can't think of any real exceptions.

Maybe you could argue things like The Flowers of Robert Mapplethorpe? As the menu selecting part of it is not the goal of the software, the results are. It's probably technically closer to something like archival software.

 

No the really good question is does a game require conflict?

You have to be pretty smart to debate that one, as it requires innate knowledge of the types of conflict in games, and a tight definition of conflict itself.

 

 

On another note what's wrong with Five Nights at Freddy's? How exactly is it cliche'? All those tropes of animatronics coming to life, uh, sure? All those first person point in click horror games out there that don't have the player character move, uh, what? In actuality, I find it ingeniously designed to compliment horror by playing with weakness and empowerment. Yeah, it's probably a lot more popular than it should be, and it's fans are disgustingly, pathetically, rabid. But honestly, I could have the exact same criticism for all the Final Fantasy games out there, just because I don't like it's fan-base and popularity, and my criticism would have just about as much validity it.

 

pretty agree, but have to say: Conflict is esential to tell a good story (but not a story by its own) so, if you want a game with a good story, you need to set a conflict. 

 

+

 

Tetris is the best game ever.

 

edit: @KilloZapit: People should learn what they really like xP. My own experience sais that most of them dont really know it.

Edited by Primeless

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pretty agree, but have to say: Conflict is esential to tell a good story (but not a story by its own) so, if you want a game with a good story, you need to set a conflict. 

 

+

 

Tetris is the best game ever.

 

I don't buy the idea that conflict is essential for a story, or at least that conflict is an element of a story you should really focus on. If you have to have to contently artificially make sure every event in your story always has to revolve around conflict you are not writing a good story, you are writing a soap opera. There have been tons of things with plots that basically have people standing around talking about things that have still been interesting. I am not saying eliminating conflict is a good idea I just am saying it should come naturally. I don't know if any of that actually has to do with the topic but, in some small way, I think it does kind of does. It reminds me a bit of the same kind of argument really. If you spend all day worrying about some "essential" feature your thing needs to be to be x, you are probably doing it wrong. It should either have it by the very nature of what you want to do or it doesn't need it.

 

edit: @KilloZapit: People should learn what they really like xP. My own experience sais that most of them dont really know it.

Really I think it's more the case that some people want a lot of varied things and others don't know the names of or how to explain what they want. And then there are a ton of people that just don't think about it, or people that know more what they don't want then what they do want.

Edited by KilloZapit

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pretty agree, but have to say: Conflict is esential to tell a good story (but not a story by its own) so, if you want a game with a good story, you need to set a conflict. 

 

+

 

Tetris is the best game ever.

 

I don't buy the idea that conflict is essential for a story, or at least that conflict is an element of a story you should really focus on. If you have to have to contently artificially make sure every event in your story always has to revolve around conflict you are not writing a good story, you are writing a soap opera. There have been tons of things with plots that basically have people standing around talking about things that have still been interesting. I am not saying eliminating conflict is a good idea I just am saying it should come naturally. I don't know if any of that actually has to do with the topic but, in some small way, I think it does kind of does. It reminds me a bit of the same kind of argument really. If you spend all day worrying about some "essential" feature your thing needs to be to be x, you are probably doing it wrong. It should either have it by the very nature of what you want to do or it doesn't need it.

 

edit: @KilloZapit: People should learn what they really like xP. My own experience sais that most of them dont really know it.

Really I think it's more the case that some people want a lot of varied things and others don't know the names of or how to explain what they want. And then there are a ton of people that just don't think about it, or people that know more what they don't want then what they do want.

 

 

 

i think i've explained myself pretty bad, maybe for language issues, as in spanish the word "conflict" don't mean necesarily a "violent conflict". 

 

I understand "conflict" as a fight between factions, but also, as the dudes a guy may have related to his love. I mean. If a guy is asking himself how to ask her girlfriend to marry, he is having a conflict with his ownself...

 

And, of course, it has to become naturally... and usually it matches with the charactersway of thinking and acting (or even talking).

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Any "game" that has ever existed has some kind of conflict within it, otherwise it isn't a game. It is a virtual competition between you, the player, and the game's mechanics that you work against. Whether that takes the form of a failure state, puzzle, or some other type of challenge varies all the time.

 

It is a virtual simulation if it allows for a complete experience of the entire game with 0% effort.

Edited by Stratomsk

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i think i've explained myself pretty bad, maybe for language issues, as in spanish the word "conflict" don't mean necesarily a "violent conflict".

 

I understand "conflict" as a fight between factions, but also, as the dudes a guy may have related to his love. I mean. If a guy is asking himself how to ask her girlfriend to marry, he is having a conflict with his ownself...

 

And, of course, it has to become naturally... and usually it matches with the charactersway of thinking and acting (or even talking).

Yeah that's basically the same in English. Another word that might work is "friction" really. I just deny that it's a good way of thinking about story dynamics, because doing so makes people try hard to artificially engineer it.

 

Any "game" that has ever existed has some kind of conflict within it, otherwise it isn't a game. It is a virtual competition between you, the player, and the game's mechanics that you work against. Whether that takes the form of a failure state, puzzle, or some other type of challenge varies all the time.

 

It is a virtual simulation if it allows for a complete experience of the entire game with 0% effort.

And what is wrong with a virtual simulation? I's a perfectly valid thing to want to design or play if that is what you are in to. It don't even have to have 0% effort involved to be counted as a virtual simulation either, just something without any explicit goals. I mean even Minecraft, one of the most popular "games" around is basically a virtual simulation. Okay yeah, they added a ending eventually and you can die, but even that is only one way to play the game. Many people just end up creating random stuff in it.

 

And anyway, is that really the same kind of conflict as the kind we were talking about? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, I am not sure. It sees like so many games end up having "excuse plots", like "The princess has been kidnapped! Save her!" that have a flimsy conflict that has very little to do with the actual conflict you have with the game mechanics.

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Its isn't wrong to call it a "Virtual Simulation" or "Art Game" as Jim Sterling would put it (look him up, hes great). Its just another way of doing a virtual experience of some description.

 

Minecraft is a video game for a number of reasons. In creative mode I guess you can make the argument that it is a virtual simulation of the creative process. Survival on the other hand has you fight against the mechanics the game throws at you such as: Hunger, Death, Inventory management and loss, ultimately survival.

 

That conflict between the game and yourself is the core of what makes it a "Game". Without any rules or mechanics it is simply a Virtual Simulation (which isn't a bad thing).

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I think the idea of games needing to have conflict with players is kind of odd. It sounds like the type of logic you would get if you were looking at a game as if it were a story in classically literary terms. Maybe challenge would be a better word to use, except games can end up boiling down to decision problems where there is either a clear optimum strategy or where a number of decisions are equally optimal but lead to different concisions. A games rules don't really have to conflict with the player or be a challenge to be a game, the rules just have to exist.

 

Now that I think about it even before video games there were things called Zero-Player Games where there is no player involved at all or the player is only involved in doing the mechanical aspects of the game without making decisions, and these are still called "games". Some could be called simulators, but the actual meaning of game really has more to do with rules and goals then anything else.

Edited by KilloZapit

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If the rules and methods in a video game simply exist, implying that they hold no interaction with the player, then by definition they cannot be considered to be rules because they are meant to create a "game state" where gameplay is formed for the player to interact with on a digital medium.

 

I tend to see video games as a technological extension of the oldest physical games that have existed in history because they all have to have rules and methods to those rules in order to create gameplay. I just call it conflict because the game is working against you in some way. You have to work with what its given you and do your best to proceed in the game. That conflict is what drives the gameplay. I don't like to use the word "challenge" because a lot of people have come to think of it as difficulty.

 

On that note, I don't think a game requires a story to be a video game. It certainly can help, but ultimately it is the underlying rules and methods that make it a video game. A story without gameplay is simply literature or a graphic novel, etc and wouldn't apply.

Edited by Stratomsk

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It depends on your formulation of what a game is. You could look at it like this: A rule is just a way to dictate how a state will evolve. A game state is fundamentally the same as a state as defined in computer science. A good example is the classic board game Snakes and Ladders. The player in Snakes and Ladders makes no real decisions, and the outcome is completely based on dice rolls. The only involvement the player has is they act as the "machine" on which the "software" on the game runs. Another example is the card game War. Now some people don't really count these as games, but they are still played as them.

 

Really though the only reason I bring this stuff up is partly to illustrate the kind of semantic arguments people have gotten into about what exactly games are since even before video games existed, but really mostly because it strikes me as interesting how games, computers and math can be seen to come together in interesting ways. Honestly though, I stand by what I said before, that "video game" is something that covers a lot of different things, not all of which are actually games, so it doesn't really matter how you define what a game is.

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Bear in mind that "conflict" doesn't have to be extrinsically driven. Minecraft, even the most basic of basic version of creative, is hardly just a 'simulator' as it promotes intrinsic conflict: "I see a void, I have the tools to fill this void, I should explore and fill this void".

 

Another interesting, and related point of this is to "make a game" of something. While I wouldn't call having fun with the cursor a DVD menu a Video Game by my definition (the action was not intended and designed to derive enjoyment from), "making a game" of something is an interesting nuance of the simplest zero-player games and art games that may be out there. 

 

As for zero player electronic games, and visual novels, they also still fit under my own definition of Video Games. They are intended for enjoyment through both interaction and results of interaction.

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Bear in mind that "conflict" doesn't have to be extrinsically driven. Minecraft, even the most basic of basic version of creative, is hardly just a 'simulator' as it promotes intrinsic conflict: "I see a void, I have the tools to fill this void, I should explore and fill this void".

 

Come on, don't you think that is kind of a huge stretch? Seeing something that can be done with a system and then doing it isn't conflict in any form, it's simple interaction. If there is any conflict in it at all, it's the conflict of needing to work with a system to get the results you want. By that logic, a paint program has the same conflict. "Oh, I make a new picture and have tools to draw stuff, I should draw something!" I think you are really trying too hard to force the idea of conflict there.

 

Though like I said, it's really more of a interesting semantic argument then a strict matter of categorization anyway, so it doesn't matter to me if Minecraft in creative is called a simulator or not.

Edited by KilloZapit

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Bear in mind that "conflict" doesn't have to be extrinsically driven. Minecraft, even the most basic of basic version of creative, is hardly just a 'simulator' as it promotes intrinsic conflict: "I see a void, I have the tools to fill this void, I should explore and fill this void".

 

Come on, don't you think that is kind of a huge stretch? Seeing something that can be done with a system and then doing it isn't conflict in any form, it's simple interaction. If there is any conflict in it at all, it's the conflict of needing to work with a system to get the results you want. By that logic, a paint program has the same conflict. "Oh, I make a new picture and have tools to draw stuff, I should draw something!" I think you are really trying too hard to force the idea of conflict there.

 

Though like I said, it's really more of a interesting semantic argument then a strict matter of categorization anyway, so it doesn't matter to me if Minecraft in creative is called a simulator or not.

 

 

I dunno, is Paint a multibillion dollar franchise that didn't have a tutorial in it's first few years?

Microsoft Flight Simulator simulates flight. Train Simulator simulates trains. What exactly is Minecraft a simulator of? Lego?

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I am not sure Paint isn't a multibillion dollar franchise (Photoshop sure is though), or that i really even has a built in tutorial unless you count the help file, which is more like a manual. I am not sure what that has to do with anything though.

 

As for what Minecraft simulates, it's a number of things. Survival, building, exploration... Maybe it doesn't simulate all these in more then an abstract way but that isn't the point. And anyway, you could even just say Minecraft simulates it's self. But again, I don't really care if you define it as a game, or as a simulator either. Or a toy. Or even the generic "entertainment software" label I came up with. I just don't think your stated logic is very sound.

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I suppose I should be more explicit.

 

The point as to Minecraft being a multibillion dollar franchise that lacked a tutorial is that, by it's design, you were intended to explore it and have fun with it, with no clearly defined goals.


ent software" label I came up with. I just don't think your stated logic is very sound.

In creative, the conflict is internal, it is a question of having fun using your creativity and admiring the results at the end. The conflict is designed to be experienced internally in the player via a lack of direction, a large tool set, and player preconceptions. The phrase 'cognitive dissonance' gets throws about disgustingly often, but that's what it's all about, internal conflict causing motivation and enjoyment. From the title screen, players will seek out ways to have fun in a game. Contrast that to Photoshop, in which the UI is not designed to help you get into the fun of the game.

 

With regards to the question of Paint and Photoshop being games because they also promote internal conflict is a different issue, but I would boil it down as the design intent of "where is the fun" being the deciding factor. With Paint and Photoshop, they also give tool sets and do not have explicit rules for the user to follow, generating internal conflict in more artistic users to create something. The difference is that the designed goal of using both programs is not to derive enjoyment with their use, it's to derive enjoyment with their results. It's about an end result, not a process. If it were both, they would be designed to be more fun to use, not easier to use. As for conflict, for Paint and Photoshop, there is no real conflict that the program supports with it's design, other than "how do I use it to make what I want?". Unless it's some kind of obfuscated UI game, "how do I use this software" is not something the user typically derives enjoyment from.

 

Contrast this to Mario Paint. The painting in Mario Paint or Color a Dinosaur is a game, as opposed to Photoshop because using a mouse with an SNES was novel and fun to play with. The designers knew of this, and made design choices to enhance the fun and gameplay in using a mouse on an SNES. The UI for, and actions of, coloring and painting are slow and exaggerated for the purposes of fun, not for efficiency in art creation. Through both the act of interaction, and it's end result, enjoyment is gained.

 

As for simulators and titles, yeah, you got me there. You could say that Minecraft is just some really messed up survival simulator (where-in the Creepers are allegorical- and represent your every day struggles ;)). However, if the only requirement for a simulator is that "X simulates itself", then anything that has software simulates itself, and is a simulator.

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I guess I should be more explicit as well, though keep in mind this is only my view on he whole thing.

 

I shouldn't say "simulates it's self", rather I should say Minecraft (the program) simulates Minecraft (the game/world). It's the same way that a Chess program simulates the rules of chess or even more abstractly how a computer program can be written to simulate mathematical systems like Conway's Game of Life. For games people mostly restrain simulation to only being about real world things, and indeed this is often the idea behind games with "simulator" or "sim" in the title, but the idea of a simulation is a lot broader.

 

Video games are interesting like that because they often end up having a very small separation between the design model being simulated and the program actually simulating it. The design of the world/game and the program that runs it can both be spoken about in their own context, and you can even have one game that is simulated by many programs. If this design model tends to be closer to the rules of a game, aka with a set goal, end state, and such, I feel more conformable calling it a game. If this design model tends to be closer to the rules of physics for simulation an imaginary world, I tend to be more conformable calling it a simulator. The reason Minecraft is what I would call a "simulator" to me, at least in creative mode, is because Minecraft works hard to create a world, and to simulate life in that world.

 

There are plenty of video games that are both at once, and probably a number that aren't really either. Art games and linear story based games can sort of break the mold for that, but not always. Actually a number of them would fall under the "simulation" label in my opinion due to the fact that they mostly do try and create worlds rather then gameplay, but it often depends on what you are looking at. We could also go into the whole issue about how story and non-interactive elements play into the whole issue, but most art/story games at least have the simulation of some sort of element of navigation if nothing else.

 

Of course that could be said for just about everything, even paint programs that "simulate" drawing. But utilities tend to simulate tools (like art tools for paint programs, typewriters for document editors, os designs often invoke the model of using a desk or filing cabinet, though nowadays most utilities are refined to the point that they can be said more simulate/emulate other utilities) or doesn't simulate anything at all (like most technical system utilities that only simulate/emulate each other).

 

I am a little skeptical about talking about things like "internal conflict" because it has nothing to do with the properties of a work it's self, and everything to do with subjective reactions to it. And maybe that's fine, maybe it is subjective. After all I have said a while ago that the label we give things doesn't really matter, and I still will stick by that statement, but it just sounds like trying to turn a subjective feeling as a objective statement. I am just not convinced by the argument.

Edited by KilloZapit

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All pretty reasonable, I couldn't really argue with any of that.

 

I wonder as to where the line is drawn with Simulators though. Like you've said before, these lines of thinking tend to get pretty semantic - so how are games like Dead Space 3, not "Simulators" of the situations of their game plots. That kind of definition (that is, "Necromorph Simulator 3") sounds a little 80s Sci-Fi to me, if you understand what I mean.

 

I bring up internal conflict because, as I will admit I subjectively see it, games are not developed in a void and should not be evaluated as if they were. As I'm absolutely sure you know, the player, their experience, and their psychology is constantly on the mind of a developer. If a developer seeks to promote an experience they can use their full knowledge and toolset to try and manipulate players to feel certain things at certain times. Things like promoting internal conflict are paramount goals for developers to strive for, should they need it. How can one criticize Jump-Scares for making the audience feel relieved after they happen, and yet not applaud Minecraft for making players happy to explore its 'blank canvas' nature? On quite a basic functional level, they are very similar.

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I think of it like a sliding scale with game on one side and simulation on the other. I never played Dead Space 3, but I imagine it's mostly intended as a game. More set encounters, more goal oriented gameplay, a story that moves through set pieces made to challenge you, tha sort of thing. That is how the gameplay works as far as I understand it. I think better example might be Dues Ex. I woulds still call it mostly a game, but there is no doubt it relies more deeply on simulation elements at it's core. More exploring a world, finding multiple ways to go and things to do, but it is still very gamey. Even better examples would be Skyrim and other Elder Scrolls games, where the world is open, NPCs move on there own, you can spend a lot of time travailing from place to place. If you want to even go further into simulation there are games like Dwarf Fortress and Mindcraft. It would be a mistake to think it's only about linear vs open world game design though. Grand Theft Auto for example is open world but very very gamey. Nearly everything you do is to further some kind of game goal or system, like the way it has explicit side missions and challenges, how even running around randomly and finding secrets is mostly about furthering a goal like getting a number of objects or money, how causing trouble and mayhem can offer both rewards and challenges.  Likewise there are "simulators" that are quite linear and boxed in, though many of them are just walking examining things to tell a story, and I would actually put those types of games in their own category.

 

Anyway the way I see it, the idea of designing to promote an experience in a user is more of a aspect of art criticism. It's a perfectly valid thing to want to design a game as a piece of art, and to criticize games as pieces of art, but it's kind of a different discussion for a number of reasons. It's like discussing a book, or a movie, or TV, or anything creative. There is the technical aspect use with creating the work in the medium, and then there is the artistic aspect of the impact of the work and what it means or is trying to say or do. What systems and techniques a game uses and the kind of mechanics it uses is the former, the reason why those elements were chosen and how it is intended to impact the player and draw them in is the later. And really anything can be art, and anything can be designed or presented to give the viewer or player a particular experience, it isn't really a factor unique to gaming and doesn't depend on how you define a game.

Edited by KilloZapit

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It's an interesting discussion because, as I was going to say I would prefer to think of 'Simulator' in particular as a more binary nature of a game.

Like your sliding scale idea would dictate, some games are more leaning towards aspects of simulation than not. My idea was that classification exists to ease communication, so a binary distinction between simulator or not, also makes sense. But that's besides the point. Halo is definitely not a Simulator, Call of Duty and Battlefield 3 are not Simulators, but ARMA is worthy enough of the Simulator title. All four games are quite close, so why was that? I was thinking as to why I considered it ARMA one, and why I considered Call of Duty not one, and why "Simulator" was better as a binary distinction, and to me, it came down to the idea that Simulators are seen as a genre. Look on the Steam Store page, Simulation is a genre.

 

That got me thinking- genres are either aesthetic, or mechanical, so what is "Simulator"? What kind of games are "Simulators".

At first I thought it was aesthetic, like Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, or Cosmic Horror, because the tone of a Simulator effects everything in the game. There is something, arbitrary but definite in ARMA that makes it a Simulation and Call of Duty not one. But, it's not an aesthetic genre, because it lacks archetypes. There is no aesthetic for Simulator like there is Western.

Then, it had to be a mechanical genre, like Action, Survival Horror, or Racing. But, like aesthetics, there are no mechanical archetypes for Simulators. In a Racing games, you have racers, a track, and a goal - in Simulators, you have... attention to values that reflect those in real life? Sometimes?

 

I was thinking and thinking, until I realize that it wasn't aesthetic or mechanical, but the only dynamically based genre I knew. What you measure for "Simulators" is the relationship between the aesthetics and the mechanics of a game. Do the mechanics provide enough accuracy or realism to the aesthetic that it adequately simulates what the full experience would be like.

 

Absolutely, truly fascinating. I have to explore the concept more... :blink:

Edited by Chaosian

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