Hey! No running near the pool! -300 points!

by Calvin Patimeteeporn

The debate of over play and games have raised quite a debate in class, with arguments ranging from rules of games being the main construct of the definition of game to random inclusions of Newton’s laws of gravity. About 90% of the time when we talk about play v.s. games we bring up one defining factor of games: rules. While this is a huge part of the gaming as it basically provides the structure of games, we cannot define anything with rules as a game as we have done for quite some time.

Almost everything has rules, from basic etiquette to swimming pools, yet none of these can be considered as a “game”. This is, of course, the reason why we must narrow down our definition and stop subjecting life as a game simply because we “obey the laws of gravity” (This is for you Tyler). So, while rules play a part in gaming we must also consider another trait of games and not play: a removal of the individual from reality and into a gamespace.

A swimming pool, although filled with rules, is not a game as it does not actually transfer the user to another virtual realm. The pool doesn’t take the user into a fantasy world where there is an objective, goal, or conflict, it instead just gives you a hole with water and rules. Hardly a game. Thus, we can’t consider the difference between play and games as simply rules, but rather the transportation of the user.

For instance, games such as Grand Theft Auto take gamers into a different world with different rules. A player in Liberty City in the game are subjected to different rules and privileges that normally wouldn’t be socially acceptable in real life, a key difference between games, play, and life.

“In hindsight, I can see why this may have possibly been a bad idea”

That being said, I conclude that play and games are, indeed, different, but the difference between them are not just rules but rather an inclusion of a gamespace as well. A classroom has rules but it is obviously not a game (or play for that matter). Thus, these arguments of life being a game or trampoline also being a game due to the laws of the universe, can be refuted as neither of which bring the user to a gamespace.