What are video games?* Serious question. I get that not everyone cares about this stuff, so if you really don’t care, then, hey, that’s cool, don’t worry about it. But I do, and I know plenty of others do as well, so I’d like to ask this question and get some serious responses back. For the rest of this essay, I’ma tell you what I think a video game is, and then I’m going to tell you what I think that means, and I’m going to tell you what I think the future—the most promising offshoot—of games will be. And maybe you’ll feel differently; I’m really interested in hearing what you think.
“Doc,” said a friend, after reading an essay of mine, “I don’t like that phrase, anti-game. People use that for things like Proteus and stuff, and I don’t think it fits.” I mulled over this for a while, and then offered an explanation, which sort of turned into this piece, but not entirely, which is why I’m writing this essay now. I had my reasons for using the term, and I think they’ll become apparent soon, but before we talk about what isn’t a game, let’s talk about what is.