A game is a systematic form of play, normally undertaken for fun or amusement, and occasionally used as a teaching tool. Games are different from homework, which is generally undertaken for remuneration, and also from literature, which is primarily an expressive expression of cultural or aesthetic elements. Game studies generally focus on how people interact in the game, as well as on the various types of relationships that arise as a result of these interactions. A game can be socially relevant, subject to social learning, or even academic in nature.
Video game studies normally deal with the creation and the implementation of different types of game mechanics and themes. For example, in the field of role-playing games, the player has the prerogative to select a specific character and perform a specific action in this game. The action may be combat, puzzle solving, strategy planning, trading, fighting, or exploring, depending on the nature of the character and the storyline. Likewise, in the world of multiplayer online games, the player can manipulate a single character through a variety of different interactive aspects, such as chatting and competing with others or building communal groups.
Video game design is an area of study that examines the interactions between players and game characters, as well as the strategies used to ensure that the player has an experience of playing according to a set specification of characteristics. In this regard, it is important to distinguish between traditional and simulation game design. Traditional game design involves creating a physical artifact or machine that operates according to a set of prescribed rules; however, in simulation, the players manipulate a physical artifact or system that responds according to their specifications. Simulation game design is therefore more concerned with the ways in which the character reacts to external stimuli, rather than how the character actually behaves in isolation.
Another fun fact about video gaming is that it contains a number of recurring motifs, themes and devices that are universal to different genres of entertainment. For example, both Role Playing and Adventure Gaming rely on complex narrative and characters, as well as a complex and highly detailed interface. Likewise, both Story Based and Action Gaming relies on visual and audio visual mediums. It is in this genre of gaming that the term “omorphic” comes from, referring to a relationship between objects and people in a shared environment. This type of environment is highly familiar to those who enjoy playing computer games, as games such as Dwarf Fortress or Super Mario do very well in this genre.
Computer and video game designers have, over time, become more open to the possibilities of non-linearity in game play. Non-linearity, as defined by Wikipedia, means that the player controls the path through which the game progresses, rather than the outcome of actions taken. Some examples of this include Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), which use a “shared world” for players to interact, as well as defining a set of objectives for players to complete within a certain amount of time. These games present an interactive interface, as well as various mechanics to keep the players interested, such as crafting, building, fighting and more. These mechanics often lend themselves to the creation of non-linearity, as the players are allowed to complete tasks according to their own choices and not dependent on the actions of other players. In many regards, adventure games are perhaps most accurately classified as being in the genres of action and adventure, because they present a gameplay framework with some degree of interaction between the game’s characters and the real-world environment.
In regards to the question of whether or not computer and video game design can actually be used to create a more engaging game experience, the answer is an undeniable yes. Gamification is the use of game design and mechanics that creates an environment that drives players to succeed, as well as having the secondary effect of increasing the enjoyment of playing the game itself. As stated above, there is great potential for gamification in this genre of games because of the general nature of most of them. Adventure games, for example, present a wide variety of mechanics and game-play elements that can be applied to other types of game design. For example, role-playing games (RPGs) present a great deal of player agency and therefore allow the player to exercise his or her creativity through character development and interaction with the environment. Gamification allows a player to create not only characters that are strong, confident and capable, but also allows them to explore every possible scenario and angle in order to gain the most from the game itself.