Defining a Game

In a talk lambasting what has become the most popular video game in America–Zynga‘s Facebook-based FarmVille*–we are shown how it fails to meet a single one of late sociologist Roger Caillois’ six criteria for defining games (as laid-out in in his 1961 book, Man, Play and Games):

  • Free from obligation, routine and responsibility.
  • Separate from ‘real life’.
  • Uncertain in outcome (involving chance and/or skill).
  • An unproductive activity.
  • Governed by rules.
  • Make-believe (requiring either immersion or the suspension of disbelief).

*”Over seventy-three million people play FarmVille. Twenty-six million people play FarmVille every day. More people play FarmVille than World of Warcraft, and FarmVille users outnumber those who own a Nintendo Wii.”

via @cojadate