[geeks] Games, was Re: Ubuntu partition on Bootcamp Mac?
jjj at io.com
Tue Aug 7 02:44:02 CDT 2007
On Jul 31, 2007, at 9:24 PM, Charles Shannon Hendrix wrote:
> Intent doesn't define what things are.
> SL might have been intended as something else, but it has a lot of
> elements, even by your own definitions.
> SL has goals, you can win things, it can be a virtual sandbox, you
> have an
> avatar otherwise known as a player... it has an awful lot of game
> some of which you defined yourself, to not be a game.
Actually, Second Life does not inherently have any goals. Or can you
That said, people themselves can custom-program Second Life to
establish goals and prizes for themselves and others.
I do agree that it can be a virtual sandbox, but last time I checked,
a sandbox is just a box of sand. (And not a game.)
> The funny thing here is that no one would be picking on you if your
> was a level headed statement along the lines of: I view SL as more
> of a
> simulation than a game, and if you had been willing to acknowledge the
> blindingly obvious game elements it has.
Can you list a few of those "game elements" for me? I do not view
having a virtual representation of yourself as a "game element,"
since all computer interfaces are founded upon the idea of virtual
representations of yourself (cursors). Making a more advanced form of
a cursor (an avatar) does not inherently make it a game; it does not
add an element of competition.
Of course, most game software also has things like avatars, but that
does not make avatars necessarily "game elements." Since, there are a
lot of games without avatars, and a lot of things with avatars that
are not games.
>> Though you can hack it to not be used as a game, and just be used
>> as a
>> virtual environment. Second Life is a virtual environment, where
>> on the
>> other hand, it can have a game in it.
> This is just talking about the content. It didn't default to
> having game
> content, so you don't view it as a game.
> Game engine, simulation engine... no real difference.
>> A $100 million military simulation is not a game. What makes it a
>> game? It's not intended as a "pastime" or "amusement" activity. It is
>> not a competitive contest between players. What's the point of
>> calling it a game, other than to annoy people who know what that word
> Why don't you ask the creators, designers, programmers, and the US
> all of whom call it a game, all of whom occasionally play with it
> for fun.
> While you are at it you can ask the Pentagon why they installed it
> in a war
> gaming center that says "War Gaming Center" on the sign out front.
> You are trying to draw arbitrary lines in the shifting sands of an
> that creates games and simulations and sells each as the other
> every day of
> the week.
You bring up an interesting point, though inadvertently. The military
is designed to fight wars, which are contests between two
adversaries. The only thing that makes wars *not* games is that they
involve death and other horrible things that are in no way "fun."
Anthropologists have argued for decades that mankind developed sport
and games as a way of having conflicts which were not actual war, and
sometimes, of actually setting conflicts between tribes or villages
in a less violent manner than all-out battle. The Native American
term for Lacrosse literally means "little brother of war," and tribes
often wagered all their possessions on the outcome of the games.
Books have been written about how cricket and rugby developed in
England as part of a move to a less warlike and less violent society.
So, it stands to reason that anything which is a simulation of war,
would necessarily be a game, since in many respects wars are like
games (which makes sense if you believe the cultural anthropologists
who say games evolved from wars as mankind became more civilized).
Wars are like games in that there are two or more adversaries with
clear goals, who engage in specific types of activities designed to
harm their opponents in strategic ways.
Therefore, it is not that simulations are necessarily games, it is
just that simulations of wars might as well be games (because they
have the properties of games that wars do, but they lack the things
about real wars that make them not "fun").
> How about Harpoon? Was that a game?
> Before you answer, keep in mind that the US military paid for a lot
> of its
> development, used it for training, and paid later to have it
> updated, and the
> company that wrote it made a larger version customized for their use.
> It was marketed as a game, but was otherwise nothing but a smaller
> version of
> larger military simulators (which as I said, the government calls
> Go ahead, make the arbitrary call: was Harpoon a game or a simulation?
Well following with this argument, it could be called a game, yes --
a simulation that might as well be a game.
> Really, it isn't a big deal, it's just interesting to see people
> try to split
> hairs in situations like this.
> Oh, and for the record, I have spent hours playing with expensive
> simulations, playing to win, competing with others, having a ball,
> and in
> some case I made money from it, or at least someone had to buy me
> One of my friends in college trained in Apache simulations. They
> used to
> play with them for hours if they could get the time and sign up for
> But, of course, it wasn't a game...
Again, I think the point you make is valid -- it might as well be a
The point where Second Life differs, as a simulation, from these war-
games is that Second Life does not have an adversarial aspect built
in. There is not any simulated combat, there are no strategic goals,
and there are no scenarios that are inherent to Second Life. I think
anyone that studies games would agree that you have to have a game
for it to be a game. Just having 3D graphics and a physics engine is
not enough to qualify it.
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