[geeks] Games, was Re: Ubuntu partition on Bootcamp Mac?
jjj at io.com
Tue Aug 7 20:26:56 CDT 2007
On Aug 7, 2007, at 4:24 PM, Charles Shannon Hendrix wrote:
> On Tue, 7 Aug 2007 13:43:00 -0700
> Jon Gilbert <jjj at io.com> wrote:
> No, but it certainly is closer to that than my cursor, and in SL it
> is used for entertainment.
> If it really is just a fancy cursor, then why make it an avatar at
> all? Why
> not just a 3D cursor?
Actually, you *can* make it a 3D cursor. It defaults to a human-like
avatar, I guess, because that's the most natural representation. I
really don't see how having a "virtual you" that represents you in
the virtual space can be said to have "entertainment" as its goal. If
you happen to use that for entertainment, that's what I'd call the
system being "user friendly" (not being "a game").
>>> Competition is not a required element of a game, and neither is
>>> winning or
>>> having a goal.
>> Well, then, what *are* the required elements of a game, in your
>> definition? What distinguishes a game from other types of software?
> Like almost everyone else I call most entertainment software a game.
> SL falls into that category even if you don't use it that way.
> There are colleges using NWN based economic and social sims for
> "real work".
> They are still games though.
One again, these circular arguments really don't make sense. It's a
game because it's entertainment software? Or is it entertainment
software because it's a game? What makes it "fall" into that category?
I think in that respect, clearly the fact that most users (something
like 80%?) of SL are using it for entertainment purposes at this
point. I wonder what the same percentages are for other media, like
the 2D web, TV, or books? Does that make those other forms of media
also "entertainment" media?
It seems more logical to argue that there are segments of the 2D web,
TV, and books that are used for entertainment, while there are
segments that are used for business, communication, news, education,
etc. I don't see why the 3D worlds like Second Life ought to be
subjected to a harsher standard, and be pigeonholed as being "mere
games" just because they are 3D.
>> I have to admit, as a language scholar, I tend to be kind of
>> persnickety when it comes to definitions, since without meaning,
>> language is pointless. All of the definitions of the term "game" that
>> I have been able to find in the dictionaries and encyclopedias seem
>> to enumerate various properties that define games:
> If you are a language scholar then you must know that language is
> defined by
> the people using it.
> Most of the people in this discussion have defined SL as a game,
> and well,
> that's how language works.
The several people of this list are hardly a statistically viable
group set. True, language is something that alters over time, and
there are pockets of slang where things mean something completely
different from their generally accepted meanings. Still, I think a
pretty basic word such as "game," which as a fairly set meaning, is
not really up for debate here.
I have been seeking to see whether SL qualifies as a game based on
what we mean in our culture by the word, "game." I do not think it is
enough to qualify SL as a "game" simply because it is in 3D and has
avatars, and many games today are in 3D and have avatars.
> If I buy Neverwinter Nights and use it for college classes to study
> interaction and economics, and I paid $50 for it and pay $1200 for
> the class,
> how is that a game?
I don't think it would be a game at that point. The "game" aspect of
the NWN software being stripped out of it, makes it not a game any
longer. If you take a chess board, and cut meat on it, then use the
pieces to tenderize the meat, that activity is not a game. If you're
using the NWN engine for something non-game related, that activity
not a game. It still doesn't change the fact that NWN was originally
designed to be a game, and all the unadulterated copies out there are
Now, depending on what you are using the hacked NWN for, THAT new use
could be called a "game" if it has the characteristics that games
have. As I understand it, a lot of economists using "game theory"
call simulated economic scenarios "games," which is a technical use
of that term within that particular field. If that's the case here,
then perhaps it is still a "game" in that sense.
A lot of games cost massive amounts of money to play and keep
playing, and can make you money as well. The financial aspect alone
is not enough to disqualify it as a game, if it still has the other
characteristics of games.
>> I disagree with you on the first point: I think amusement of some
>> kind *is* required for it to be a game.
> That's interesting, because there are many professional athletes
> who hate the
> game they play, or at least don't think of it as amusing. They are
> doing it
> for the money.
> Those aren't games?
> This pretty much proves, or should, that you can't really draw hard
> here. My cousin *LOVES* baseball. A local player I met in a pool
> hall a
> few years ago hates it, but does it for a living.
> For my cousin it is a game, for the other guy it is a job.
This is an interesting debate, which I even attended a conference on
at one point. Are professional sports no longer "games?"
I argue that they are still games, because in general the game of
baseball is a form of amusement that matches a lot of the
characteristics of what makes games, games (tests of skill,
adversaries, etc. as in the definition of "game"). Whether or not in
a specific instance, a particular baseball player is not enjoying it,
does not change the overall nature of baseball, or the fact that the
game originated as a game and continues to persist as a game for fun
in amateur leagues, etc.
>> Games are a form of "play."
>> That is not to say there is not risk involved in games. Something
>> like the Roman gladiatorial competitions were probably not much of a
>> "game" for the participants who died, though for the Emperor, crowd,
>> and victors, it was.
> ...which is something we've all been trying to tell you for some time.
> We find SL to be a game, you don't.
> Now you've even validated this with a historical example.
How have I validated it? Just because a handful of people mistakenly
categorize something as a game is not enough to overturn Webster's
dictionary. It doesn't mean that that something which isn't a game,
suddenly becomes a game.
The things that made the Roman gladiatorial competitions "games" were
the fact that there were all sorts of rules and structures
surrounding the entrance of the combatants, what they were supposed
to do during the games themselves, and the fact that the games
themselves were clearly demarcated on the calendar as being separate
and apart from normal everyday life. The fact of a few people not
enjoying it does not suddenly make all those other things invalid and
force the gladiatorial competition to not be a game.
However all of you who claim SL is a game have yet to establish what
makes it a game, aside from some circular arguments and stating that
its your opinion.
You're welcome to *use* Second Life for amusement, just as much as I
am free to go for a walk outside for amusement. I don't think it
makes either things a game. I'm not even saying that it's invalid for
anyone to use Second Life for their own entertainment, or even to
play the games that exist within it. But for them to think Second
Life is itself a game, is fallacious however, because it is no more a
game than the world itself, and all the random activities that can be
done within it (like trying on clothes or driving through a
neighborhood or browsing the internet).
>> It's not entirely used for gaming. It's a logical fallacy to define
>> the whole based on what some of its parts are used for.
> Therefore, since several "marketed games" can be used for non-game
> activities, it would be a logical fallacy to define the whole thing
> as a
> game, right?
> This is fun...
Well, when you buy NWN off the shelf, and install it on your
computer, and run it, it's pretty much entirely a game. Now, if you
mod it to create something with it that is not a game, then I'd say
what you've got at that point, is something other than a game.
Second Life as installed and set up, does not have that connotation,
since immediately it already has a large part that is not related to
gaming at all. Hence, prima facie, it's not a game, anymore than the
web is a game or the internet is a game or computers are games. Even
if most people in this dilapidated culture use computers, the web,
TV, etc. mostly for entertainment.
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