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Student Feature: 'Soapbox: The Name of the Game'

Student Feature: 'Soapbox: The Name of the Game'

April 5, 2006 | By Frank Cifaldi

In today's main educational feature, Rochester Institute of Technology senior Stephen Broida steps up to the Gamasutra soapbox, in reaction to recent criticism suggesting that the term "video game" might be outdated.

In the following extract, Broida defends games, saying they're not merely playthings for children:

"It is also possible that people think video games are for kids because they think a “real” game must require physical exertion (such as tag or paintball) in order for it to be good for someone. If this were true, then games of chance would not be considered games. However, games do provide some sort of physical or mental exercise. Puzzle games such as Tetris or Bejeweled exercise the mind, and in the medical field, surgeons often play video games before an operation to build their dexterity. There are also games that require game players to use their feet or their whole body to play.

Considering all this, the only other possible name that “video games” could be changed to would be "Interactive Media", but there is a problem with this name. If a movie was always linear with one beginning and end, would it still be a “movie” if you could choose a different ending? The viewer could make decisions that alter the story in one direction or another similar to a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. It would be “Interactive Media”, but would it also be a video game? What about the lack of game mechanics and game rules that make games what they are?"

You can read the full Gamasutra educational feature (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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