Defining digital games
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Defining Digital Games. Assigned readings: Chapter 8 (Rules of Play Book). Presentation by Dustin Dannenhauer Dr . H é ctor Mu ñ oz-Avila. Automated Data Storing+ manipulation. All are formally modeled as Turing machines ( video). PC Tablets Consoles cell phones.

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Defining digital games

Defining Digital Games

  • Assigned readings:

    • Chapter 8 (Rules of Play Book)

Presentation by Dustin Dannenhauer

Dr. Héctor Muñoz-Avila

Definition of game


Data Storing+ manipulation

All are formally modeled as Turing machines (video)

  • PC

  • Tablets

  • Consoles

  • cell phones

Definition of Game

Reminder: Definition of a game (and elements).

  • A game is a system

  • In which players

  • engaged in an artificial conflict

  • defined by rules

  • That results in a quantifiable outcome

  • Notes:

  • most of the definitions of games studied where made before computers existed

  • The term “digital game”. Covers:

Digital games as systems
Digital Games as Systems

Reminder: Definition of System:

  • Parts affect one another within an environment (next slide provides an example)

    • elements: Objects, Attributes (properties), Internal relationships, and the Environment

    • dimensions: formal, experiential, cultural

  • Digital games tend to be confused with the medium they are taking place (e.g., “play Nintendo”)

  • Our definitions of game and system provide the means to make these distinctions (see next slide)

Analysis of tetris

Says who?

Analysis of Tetris




(third video)

  • Cultural identity

  • Fan sites

  • Impact on culture

  • Emotions

  • Players

  • Medium where it is played


(second video)



(first video)

  • Buttons to press

  • Graphical Interface


A game designer creates experience not technology

Side track john carmack ii

  • PC Gamer Interview 2006:

  • Points that simplicity doesn’t mean lack of design

  • Previous games created by himself

  • Points that even in his company now he steps back and listen to designers

Side-track: John Carmack II

  • Creator of Doom game series

  • ID Software

  • Famous for creation of graphics engines that “pushed the envelope (video; 2006 game!) from a computer graphics perspective”

If you are left alone in an Island, which game you wish they left with you? (anyone?)

His answer: a compiler!

Back to lecture s topic what can we do with digital media
Back to lecture’s topic: What Can We do with digital media?

  • Goal: use technology to create meaningful play

  • What capabilities does digital media have?

  • Trait 1 : immediate but narrow interactivity

  • Trait 2: Information manipulation

  • Trait 3: Automated complex systems

  • Trait 4: Networked communication

Trait 1 immediate but narrow interactivity
Trait 1 : immediate but narrow interactivity

  • The game responds to player input

  • Other Examples?

  • Why is it narrow?

  • Despite this gameplay can be engaging:

  • Tactics in an RTS game

  • Alternatives to keyboard

Trait 2 information manipulation
Trait 2: Information manipulation

  • Digital (Turing) machines: store/manipulate data



A region belongs to blueteam if

All units in the region belong to blue team



Relations: - soldier belongs to blue team

- soldier is a unit


Simple objects: soldier, mage


Trait 2 of digital games information manipulation
Trait 2 of Digital games: Information manipulation

Knowledge-based system

Age of Empires uses a

Rule based system



piece threats


Any digital game: score, locations,…

Trait 2 information manipulation1

  • text

  • images

  • audio

  • logic

Trait 2: Information manipulation

  • Digital (Turing) machines: store/manipulate data  knowledge

  • Key characteristic: computers can learn while playing

    • User preferences/capabilities (We saw machine learning examples in previous lecture)

  • Plus: Hiding information

    • Example (video)?

    • Although non digital games can also hide information. Example?

Trait 3 automated complex systems
Trait 3: Automated complex systems

  • Complex system:

    • Example of a game that would be difficult to play manually

  • But some game theoreticians say this is a problem itself: People want to see the internal workings of the system

Trait 4 networked communication
Trait 4: Networked communication

  • Facilitate communication between players

  • Evolution

    • 2-4 players using the same console/computer

    • 2-4 Players over a local network

    • 2-4 Players over the internet

    • 12 players over the internet

    • 1000+ Players over the same instance of game world (video)

  • Direct communication is not restricted to text (video)

Open discussion
Open Discussion

  • Can non-digital games can exhibit traits such as “Information manipulation”?

  • Yes; For example if another person plays as the dungeon master as in this video

  • What are the advantage of digital over non-digital games?

  • What are the advantage of non-digital over digital games? See video for a clue

Final word
Final Word

  • These traits are not the only ones

  • Even non digital games may exhibit some of these traits

  • But they help our understanding of video game potential

  • Analysis of Unreal Tournament:

    • Trait 1 : immediate but narrow interactivity

    • Trait 2: Information manipulation

    • Trait 3: Automated complex systems

    • Trait 4: Networked communication