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Monday, April 04, 2005

Semantics, Part 2

Here is what I posted on the Gamecritics forums today:
I hope you'll forgive me for doing something a bit different.

Since the creation of videogames, developers have been eager to push past boundaries which previously accepted types of games took for granted. This has given us many great experiences, but unfortunately we have not acquired any new terminology with which to speak of these games, and hold on to our old terminology. Some terms are straightforward -for example, everyone knows what a first-person shooter is- but some terms have become rather vague, most notably "videogame". The purpose of this thread, should you help me out, is:

1. To learn how we define videogame terms, and if there is a consensus in this forum over those definitions.
2. To question whether the language we use is sufficient for a serious discussion of videogames, and if not, come up with the terms we need.

This thread will of course get nowhere without your help, so I ask that you recognize the importance of precise terminology for any kind of discussion. Please answer these questions, and challenge other's answers for adequacy.

* What is a videogame?
* What is a role-playing game?
* What is an adventure game?
* What is an action adventure game?
* What is a platformer?
* What is a puzzle game?
* What is a simulation?

Also, based on your answers to these questions, how would you categorize:

* Animal Crossing
* Rayman 2
* The Legend of Zelda / Beyond Good & Evil
* Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
* The Legend of Starfy
* Harvest Moon
* Myst
* Metroid Prime
* Wario Ware
* Electroplankton (for DS)
* The Sims

Thank you for your time.

No one has answered yet. I started the thread in order to refine my own definitions by observing how other people respond. In the meantime, I will touch on some things to be elaborated on later. For the answers to my questions, I will reserve judgement until I have read what my fellow forum-posters have to say.

In Part 1, I defined gamism as all Forms of art and entertainment in a digital medium. I would now like to adjust that slightly: I will refer to this as "absolute gamism". Gamism, as it exists today, is defined as: "All digital Forms of art and entertainment which were created by the Game Industry". Absolute gamism is the ideal state of gamism, and one of the responsibilities of a gamist is to bring gamism closer to that state. Any member of gamism is a videogame.

I'm not yet sure how to define adventure games, but an action adventure is any adventure game which incorporates action without relegating it to mini-game status. I haven't played many adventure games, and none of them qualify, but from what I hear there are such games.

The Legend of Zelda and Beyond Good & Evil are not adventure games, but what I call "metaludes". In fact, they are two different genres of metalude: Zelda is a "structural metalude" while BG&E is a "narrative metalude".

I would also like to propose another original definition: the "exploration" game. This is a game which focuses, first and foremost, on exploring an environment. I am not familiar with any standard exploration games (where the entire game is only exploration), but there are genres of the Form with added game elements. Most notably, Metroid is an "action exploration game", and Myst is a "puzzle exploration game".

That's all for now. I expect that I won't get any responses for some time, given that it is a tremendously hard issue to deal with and even I, the creator of the thread, have to have more time to think it over.



Breaking the metalude into two genres was a lot of hooey. I will never refer to these terms again.


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