Is It a Game?

Jake talks about how some games aren’t about winning. I’d suggest they aren’t games anymore. At some point an interactive narrative driven ‘game’ isn’t really a game, it’s an interactive narrative. Just as an interactive narrative that has a small moment of game play in it probably doesn’t make it a game. While Gone Home is narrative driven it is still a game – we don’t need to describe a novel as ‘narrative driven’. So what happens here is there is a strong narrative thread as it is a classic style puzzle quest game. I haven’t played it, but if the quest needs to be completed, it is a game. If you just explore a story world, then in my argot it is more interactive narrative than game. If people talk about it in terms of how you play it, and what you need to do in room X to be able to do thing Y, to discover Z, then it is a game. Play is play. Play that is orientated towards a measurable outcome (a result, however conceived), becomes a game. Reading narrative is not a game because we can’t measure the outcome, and we don’t.