Summer Challenge: Define ‘Game’

I’ve finished reading couple of books on game production/development and about game design.

There’s one interesting dilemma in the area of game production and game design. What is a ‘game’? How do you define a ‘game’?

I have my own way to approach this (instead of trying to give a general definition, I try to use examples to illustrate what are games and what are not), but now I’d like to hear what you guys think about this. How do you define a ‘game’?

What makes games different from toys? What makes games different from politics or other areas of life where you try to ‘beat’ your opponent by following (at least some sort of) rules. What about video game toys. Is Sims a game since there’s no objective? Or a complex toy? Are pen & paper role playing games really games?

Your thoughts?

Juuso Hietalahti