Opinion Define "video game" in your own words


I was actually going to reply with a serious answer to this topic here (which is now closed).

Firstly, I think it's best to describe what a "game" is. In my opinion, a game meets the following criteria:
  • Contains state
  • Has either a win scenario, loss scenario OR both scenarios

So going by that critera, one could classify a "choose your own adventure" book as a game. On the other hand, perhaps something that doesn't have a win or loss scenario, but DOES contain state could be better labelled a toy.

I'd define the "video" part as anything that makes use of an electronic display.

So, going by the above logic, you could have a simulation video game (like a city builder style game) where you can't win, but you can lose (maybe you're presented with a highscore table when you lose so you still get a sense of progress), and happily class that as a video game. However, if you were to take a simulation video "game" in which you cannot win or lose maybe this could be referred to as a video toy.

Well that's my opinion anyway :D
See this was the kind of feedback I hoped on recieving but as you saw it kinda backfired XD

For me, I don't call them "video games", I call them "interactive experiences". They are pieces of artwork just like movies, music, and literature, all of which are put into these experiences and emphasized x10. A "video game" to me is exactly what they are, simply a game on a screen. What comes to mind when I think "video game" are games like Pong, Galaga, Pacman...most arcade games, ones that don't have much narrative and are simply there for "fun" and "competition". But what comes to mind when I think "interactive experience", I think of Zelda, Metroid, Final Fantasy...mainly RPGs and other story-based genres. These are what people should think of when they hear the term, but due to the negative connotations cast upon by modern society and many other sources, sadly we fall short. What defines a "video game" is all dependent on the project itself, you see. It's all subjective. But essentially what they are is an art form, an expression of the mind. And it's quite beautiful. :D

Well there's your therapy sesh for the day XD Figured since I saw this I'd drop in my 2 cents. Thanks for this!


Lost The Bet
I like how it's defined in @Wayfarer's post. Short, to the point and accurate in my opinion. However, I don't see why one would label simulations without an inherent goal "video toys". They're already being called simulations and it's fine. Or if it's meant to be a game but has neither a win nor loss scenario because it's not finished yet, there are existing terms like tech demo or work in progress.

Guest User

that's nice but i don't think i ever want to hear a grown adult with bloodshot eyes and a starbucks cup in their hand uttering the words "i didn't sleep much last night, i was up until 3am playing with a new video toy i got last night. it's called Fidget Spinner: Infinite Spin 3D, have you heard of it?"

Alex Lyons

I believe that there is a trinity of things that a video game needs to be a video game.
  • Mechanics
    • Rules
    • Goals
  • Interface
    • The ability to reach those goals
    • The understandability of the mechanics
  • Technology
    • This is what makes a video game different from a board game, the use of technology to convey the gameplay


šŸ§ *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
I'd say a video game is a software application with one or more states, manipulated by the user, propagated to the user using audiovisual feedback, where some states are more desirable than others and some are "win states" the user is trying to achieve and/or sustain, and others are "lose states" the user is trying to avoid.

To clarify, I think a game can both lack winning and losing as long as there are states the user want to achieve and states they want to avoid; for instance, a Clicker game usually has bosses with a time limit; if the user cannot progress their CPS far enough they will be stuck fighting these bosses forever because they're mathematically unwinnable, so that is an undesirable state or an implicit loss state. A state where the user is progressing is a win state in these games, because it's desirable.


I would say a video game is like a movie but you impact on the beginning, middle and end of the plot of the movie :D


Any interactable piece of software on a computer made for entertainment or education.


A videogame, I'd say, is something I'd get hyped for, is inspirational, and transformative of my life.
Haven't seen a videogame in years.