Game

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All through human history, people have played games. They've done so mostly to entertain themselves and others. But games also are a form of self-expression, and a means of training young people, and reminding adults, of the preferred values of the society in which they live.

Games can involve one person acting alone, but more often involve competition among two or more persons with differing goals. Philosopher David Kelley, in his popular introductory reasoning text The Art of Reasoning, defines the concept "game" as "a form of recreation constituted by a set of rules that specify an object to be attained and the permissible means of attaining it."

This covers most cases well, but does not quite fit with things like war games and sports that are often done not for entertainment but to build skills for later use. In Philosophical Investigations, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein argued that the concept "game" could not be defined. Stephen Linhart said, "People say you have to choose between games and real life. I think this claim that there's a dichotomy is very dangerous."

Many technical fields are often applied to the study of games, including probability, statistics, economics, and game theory.

Types of Games

|Children's games--physical play like tag, jumprope, and hopscotch--need to go somewhere; should they be listed under sports?

See also sport.


What are our priorities for writing in this area? To help develop a list of the most basic topics about games, please see game basic topics.