Pipe Trouble

The Politics of Definition

Commentary - Pipe Trouble

One of the perennial questions of game studies is the basic question of definition: what is a game? And many discussions surrounding games can be traced back to it. The narrative/ludology debate is an obvious one: is a game a story? It’s there in Ian Bogost’s caution against framing games as “limp skins” that don’t properly exist without the player to finish the circuit: does a game have to be played to be a game? And, most recently, it’s there in works created in Twine, works that address issues rarely, if ever, voiced in mainstream videogames: can these things be games at all? (For my two cents: yes; no, but it’s usually more interesting if it is; and yes, of course.) Continue Reading