An Ontological Meta-Model for Games Research

Pawel Grabarczyk, Espen J. Aarseth

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The subfield of game ontology has seen many models and structural hierarchies, but few that actively build on each other, or even attempt comparisons. This paper introduces a
meta-model, which in addition to being an ontological model of its own, also offers a method for comparison between competing or isolated models and concepts. It does so by treating games as mechanisms (Craver 2007) with multiple levels of description, and
differentiates between four main layers of the game-mechanism. In the first part of the paper we present the model in detail. In the second part of the paper we show applications of the model - we present how some of the existing approaches to game ontology can be compared within it and how it can be used to describe two case examples: the ancient Egyptian funeral game Senet and the difference between game mechanics and game rules.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA)
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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