In this paper we address the problem of defining games formally, following Wittgenstein's dictum that games cannot be defined adequately as a formal category. Several influential attempts at definitions will be evaluated and shown to be inadequate. As an alternative, we propose a descriptive model of the definable super-category that games belong to, cybermedia , that is pragmatic, open, and capable of meeting the needs of the diverse, intensely interdisciplinary field of game studies for a uniting conceptuallization of its main phenomenon. Our approach, the Cybermedia model, consisting of Player, Sign, Mechanical System, and Material Medium, offers a medium-independent, flexible and analytically useful way to contrast different approaches in games research and to determine which aspect of the phenomenon one is talking about when the word "game" is used.
Title of host publication
Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2015)
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