Game Design – The encyclopaedia Britannica


Game Design – The encyclopaedia Britannica

A game is generally a structured form of simulated play, usually undertaken solely for fun or entertainment, and at times used as an educational instrument. Most games are discretely different from real work, which is often carried out for recreation, and from literature, which is typically more than an expression of artistic or aesthetic thoughts. Computer games are usually more popular than other media, perhaps because the player spends most of the time in a virtual world rather than in a real office or classroom. Computer games can include tasks such as puzzle solving, racing, card games, predicting the future, and others. There are literally thousands of different types of computer games, developed for different markets such as casual games, adventure games, dress up games, and more.

In an article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, edited by Elizabeth Dunn and published in 2001, several individuals were asked to define the meaning of the game. The resulting list was long and interesting, with contributors from academia, the arts, commercial industries, education, and everyday people being involved. The list included terms like “activity” and “exercise”, as well as a variety of words denoting different types of play. These included games like word-games, logic games, mathematical and cross-platform games, sports games, motor games, and so on.

In an essay included with the encyclopaedia Britannica, Patricia Bauchmann provides an example of a game called Bitten Fingernails, intended for use by school-aged children. The children must click on a square located around a picture of a ladybug. Each click makes the ladybug bite one of the children’s fingers. When the last finger is bitten, the game ends. The result is that the last digit of each finger must be red, if it’s green, otherwise it becomes brown.

Another game included in the encyclopaedia is Britannica is an adaptation of a game originally developed for a math class in Harvard University. The rules are simple enough to be understood by most people. The encyclopaedia entry for this game recalls the well-known fact that if the number of bites taken by a ladybug is more than her ten lovers, she must lose ten points (hence the name “ten lovers”).

While these two examples demonstrate the wide variety of material covered by the encyclopedic articles, another common theme throughout the collection is that of information architecture. This term refers to the practice of designing information systems, or using information technology to manage information, with an eye towards architecture. A clear example of this is the structure of the New York Stock Exchange, whose three main exchanges-the New York Board of Trade (NYSE), the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) and the NASDAQ -all have been chosen by the editorial staff as representative examples of information architecture. These firms rely on a number of different components, including computer applications, telecommunications networks, and a whole host of others, to allow them to function. Similarly, the encyclopedia article on the stock markets includes a list of the stock indexes and indices that constitute the basis for the NYSE and the AMEX.

Information architecture, of course, does not in any way exhaust itself. In fact, it is an ongoing project, dependent upon an increased understanding of how business information systems actually work. One major contribution of the encyclopaedia Britannica was to popularize the term ‘architecture’, with the publication of the encyclopaedia article on the topic. It was also instrumental in popularizing the term ‘computer software’ and the field of ‘network engineering’. Given the range and depth of information technology research, the field continues to grow and develop at an impressive clip.

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