A game is a set of rules and objectives that define a situation or activity for the enjoyment of players. Games may be played individually or in groups and may require physical exertion (such as sports), mental exercise or problem solving, or both. Most games are undertaken for entertainment but some, such as spectator sports or jigsaw puzzles are considered work and can be done professionally and competitively, with participants earning money. Others are played for educational or social purposes, such as board and card games, computer and electronic games and even some video games that teach skills like reading and math.
A definition of what a game is can be tricky as many people have different ideas about what a game is. Some argue that all activities can be classified as a game such as running, jumping or playing tag. Others feel that a game is a set of rules and an objective. Others still feel that a game is a form of art. Still others have more specific ideas about what a game is such as chess, baseball or a computer game.
What is common to all games however is that they have rules and an objective. Depending on how these are applied to the situation they can vary in their interactivity and difficulty. For example, hide-and-seek can be radically different from one building to another or an auto race is not the same as playing on a street course. Games also use tools that are idiosyncratic to the particular game, a chess set or a deck of cards for instance. Some tools are used universally such as the ball as a popular tool for many ball games or the standard set of pawns that are used in chess.
One important aspect of gaming is that it provides a space to experiment without the risks and consequences of the real world. Whether this is experimenting with hot stoves or pushing a button on a screen that will cause an explosion, the game allows children and adults to learn without the risk of injury or material damage. This is why games are so successful when teaching new skills.
Video games in particular have been shown to improve hand-to-eye coordination and increase the speed at which children can process information. This can be beneficial for many other tasks that involve the movement of hands and eyes such as typing and riding a bike.
Many games also help to teach logical thinking, planning and the ability to follow instructions. These are essential skills in the workplace and in life. In addition, studies have shown that gamers are better at learning sensorimotor patterns and movements, which can be beneficial in tasks such as driving or operating a computer. Overall, the positive emotions evoked while playing games have been shown to improve learning outcomes when compared to other learning methods. This is why games are so popular, especially in e-learning environments. However, it is important to ensure that the level of play in a game matches the child’s skill level as this will prevent frustration and disengagement from the learning experience.