Een computerspel is een spel dat op een computer gespeeld wordt. Dit is meestal op een spelcomputer of een personal computer maar ook steeds vaker op andere systemen/computers zoals pda's, mobiele telefoons en draagbare spelcomputers. De laatste jaren wordt de term game (Engels voor "spel", niet per se computerspel) steeds gangbaarder. Mensen die computerspellen spelen worden gamers genoemd en het spelen zelf wordt aangeduid met het werkwoord gamen (genominaliseerd: gaming). Een aantal van hen komt wel bijeen in zogenaamde lanparties. Er zijn ook mensen die alleen oude computerspellen spelen. Dit noemt men retro-gaming. Bij nieuwe commerciële spellen wordt de nadruk meer en meer gelegd op de visuele kant van de spelen (graphics). Bij andere nieuwe spellen ligt de nadruk juist op hoe het speelt (gameplay) en op de innovatie. Sommige spellen hebben een zeer snelle computer nodig, waardoor computerspellen spelen voor sommige mensen een dure hobby is. [bewerk] Soorten computerspellen Een tabel met computerspelgenres met enkele voorbeelden van populaire titels binnen dat genre. Computerspelgenres en spellen First person shooter (FPS) Aliens versus Predator, America's Army, Call Of Duty, Counter-Strike, Doom, Duke Nukem, Half-Life, Medal Of Honor, No One Lives Forever, Quake, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Unreal, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory Third person shooter (TPS) Tomb Raider, Splinter Cell, Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, Mercenaries, The Godfather: The Game Arcade Tetris, Pong, Arkanoid, Pac-Man Kaartspel Patience (Solitaire), Freecell, Hartenjagen (Hearts) Rikken, Spider Bordspellen Dammen, Schaken, Mens erger je niet, Risk, Stratego Puzzel Lingo Role playing game (RPG) Final Fantasy, Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Dungeons & Dragons, Oblivion, Fable the Lost Chapters MMORPG Asheron's Call, Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest, Guild Wars, Lineage2, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, Tibia, Runescape,FLYFF,PlaneShift Real-time strategy (RTS) Warcraft, Command & Conquer, Age of Empires, Acts of War, Empire Earth, Dune Turn-based strategy (TBS) Civilization, Total War, X-com Adventure: Leisure Suit Larry, King's Quest, The Legend of Zelda, Atlantis, Myst, Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island, Beyond Good & Evil, Fahrenheit, Platformspel Rayman, Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario Bros., Jazz Jackrabbit, Sonic the Hedgehog Racespel Need for Speed, Colin McRae Rally, Gran Turismo, Crash Team racing Simulatie The Sims,The sims 2, SimCity, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Animal Crossing, BAHN, Zoo Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon 2 Sport NBA Live, Championship Manager, FIFA, Hattrick, Football Manager Beat'em up Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Soul Caliber, Street Fighter, Dead Or Alive [bewerk] Toekomst Met de toenemende kracht van de moderne computer zijn de makers van computerspellen verschillende nieuwe richtingen ingeslagen. De producenten zijn de hierbovengenoemde genres gaan combineren (actiespel met adventure- of puzzelelementen). Daarnaast is er online gaming (via internet spelen met, of tegen andere gebruikers). In de actiespel-variant kunnen internetgamers teams vormen die gezamenlijk tegen hun tegenstanders strijden. In de Role Playing-variant ontmoeten verschillende internetspelers elkaar in (soms enorme) virtuele werelden. Met name door de toename van de grafische mogelijkheden, worden ook steeds meer speelfilm-achtige elementen in de huidige generatie computerspellen verwerkt.
Een spelcomputer is een computersysteem specifiek gemaakt om spellen op te spelen, vaak op de televisie, maar afhankelijk van het model kan een beeldscherm ingebouwd zijn. Zie Geschiedenis van de spelcomputer (eerste generatiesysteem) voor het hoofdartikel over dit onderwerp. In de begindagen kon een spelcomputer gebruikt worden om slechts een enkel spel te spelen, of een aantal varianten van één spel, vaak gebaseerd op tennis, zoals bijvoorbeeld het Atari's Pong en Coleco's Telstar. Zie Geschiedenis van de spelcomputer (tweede generatiesysteem) voor het hoofdartikel over dit onderwerp. Tegen het eind van de jaren '70 en begin jaren '80 van de 20e eeuw was Atari een van de eersten met spelcomputers waarop meerdere spellen konden worden gespeeld. Dit werd gedaan door het spel niet in te bouwen, maar op een los medium, zogenaamde spelcartridges, te verkopen. Zo werd het arcadespel Pacman enorm populair in 1980. Atari kreeg al snel concurrentie van Philips (de Videopac G7000), Intellivision, ColecoVision, Nintendo en Sega. [bewerk] Instorten van de markt Zie Geschiedenis van de spelcomputer (8-bitstijdperk) voor het hoofdartikel over dit onderwerp. In 1984 stortte wereldwijd de markt voor computerspellen in. Een van de oorzaken hiervoor was dat er te veel slechte spellen op de markt waren. De populariteit van de homecomputer nam wel toe, vanwege de grotere mogelijkheden én de spelletjes. Atari is na de crash van '84 niet meer de marktleider geweest die het daarvoor was. Nintendo had met zijn Nintendo Entertainment System deze plek overgenomen, en Sega was met het Sega Master System een goede tweede. [bewerk] Moderne spelcomputers Zie Geschiedenis van de spelcomputer (16-bitstijdperk) voor het hoofdartikel over dit onderwerp. Begin jaren '90 kwamen zowel Sega als Nintendo met krachtiger 16-bit systemen, resp. de Sega Mega Drive en het Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Zie Geschiedenis van de spelcomputer (32/64-bitstijdperk) voor het hoofdartikel over dit onderwerp. Halverwege de jaren '90 kwam concurrent Sony op de markt met de Playstation. Dit systeem was krachtiger dan de concurrerende Sega Saturn, en een stuk eerder op de markt dan de Nintendo 64. Deze laatste gebruikte als enige van deze generatie spelcomputers nog spelcasettes, die duurder waren om te produceren dan de cd's van de concurrentie, en bovendien konden daar ook nog veel minder gegevens op worden opgeslagen. Zie Geschiedenis van de spelcomputer (zesde generatiesysteem) voor het hoofdartikel over dit onderwerp. Sega bracht hierna nog de Sega Dreamcast uit, maar dit systeem werd om onduidelijke redenen geen groot succes, en hierom besloot Sega geen hardware meer te maken, maar alleen nog maar spellen. De Playstation 2 van Sony was daarentegen wel een groot succes. Microsoft had ook besloten een graantje te willen meepikken van de spelcomputermarkt, en bracht de Xbox op de markt. Alhoewel deze op diverse vlakken technisch superieur was aan de Playstation 2, was de laatstgenoemde toch een groter succes. Nintendo was ook nog in de markt, en was met de GameCube derde in het rijtje. Zie Geschiedenis van de spelcomputer (zevende generatiesysteem) voor het hoofdartikel over dit onderwerp. Inmiddels is de eerste van de nieuwste generatie spelcomputers verschenen. De eer is aan Microsoft die de Xbox 360 op 2 december 2005 in Europa lanceerde. Ook zijn de Playstation 3 en de Nintendo Wii door respectievelijk Sony en Nintendo uitgegeven in november 2006. [bewerk] Draagbare spelcomputers De markt voor de draagbare spelcomputer loopt vrij los van de ontwikkelingen van de andere spelcomputers. Nintendo produceerde eind jaren '80 de Game Boy. De enige noemenswaardige concurrentie was rond die tijd de Atari Lynx. Deze laatste was technisch veruit superieur, maar door het enorme aanbod aan kwalitatief goede spellen en de lagere prijs was de GameBoy een veel groter succes. Ook de begin jaren '90 gelanceerde Sega Game Gear kon hier niet veel aan veranderen en was eenzelfde lot beschoren als de Atari Lynx. Het grootste probleem van de Sega Game Gear was het grote energieverbruik (6 AA batterijen). De Sega Game Gear verbruikte deze 6 batterijen in 3 tot 5 uur, met name door het backlight schermpje. Sega heeft het in Japan en Amerika nog eens geprobeerd met de Sega Nomad, een handheld die de spellen van de Sega Genesis (USA) /Sega Mega Drive (Japan) kon spelen. Deze handheld is nooit in Europa uitgegeven. In 1998 kwam SNK met de Neo-Geo Pocket die een half jaar later al werd opgevolgd door de Neo-Geo Pocket Color. De Neo Geo Pocket was technisch suprieur aan de Game Boy en kreeg zeer positieve reacties van de pers, maar het grote publiek liet het systeem links liggen. In 1999 verdween de Neo Geo Pocket in het westen en ook in Japan was het daarna snel over. In 1999 lanceerde Bandai op de Japanse markt de WonderSwan die moest concurreren met Nintendo's Game Boy en SNK's Neo-Geo Pocket. De WonderSwan werd opgevolgd door de WonderSwan Color. Begin 2000 lanceerde Nintendo de Gameboy Advance, waarmee de draagbare spelcomputer weer bij de tijd gebracht werd. Daarna is de Gameboy Advance SP gelanceerd een kleinere inklapbare versie met ingebouwde verlichting. In 2004 kwamen zowel Nintendo als Sony met een nieuwe handheld respectievelijk de Nintendo DS en de PSP (Playstation Portable). Hiermee lijkt er eindelijk concurrentie te ontstaan in de handheld markt. Beide systemen verschillen giganatisch. De Nintendo DS heeft twee schermen waarvan één een touchscreen is, maar is minder krachtig, terwijl de PlayStation Portable een soort draagbare Playstation 2 is.
A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer. The term is used to distinguish a machine designed for consumers to buy and use solely for playing video games from a personal computer, which has many other functions, or arcade games, which are designed for businesses to buy and then charge others to play. The term "console" is used in the user manuals of several early video game systems. Its use, however, is not synonymous with "video game system" or the same as its modern usage. It refers to a specific part of the video game system. The Atari 2600, NES, and other consoles from those decades were called "video game systems" at the time. The first company to use the term "console" to officially refer to its video game system was Fairchild with the Channel F in 1976.  History Main article: History of video game consoles  First generation Main article: History of video game consoles (first generation) Although the first computer games appeared in the 50s it was not until 1972 that Magnavox released the first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey. The Odyssey was initially only moderately successful, and it was not until Atari's arcade game PONG popularized video games, that the public began to take more notice of the emerging industry. By 1975 Magnavox, bowing to the popularity of PONG, cancelled the Odyssey and released a scaled down console that only played PONG - the Odyssey 100. Almost simultaneously released with Atari's own home PONG console through Sears, these consoles jump started the consumer market. As with the arcade market, the home market was soon flooded by dedicated consoles that played simple pong and pong derived games.  Second generation Main article: History of video game consoles (second generation) Fairchild released the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (VES) in 1976. While there had been previous game consoles that used cartridges, either the cartridges had no information and served the same function as flipping switches (the Odyssey) or the console itself was empty and the cartridge contained all of the game components. The VES, however, contained a programmable microprocessor so its cartridges only needed a single ROM chip to store microprocessor instructions. RCA and Atari soon released their own cartridge-based consoles.  Video game crash of 1977 In 1977, manufacturers of older obsolete consoles sold their systems at a loss to clear stock, creating a glut in the market and causing Fairchild and RCA to abandon their game consoles. Only Atari and Magnavox stayed in the home console market.  Rebirth of the home console market The VCS continued to be sold at a profit after the 1977 crash, and both Bally (with their Home Library Computer in 1977) and Magnavox (with the Odyssey2 in 1978) brought their own programmable cartridge based consoles to the market. However it wasn't until Atari released a conversion of the arcade hit Space Invaders that the home console industry was completely revived. Many consumers bought an Atari just for Space Invaders. Space Invaders' unprecedented success started the trend of console manufacturers trying to get exclusive rights to arcade titles, and the trend of advertisements for game consoles claiming to bring the arcade experience home. Throughout the early 80's other companies released video game consoles of their own. Many of the video game systems were technically superior to the Atari 2600, and marketed as improvements over the Atari 2600. However, Atari dominated the console market throughout the early 80's  Video game crash of 1983 Main article: Video game crash of 1983 In 1983, the video game business suffered a much more severe crash. A flood of consoles, glut of low quality video games by smaller companies especially for the 2600, industry leader Atari hyping games such as E.T. that were poorly received, and a growing number of home computer users caused consumers and retailers to lose faith and interest in video game consoles. Most video game companies filed for bankruptcy, or moved into other industries, abandoning their game consoles. Intellivision sold the rights of the Intellivision to INTV Corp, who continued to produce Intellivision consoles and develop new games for the Intellivision until 1991. All other North American game consoles were discontinued by 1984.  Third generation Main article: History of video game consoles (third generation) The Robotic Operating Buddy that came packaged with the NESIn 1983, Nintendo released the Famicom in Japan. It supported high-res, full color, tiled backgrounds, and high-res sprites. This allowed Famicom games to be longer, and have more detailed graphics. Nintendo brought their Famicom over to the US in the form of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. In the US, video games were seen as a fad that had already passed. To distinguish its product from older video game consoles Nintendo used a front loading cartridge port similar to a VCR on the NES, packaged the NES with a plastic "robot" (R.O.B) and a light gun (The Zapper), and originally advertised it as a toy. Nintendo also built a lock-out chip into the NES. This kept third parties from producing their own cartridges and forced all developers to go through Nintendo to get NES games published. This allowed Nintendo to do things like prevent developers from releasing low-quality games and limit developers to five titles a year. Like Space Invaders for the 2600, Nintendo found its breakout hit game in Super Mario Brothers. Nintendo's success revived the video game industry and new consoles were soon introduced in the following years to compete with the NES.  Fourth generation Main article: History of video game consoles (fourth generation) Sega's Master System was intended to compete with NES, but never gained any significant market share in the USA and was barely profitable. It fared notably better in PAL territories, especially Brazil. Sega regained market share by releasing their next-generation console, the Sega Mega Drive, which was released in Japan on the 29th of October 1988, and in the USA/Europe on the 1st of September 1989 (renamed in the USA to the Sega Genesis), two years before Nintendo could release the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)(1990).  Fifth generation Main article: History of video game consoles (fifth generation) Going from left to right, top to bottom: Iron Soldier (Atari Jaguar), Gex (3DO), Starfox (SNES), Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES), Virtua Racing (Genesis), Vectorman (Genesis).The first fifth generation consoles were the Atari Jaguar and the 3DO. Both of these systems were much more powerful than the SNES or Genesis (known as Mega Drive outside the U.S.); they were better at rendering polygons, could display more onscreen colors, and the 3DO used CDs that contained far more information than cartridges and were cheaper to produce. Neither of these consoles were serious threats to Sega or Nintendo, though. The 3DO cost more than the SNES and Genesis combined, and the Jaguar was extremely difficult to program for, leading to a lack of games that used its extra power. Nintendo released games like Donkey Kong Country that could display a wide range of tones (something common in fifth-gen games) by limiting the number of hues onscreen, and games like Star Fox that used an extra "Super FX chip" inside of the cartridge to display polygon graphics. Sega followed suit, releasing Vectorman and Virtua Racing (the latter of which used the Sega Virtua Processor.) It was not until Sony's PlayStation, Sega's Saturn, and Nintendo's Nintendo 64 were released that fifth generation consoles started to become popular. They had advanced polygon capabilities. The Saturn and Playstation used CDs to store games, while the N64 still used cartridges. All three cost far less than the 3DO, and were easier to program than the Jaguar. The Saturn also had 2D sprite handling power on par with the Neo-Geo. Atari's Jaguar was released to combat the dominance that Nintendo and Sega were fighting for. Atari's hope was that by designing a "More Powerful" console, they would be able to leap-frog all of the (at the time) released systems and give gamers a technologically superior system. The Jaguar eventually faded into the twilight due to a number of things. Some of the reasons for the failure of the system were, for one, the Jaguar was hard to program for, thus making it too problematic to have good third party support. Another of the Jaguars pitfalls was the the dominance of the previously popular systems. In 1994, The release of the super popular Sony Playstation was the end for the Jaguar. The failure of the Jaguar put Atari into a bad financial situation. Atari, one of the most famous pioneers of the video game market was split and sold to other companies due to the repercussions of their financial woes. The 3DO Interactive multiplayer console was released in Canada and the United States in October, 1993. It was released to much fanfare but was, like the Jaguar, doomed to fade out of the market with little popularity. The system was technically superior to all the videogame consoles released at the time but due to the over saturated videogame market and the hefty US$699.95 price tag, the system did not adopt well into the market. One thing unique about the 3DO consoles is that the rights to manufacturing the console itself was divided up between different companies. These companies released their own different styles of the same console. Sony's PlayStation was released in 1994. The PlayStation was the eventual result of Nintendo's botch-up of a business relationship between Sony and themselves. The deal was to create a hybrid CD based game console with the Super Nintendo System. Nintendo changed the deal and went to Phillips. However, Sony continued work on their CD-based system, leading to the release of the original PlayStation. The PlayStation is one of the best selling consoles ever, with games being released over a decade after its launch. The PlayStation spawned a whole lineup of consoles from generation to generation and has earned Sony great respect as a video game company, becoming the first video game system to sell over 100 million consoles. Sony released a redesigned, smaller more efficient version of the PlayStation entitled the 'PSOne' in the year 2000. Sega's Saturn videogame console was the first independent Sega videogame console to use a CD-ROM based media standard and used a special dual chip processor. This processor was a downfall to the system due to the difficulty to program for the 2 chips in parallel. The Sega Saturn was a mild success which was overshadowed by Sony's surprise dominance of the videogame market. The Sega Saturn was discontinued in 1998 with the release of Sega's last videogame console, the Sega Dreamcast. Nintendo 64, Nintendo's answer to the growing dominance of the PlayStation, was a success for the company. It was a 64-bit console, the only one officially in that class. Unlike the other companies' consoles of the generation, the N64 used ROM cartridges, which many saw as a hindrance to gameplay, as cartriges have much less memory space than optical media. However, Nintendo's answer to this was that unlike CDs, cartriges cannot be damaged by a simple scratch to the surface, nor are load times much of an issue.  Sixth generation Main article: History of video game consoles (sixth generation) This generation saw a move towards PC-like architectures in gaming consoles, as well as a shift towards using DVDs for game media. This brought games that were both longer and more visually appealing. Furthermore, this generation also saw experimentation with online console gaming and implementing both flash and hard drive storage for game data. Sega's Dreamcast was Sega's last video game console, and was the first of the generation's consoles to be discontinued, despite being the first internet ready console. Sega implemented a special type of optical media called the GD-ROM. These discs were created in order to prevent software piracy such as what had been more easily done with consoles of the previous generation (however, by this point in time, this format has too been cracked). The Dreamcast was the last major video game console to be released in the twentieth century. Sony's PlayStation 2 was the follow-up to their highly successful PlayStation, and was also the first home game console to be able to play DVDs. As was done with the original PlayStation in 2000, Sony redesigned the console in 2004 into a smaller version. Nintendo's GameCube was Nintendo's fourth home video game console and the first Nintendo console to use optical media instead of cartriges. Because of the GameCube's smaller size, it could not play standard 12cm DVDs, instead employing its own proprietary 8cm discs. Microsoft's Xbox was the company's first video game console. The first console to employ a hard drive to save games, the Xbox blurred the line between PC and console gaming, as it had similar hardware specifications to a low-end desktop computer at the time of its release. Though criticized for its bulky size, which was easily twice that of the competition, as well as for the awkwardness of the original controller that shipped with it, it eventually gained popularity due to the success of the Halo franchise.  Seventh generation Main article: History of video game consoles (seventh generation) This generation is currently being introduced to the home market. This generation has marked the first generation of systems to use Blu-Ray discs and HD-DVD discs as a gaming and movie playback standard. Like the previous generation, Nintendo is the odd one out, preferring not to utilize brand-new and more expensive hardware to maintain a low price for their console. Microsoft's Xbox 360 was released on November 22, 2005. The 360 is the first console with HDTV support, and is capable of playing HD-DVDs with an add-on. Sony's PlayStation 3 was released in Japan on November 11, 2006 and in North America on November 17, 2006. It is scheduled for release in Europe in March of 2007. All PlayStation 3's come with a hard drive (either 20GB for $499 or 60GB for $599) and are ready to play Blu-Ray video discs and games out of the box. Controllers connect to the console through Bluetooth and are tilt-sensitive, but unlike previous PlayStation family consoles, do not have rumble features. Nintendo's Wii was released in North America on November 19, 2006, and will be released in Japan on December 2, 2006, Australia on December 7, 2006, and in Europe on December 8, 2006. Wii features a completely redesigned controller which resembles a TV remote, which also adds both motion and tilt sensors to its design. Wii can play GameCube games as well as its own software through a slot-loading disc drive, and features ports for GameCube controllers and memory cards, for full backwards compatibility. Wii Sports ships with the system in all regions except for Japan. Unlike the other two systems of the seventh generation, both of which cost upwards of US$400, Wii retails for approximately $250.  Bits The Sega Megadrive was branded as a 16-bit consoleEach new generation of console hardware made use of the rapid development of processing technology. Newer machines could output a greater range of colours, more sprites, and introduced graphical technologies such as scaling, and vector graphics. One way this increase in processing power was conveyed to consumers was through the measurement of "bits". The TurboGrafx 16, Genesis, and SNES were among the first consoles to advertise the fact that they contained 16-bit processors. This fourth generation of console hardware was often referred to as the 16-bit era, and the previous generation as the 8-bit. The bit-value of a console referred to the word length of a console's processor (although the value was sometimes misused, for example the TurboGrafx 16 had only an 8-bit CPU, but a 16-bit dedicated graphics processor). As the graphical performance of console hardware is dependent on many factors, using bits was a crude way to gauge a console's overall ability, but served better to distinguish between generations.  Timeline Note: This is an abridged timeline of video game consoles in North America. Note: This is an abridged timeline of video game consoles in Japan. Note: This is an abridged timeline of video game consoles in Europe. Note some consoles are omitted from the timelines due to a lack of known dates; see the list of video game consoles.  Media This article or section does not cite its references or sources. You can help Wikipedia by introducing appropriate citations. This article has been tagged since October 2006.To meet Wikipedia's quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. Please discuss this issue on the talk page, or replace this tag with a more specific message. Editing help is available. This article has been tagged since November 2006.  Cartridges Game cartridges consist of a printed circuit board housed inside of a plastic casing with a connector allowing the device to interface with the console. This board carries ROM chips storing the software in question. Some cartridges carried components that boosted the original console's power, such as extra RAM or a coprocessor. Cartridges were the first external media to be used with home consoles and remained the most common until the mid nineties due to continued improvements in capacity. Nevertheless, the relatively high manufacturing costs saw them completely replaced by optical media for home consoles by the early 21st century. They are still in use in some hand held video game consoles.  Cards The Sega Master System and the Turbo Grafix could play games stored on smart cards. The cards were cheaper to produce, but held less information than cartridges. Due to advances in flash memory technology in the early 21st century, the Nintendo DS system uses "game cards" which are of a larger capacity than mid-1990s cartridges, and are significantly cheaper to make.  Magnetic media Magnetic tapes were popular on early computer systems, but seldom used on consoles. At the time they could hold more information than cartridges, particularly if games were stored on multiple tapes, the media could be written to, and could be manufactured more cheaply than cartridges. These were rendered obsolete by magnetic disks in the same applications, which behaved similarly while having a larger capacity, faster reading speed, and greater robustness. These in turn were rendered obsolete by optical media.  Optical media In the mid-1990s, various manufacturers shifted to optical media, specifically CD-ROM, for games. Although slower than the cartridges available at that time, they were significantly cheaper to manufacture and had a larger capacity than the existing cartridge technology. By the early 21st century, all of the major home consoles used optical media, usually DVD-ROM or similar disks, which are widely replacing CD-ROM for data storage. The PlayStation 3 system uses an even higher-capacity, but more expensive, Blu-Ray optical discs.  Internet distribution All three Seventh Generation, or "next-gen" consoles (the PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360) offer some kind of internet games distribution service, allowing users to download games for a fee onto some form of non-volatile storage, typically a hard disk or flash memory.
A game is a structured or semi-structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment. The term "game" is also used to describe simulation of various activities e.g., for the purposes of training, analysis or prediction, etc., see "Game (simulation)". Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interactivity. Games generally involve mental or physical stimulation, and sometimes both. Many games help develop practical skills, serve as a form of exercise, or otherwise perform an educational, simulational or psychological role. Known to have been played as far back as prehistoric times, games are generally distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more concerned with the expression of ideas. However, the distinction is not clear-cut, and many games may also be considered work and/or art. Ludwig Wittgenstein was probably the first to give serious thought to the definition of the word. In his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein demonstrated that the elements of games, such as play, rules, and competition, all fail to adequately define what games are. He subsequently argued that the concept "game" could not be contained by any single definition, but that games must be looked at as a series of definitions that share a "family resemblance" to one another. Computer game designer Chris Crawford attempted to define the term game using a series of dichotomies: Creative expression is art if made for its own beauty, and entertainment if made for money. (This is the least rigid of his definitions. Crawford acknowledges that he often chooses a creative path over conventional business wisdom, which is why he rarely produces sequels to his games.) A piece of entertainment is a plaything if it is interactive. Movies and books are cited as examples of non-interactive entertainment. If no goals are associated with a plaything, it is a toy. (Crawford notes that by his definition, (a) a toy can become a game element if the player makes up rules, and (b) The Sims and SimCity are toys, not games.) If it has goals, a plaything is a challenge. If a challenge has no ?active agent against whom you compete,? it is a puzzle; if there is one, it is a conflict. (Crawford admits that this is a subjective test. Some games with noticeably algorithmic artificial intelligence can be played as puzzles; these include the patterns used to evade ghosts in Pac-Man.) Finally, if the player can only outperform the opponent, but not attack them to interfere with their performance, the conflict is a competition. (Competitions include racing and figure skating.) However, if attacks are allowed, then the conflict qualifies as a game. Crawford's definition may thus be rendered as: an interactive, goal-oriented activity which features opposition with which the player can interfere and is not done primarily for aesthetic or monetary concerns. Crawford also notes (ibid.) these other definitions: ?A form of play with goals and structure.? (Kevin Maroney) ?A game is a form of art in which participants, termed players, make decisions in order to manage resources through game tokens in the pursuit of a goal.? (Greg Costikyan) ?An activity with some rules engaged in for an outcome.? (Eric Zimmerman)  Single-player games Single-player games are unique in respect to the type of challenges a player faces. Unlike a game with multiple players competing with or against each other to reach the game's goal, a one-player game is a battle solely against an artificial opponent, against oneself's own skills, or against chance. Playing with a yo-yo or playing tennis against a wall is not generally recognised as playing a game due to the lack of any formidable opposition. However, this is not the case in a single player computer game where the computer provides opposition.  Play and gameplay Games can be characterized by "what the player does." This is often referred to as gameplay. Major key elements identified in this context are tools and rules which define the overall context of game and which in turn produce skill, strategy, and chance. The term gameplay arose along the development of computer game designers in the 1980s, and was used primarily within the context of video or computer games, though now its popularity has begun to see use in the description of other, more traditional, game forms.  Tools This section does not cite its references or sources. You can help Wikipedia by introducing appropriate citations.This article has been tagged since June 2006. Games are often classified by the components that are required to play them (e.g. a ball, cards, a board and pieces or a computer). In places where the use of leather is well established, the ball has been a popular game piece throughout recorded history, resulting in a worldwide popularity of ball games (rugby, basketball, football, cricket, tennis, volleyball). Other tools are more idiosyncratic to a certain region. Cards, for instance, display great variations between the countries of Europe where they were originally popularized. Other games such as chess may be traced primarily through the development and evolution of its game pieces. Many game tools are tokens, meant to represent other things. This may be a pawn on a board, fake money, or even intangible things such as points earned by scoring a goal. In computer games, the evolution of user interfaces from simple keyboard to mouse, joystick or joypad has had a profound impact to game development. Moreover, computer games can create virtual tools to be used in a game, such as cards or dice. Games such as hide-and-seek or tag do not utilise any obvious tool. Rather its interactivity is defined by the environment. Games with the same or similar rules may have different gameplay if the environment is altered. For example, hide-and-seek in a school building differs from the same game in a park; an auto race can be radically different depending on the track or street course, even with the same cars.  Rules Whereas games are often characterized by their tools, they are often defined by their rules. While rules are subject to variations and changes, enough change in the rules usually results in a "new" game. For instance, baseball can be played with "real" baseballs or with whiffleballs. However, if the players decide to play with only three bases, they are arguably playing a different game. Rules generally determine turn order, the rights and responsibilities of the players, and win conditions. Player rights may include when they may spend resources or move tokens. Win conditions are often measured in meeting a certain quota of tokens (as in Settlers of Catan), having the greatest number of tokens at the end of the game (as in Monopoly), or some relationship of game tokens (as in chess's checkmate). Ludwig Wittgenstein went as far as arguing that language was itself a game consisting of tokens governed by rough-and-ready rules that arise by convention and are not strict.  Skill, strategy, and chance The emergent effect of a game's tools and rules applied by players is to display skill, strategy, and chance. Games may be typified when they prominently feature one of these. Games of skill includes games of physical skill, such as wrestling, tag of war, hopscotch and target shooting, and games of mental skill such as checkers and chess. However, certain competitive sports such as marathons, 100m track, or gymnastics are often not recognised as games (though it is a part of the Olympic Games) because the idea of testing pure physical attributes does not contain interactivity. Games of strategy include checkers, chess, go, arimaa, and tic-tac-toe. They, as in games of chance, often require special equipment to be played. Games of chance include various form of gambling games (blackjack, mah jong, roulette etc) and snakes and ladders as well as rock-scissor-paper. However, flipping a coin is not consider to be a game because pure chance determines the outcome. However, most games contain various degrees of all above elements. For example, football and baseball involve both skill and strategy while poker and Monopoly involve strategy and chance. It is often the interaction of these elements that makes gameplay enjoyable.  Anthropology of games Games are intimately connected to culture and often have some social aspect. For example, games can be characterized in terms of the intended occasion of play: party games are played at parties, and family games with families. This characterization may also serve as a tool of exclusion. A drinking game is rarely appropriate for children, for instance, and polo requires significant investment both in terms of money and leisure time, making it a game of the upper class. Some games are simply mind games. These games can be played anywhere ands by anyone and are spread by word of mouth. A modern day example of this is The Game. the Object of The Game is not to think about it. If you think about The Game then you have lost and the losing player must announce this fact.  Animals and games Domestic animals have been observed playing simpler games such as tag, tug-of-war, and fetch. Whether this is due to instinct or conscious choice, and whether the animals are capable of the strategic thinking to interfere with their opposition, questions whether this activity is actually a game.  Types of games  Field games (sports) Association football is a popular sport worldwide.Main article: Sports Sports are arguably the most popular type of game. Sports often require special equipment and playing fields or prepared grounds dedicated to their practice. This fact often requires the involvement of a community beyond the players themselves. The community may set aside such resources for the benefit of the young, such as in Little League. Popular sports may have spectators who are entertained by just watching it. Communities often align themselves with sports teams, who in a sense represent that community; they often align themselves against their opponents or have traditional rivalries. The concept of fandom began with sports fans. Stanley Fish cited the balls and strikes of baseball as a clear example of social construction, the operation of rules on the game's tools. While the strike zone target is governed by the rules of the game, it epitomizes the category of things that exist only because people have agreed to treat them as real. No pitch is a ball or a strike until it has been labeled as such by an appropriate authority, the plate umpire, whose judgment on this matter cannot be challenged within the current game.  Computer games Main article: Computer game A computer game is a computer-controlled game. There always must also be some sort of input device, usually in the form of button/joystick combinations (on arcade games), a keyboard and mouse or trackball combination (computer games), or a controller (console games), or a combination of any of the above. More esoteric devices have also been used for input. An interesting feature of computer games is the conceit that any game can be emulated as a computer game. Because computer games are simulations, every conceviable tool, environment or rules can be created. Whether or not the computer emulation possesses the same gameplay as the original game is an open question. In more open-ended computer simulations, the player may be free to do whatever they like within the confines of the virtual universe. However, without goals and opposition, it is questionable whether these programs are games or toys. Noted game designer Will Wright is well known for making use of this 'open-ended' design philosophy, though he seems to prefer the terms 'simulation' or 'sandbox', and uses these terms almost exclusively when describing his work. This section is a stub. You can help by expanding it. Parcheesi is a board game originating in India.  Board games Main article: Board Game Board games use as a central tool a board on which the players' status, resources, and progress are tracked using physical tokens. Such games often also incorporate dice and cards. This section is a stub. You can help by expanding it.  Card games Main article: Card game Card games use as a central tool a deck of cards. The cards may be standard playing cards or a deck specific to the individual game. Many card games such as Uno and Rook were originally played using a standard deck and have since been published with customized decks. Most standard decks will have fifty-two cards in them. Thirteen of each suit. The four suits are clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds. Many games such as go fish, crazy 8's, and others are played with a traditional deck of cards. Standard decks also include two to four jokers with them. Jokers are usually removed, but included in some particular games. This section is a stub. You can help by expanding it.  Role playing games Main article: Role playing game Role playing games, often abbreviated as RPGs, is a type of game in which the participants assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories and world setting. This section is a stub. You can help by expanding it.  Game types Alternate reality games Ball games Card games Collectible card games Casino games Children's games Clapping games Computer and video games Computer puzzle games Online games Online skill-based games MUDs MMORPGs Conversation games Counting-out games Creative games Dice games Drinking games Educational games Economics games Game shows Games of chance Games of dare Games of logic Games of mental skill Games of physical skill Games of strategy Games of status Global Positioning System-based games Group-dynamic games Guessing games Letter games Locative games Mathematical games Open gaming Party games Parlor games Pencil and paper games Play-by-mail games Playground games Political games PowerPoint games Pub games Puzzles Quizzes Role-playing games Singing games Spoken games Street games String games Table-top games Tile-based games Theatre games Traditional games Travel games Wargames Win-win games Word games