Toward a Critical Vocabulary for Games

There is a continuing need to clarify the concepts used within game studies, and defining ‘game’ is one of continuing interest. This article by game designer and critic Greg Costikyan is interesting in the way it discusses the process of constructing the definition it puts forward. The original version was published in 1994 in Interactive Fantasy #2, the revised version in CGDC conference proceedings in 2002.

Costikyan, Greg (2002) ‘I Have No Words & I Must Design: Toward a Critical Vocabulary for Games’. In: Frans Mäyrä (ed), CGDC Conference Proceedings. Studies in Information Sciences. Tampere: Tampere University Press, pp. 9–33. Online:


One Response to “Toward a Critical Vocabulary for Games”

  1. Thanks so much both of you Costikyan for having written the paper and Mayra for publishing it here. I am researching how to design good educational digital games. So first I have to have a definition of what a game is to understand then how to design it. Costikyan defined it nicely by saying “we need to understand what a game is, and to break “gameplay”
    down into identifi able chunks. We need, in short, a critical vocabulary for

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