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Non-game

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Non-games are a class of software on the border between video games and toys. The term "non-game game" was coined by late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, who describes it as "a form of entertainment that really doesn't have a winner, or even a real conclusion".[1] Will Wright had previously used the term "software toy" for the same purpose.[2] The main difference between non-games and traditional video games is the lack of structured goals, objectives, and challenges.[3] This allows the player a greater degree of self-expression through freeform play, since they can set up their own goals to achieve. Some genres that have been considered non-games include language-learning software, digital tabletop games, puzzle games, simulation games, and art games.

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Software

Software

Software is a set of computer programs and associated documentation and data. This is in contrast to hardware, from which the system is built and which actually performs the work.

Video game

Video game

Video games, also known as computer games, are electronic games that involve interaction with a user interface or input device – such as a joystick, controller, keyboard, or motion sensing device – to generate audiovisual feedback. This feedback is most commonly shown on a video display device, such as a TV set, monitor, touchscreen, or virtual reality headset. Some computer games do not always depend on a graphics display; for example, text adventure games and computer chess can be played through teletype printers. Video games are often augmented with audio feedback delivered through speakers or headphones, and sometimes with other types of feedback, including haptic technology.

Toy

Toy

A toy or plaything is an object that is used primarily to provide entertainment. Simple examples include toy blocks, board games, and dolls. Toys are often designed for use by children, although many are designed specifically for adults and pets. Toys can provide utilitarian benefits, including physical exercise, cultural awareness, or academic education. Additionally, utilitarian objects, especially those which are no longer needed for their original purpose, can be used as toys. Examples include children building a fort with empty cereal boxes and tissue paper spools, or a toddler playing with a broken TV remote control. The term "toy" can also be used to refer to utilitarian objects purchased for enjoyment rather than need, or for expensive necessities for which a large fraction of the cost represents its ability to provide enjoyment to the owner, such as luxury cars, high-end motorcycles, gaming computers, and flagship smartphones.

Nintendo

Nintendo

Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game company headquartered in Kyoto. It develops and releases video games and video game consoles.

Satoru Iwata

Satoru Iwata

Satoru Iwata was a Japanese businessman, video game programmer, video game designer, and producer. He was the fourth president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Nintendo from 2002 until his death in 2015. He was a major contributor in broadening the appeal of video games by focusing on novel and entertaining games rather than top-of-the-line hardware.

Will Wright (game designer)

Will Wright (game designer)

William Ralph Wright is an American video game designer and co-founder of the game development company Maxis, which later became part of part of Electronic Arts. In April 2009, he left EA to run Stupid Fun Club Camp, an entertainment think tank in which Wright and EA are principal shareholders.

Computer-assisted language learning

Computer-assisted language learning

Computer-assisted language learning (CALL), British, or Computer-Aided Instruction (CAI)/Computer-Aided Language Instruction (CALI), American, is briefly defined in a seminal work by Levy as "the search for and study of applications of the computer in language teaching and learning". CALL embraces a wide range of information and communications technology applications and approaches to teaching and learning foreign languages, from the "traditional" drill-and-practice programs that characterised CALL in the 1960s and 1970s to more recent manifestations of CALL, e.g. as used in a virtual learning environment and Web-based distance learning. It also extends to the use of corpora and concordancers, interactive whiteboards, computer-mediated communication (CMC), language learning in virtual worlds, and mobile-assisted language learning (MALL).

Digital tabletop game

Digital tabletop game

A digital tabletop game is a video game genre that includes video games that have gameplay similar to physical tabletop games, including board games, card games, and role-playing games. Many digital tabletop games are adaptions of existing physical games into the video games, though some of these are wholly digital games that use tabletop game mechanics. There are also tabletop game simulators that allow for users to recreate tabletop games from a variety of game pieces.

Puzzle video game

Puzzle video game

Puzzle video games make up a broad genre of video games that emphasize puzzle solving. The types of puzzles can test problem-solving skills, including logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, spatial recognition, and word completion. Many puzzle games involve a real-time element and require quick thinking, such as Tetris (1984) and Lemmings (1991).

Simulation video game

Simulation video game

Simulation video games are a diverse super-category of video games, generally designed to closely simulate real world activities. A simulation game attempts to copy various activities from real life in the form of a game for various purposes such as training, analysis, prediction, or entertainment. Usually there are no strictly defined goals in the game, and the player is allowed to control a character or environment freely. Well-known examples are war games, business games, and role play simulation. From three basic types of strategic, planning, and learning exercises: games, simulations, and case studies, a number of hybrids may be considered, including simulation games that are used as case studies. Comparisons of the merits of simulation games versus other teaching techniques have been carried out by many researchers and a number of comprehensive reviews have been published.

Art game

Art game

An art game is a work of interactive new media digital software art as well as a member of the "art game" subgenre of the serious video game. The term "art game" was first used academically in 2002 and it has come to be understood as describing a video game designed to emphasize art or whose structure is intended to produce some kind of reaction in its audience. Art games are interactive and the result of artistic intent by the party offering the piece for consideration. They also typically go out of their way to have a unique, unconventional look, often standing out for aesthetic beauty or complexity in design. The concept has been extended by some art theorists to the realm of modified ("modded") gaming when modifications have been made to existing non-art games to produce graphic results intended to be viewed as an artistic display, as opposed to modifications intended to change game play scenarios or for storytelling. Modified games created for artistic purposes are sometimes referred to as "video game art".

History

Non-games have existed since the early days of video games, although there hasn't been a specific term for them. One of the first is Atari Inc.’s 1977 Surround, a two-player snake game for the Atari VCS, which contains a free-form drawing mode called "Video Graffiti." Later examples which were sold as games but present a less structured experience are Alien Garden (Epyx, 1982), Moondust (Creative Software, 1983), Worms? (one of the 1983 launch titles from Electronic Arts), I, Robot (Atari, 1983) which contains an "ungame mode" called "Doodle City," and Jeff Minter's Psychedelia (Llamasoft, 1984), which is an interactive light synthesizer.

A map created in Adventure Construction Set
A map created in Adventure Construction Set

Bill Budge's Pinball Construction Set (Electronic Arts, 1983) popularized software where building something is more entertaining than playing the finished product. To a lesser extent, some games became construction sets through the inclusion of level editors, like Doug Smith's Lode Runner (Broderbund, 1983), Ron Rosen's Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory (Datamost, 1983), and John Anderson's Rally Speedway (Adventure International, 1983). Other more proper construction sets followed, such as EA's Adventure Construction Set (1984) and Racing Destruction Set (1985).

In January 1984, Joel Gluck presented a simple toy called Bounce in his game design column in ANALOG Computing.[4] Bounce lets users draw low-resolution lines, then release a block that leaves a permanent trail as it moves across the screen, making patterns as it reflects off of obstacles. The program is specifically designed not to have goals or scorekeeping, other than what's in the user's head. Bounce was revisited several times in ANALOG, including a version which allows multiple active blocks at once.[5]

The 1989 simulation game SimCity was called a software toy by its creator Will Wright, since there is no ultimate objective in the main game; scenarios with objectives existed in some incarnations of the game, such as SimCity 2000, but these were not the focus.[6]

Non-games have been particularly successful on the Nintendo DS and Wii platforms, where a broad range of Japanese titles have appealed to a growing number of casual gamers.[7][8] Types of non-games included language-learning software for English and Japanese (including one for the memorization of kanji), Go-learning games, puzzle games and cooking games.[8]

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Atari 2600

Atari 2600

The Atari 2600 is a home video game console developed and produced by Atari, Inc. Released in September 1977, it popularized microprocessor-based hardware and games stored on swappable ROM cartridges, a format first used with the Fairchild Channel F in 1976. Branded as the Atari Video Computer System from its release until November 1982, the VCS was bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a game cartridge—initially Combat and later Pac-Man.

Alien Garden

Alien Garden

Alien Garden is a non-game for the Atari 8-bit family published by Epyx in 1982 by Bernie DeKoven and programmed by virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier. Designed with an emphasis on the need for experimentation, Alien Garden was described by its creators as an art game, and ranks among the earliest art games. Its release predates Lanier's Moondust by a year.

Moondust (video game)

Moondust (video game)

Moondust is a 1983 generative music video game created for the Commodore 64 by virtual reality pioneer, Jaron Lanier. Moondust was programmed in 6502 assembly in 1982, and is considered the first art video game. Moondust has frequently been used as an art installation piece in museum exhibitions from Corcoran Gallery of Art's 1983 "ARTcade" to the Smithsonian's 2012 "The Art of Video Games". It has also been used by Lanier and others in papers and lectures as an example to demonstrate the unexpected ephemerality of digital data.

I, Robot (video game)

I, Robot (video game)

I, Robot is an arcade shooter game developed and released in 1984 by Atari, Inc. Designed by Dave Theurer, only a total of 750–1000 arcade cabinets were produced. The arcade machine comes with two games. The first is I, Robot, a multi-directional shooter that has the player assume the role of "Unhappy Interface Robot #1984", a servant bot that rebels against Big Brother. The object of the game involves the servant bot going through 126 levels, turning red squares to blue to destroy Big Brother's shield and eye. The player can switch to the second game, Doodle City, a drawing tool that lasts for three minutes.

Jeff Minter

Jeff Minter

Jeff Minter is an English video game designer and programmer who often goes by the name Yak. He is the founder of software house Llamasoft and has created dozens of games during his career, which began in 1981 with games for the ZX80. Minter's games are shoot 'em ups which contain titular or in-game references demonstrating his fondness of ruminants. Many of his programs also feature something of a psychedelic element, as in some of the earliest "light synthesizer" programs including Trip-a-Tron.

Bill Budge

Bill Budge

Bill Budge is a retired American video game programmer and designer. He is best known for the Apple II games Raster Blaster (1981) and Pinball Construction Set (1983).

Pinball Construction Set

Pinball Construction Set

Pinball Construction Set is a video game by Bill Budge written for the Apple II. It was originally published in 1982 through Budge's own company, BudgeCo, then was released by Electronic Arts in 1983 along with ports to the Atari 8-bit family and Commodore 64.

Douglas E. Smith

Douglas E. Smith

Douglas E. Smith, usually credited as Doug Smith, was an American video game designer and programmer best known as the author of the 8-bit game Lode Runner (1983), considered a seminal work of the 1980s.

Lode Runner

Lode Runner

Lode Runner is a 2D puzzle-platform game, developed by Doug Smith and published by Broderbund in 1983. Its gameplay mechanics are similar to Space Panic from 1980. The player controls a character who must collect all the gold pieces in a level and get to the end while being chased by a number of enemies. It is one of the first games to include a level editor.

Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory

Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory

Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory is a platform game created for the Atari 8-bit family by Ron Rosen and published in 1983 by Datamost. The music was composed by Gary Gilbertson using Philip Price's Advanced Music Processor, while the title screen was drawn by Art Huff. It was ported to the Apple II by Robert McNally and to the Commodore 64.

Adventure Construction Set

Adventure Construction Set

Adventure Construction Set (ACS) is a computer game creation system written by Stuart Smith that is used to construct tile-based graphical adventure games. ACS was originally published by Electronic Arts (EA) in 1984 on the Commodore 64, and was later ported to the Apple II, Amiga, and DOS. It was one of EA's biggest hits of 1985, earning a Software Publishers Association "Gold Disk" award.

ANALOG Computing

ANALOG Computing

ANALOG Computing was an American computer magazine devoted to the Atari 8-bit family of home computers. It was published from 1981 until 1989. In addition to reviews and tutorials, ANALOG printed multiple programs in each issue for users to type in. The magazine had a reputation for machine language games—much smoother than those written in Atari BASIC—and which were uncommon in competing magazines. Such games were accompanied by the assembly language source code.

Source: "Non-game", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-game.

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References
  1. ^ IGN: GDC 2005: Iwata Keynote Transcript, March 2005
  2. ^ "I want my software toy". Brainy Gamer. September 25, 2008.
  3. ^ Francisco Queiroz: Insular, Critical Appraisal. September 2005
  4. ^ Gluck, Joel (January 1984). "Our Game". ANALOG Computing (15).
  5. ^ Gluck, Joel (February 1985). "More Fun with Bounce!". ANALOG Computing (27). Archived from the original on 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2015-05-21.
  6. ^ The History of Civilization at GamaSutra
  7. ^ Gpara.com Archived 2015-05-24 at the Wayback Machine: non-games sales figures in Japan, May 2007 (in Japanese)
  8. ^ a b IGN: Non-Game Flood: Twelve more non games are set for the Japanese DS, July 2006
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