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Jesse Schell in The Art of Game Design on “what is a game”:

There is nothing wrong with people having their own personal opinions about the proper definition of game, and what is or is not really a game, just as they may have similar opinions about what really is or not “music,” “art,” or “a sport.”

Some people, mostly academics [..] view the lack of standardized definitions in the world of game design as ‘a crisis’ that is holding back the art form. Usually, the people most concerned about this are the farthest removed from actual design and development of games.

I agree with this 100% on a few grounds. ¬†First of all, I’ve got no problem with discussing with people what “is a game,” but honestly, the idea barely affects the way I think about games; particularly video games. ¬†Second of all, and this isn’t exclusive to the video game industry, the people who frequently have the strongest opinions on how to define and exclude things are, as Jesse alludes to, often the people who are too retracted from the creation process to matter.