Why Do We Play Games?

A video game is a complex structured form of interactive play, normally undertaken for fun or entertainment, sometimes also used as a teaching tool. Games are quite different from work, which traditionally is carried out only for monetary compensation, and from literature, which often is more of an expression of historical or artistic aspects. In most cases, games are carried out by groups or individuals, with the object of obtaining a virtual reward for carrying out a specific task.


There is considerable evidence that people tend to play games more after they have been schooled in a formal environment, such as a school or university. This is because, by the time people are schooled, they tend to have developed significant skill sets relating to taking part in structured games. People playing video games are more likely to be interested in them than would be people who, say, are studying art or history. Thus games can teach people skills they would otherwise learn in less formal settings.

The other important point about games is that they are very social activities. This is both in the sense that people play games with people they like, and in the sense that they play games with other people. Thus people playing video games are more likely to be involved in social and communal activities than are people in other kinds of activities. They tend to enjoy themselves more and are happier. This is perhaps why video games have become so widely accepted as entertainment.