Rules in Computer Games Compared to Rules in Traditional Games

DeLeon Chris
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Michael Liebe argues that Salen and Zimmerman's interpretation of Huizinga's magic circle does not apply to computer games. Liebe's insight reveals not only a different relation for computer games to the magic circle, but also hints at a difference in the nature of rules in computer games. Jesper Juul's comparison of non-digital sports to simulations of those sports highlights a missing aspect in understanding how rules in computer games are of a different nature than those of non-computer games: rules as flexibly defining real-time spatial interactions. Rules in computer games are more like laws of physics, rules in non-computer games are more like laws of society. Besides meta rules such as tournament arrangements, only a handful of "rules" - as the word is applied to non-computer games - exist for nearly all computer games. Moreover, such rules are largely the same: use standard input, and don't alter the game.