The gaming landscape: a taxonomy for classifying games and simulations


Following Huizinga’s view, the play element of culture is emphasized. While playing, by means of rules, the participants in a game interact with one another to impact on the reference system. Thousands of simulation games are available that depict many different areas and purposes of use. The variety of the gaming landscape is illustrated by linking the various foci and areas of interest in one scheme. To see the wood for the trees, the generic model of games is presented, based on the three interconnected building blocks: actors, rules, and resources. I will point out that even if games have similar forms, their purpose, subject matter, content, context of use, and intended audience(s), may be very different. A framework for constructing, deconstructing and classifying games emerges, based on the combination of the three building blocks with elements of a semiotic theory of gaming: syntax, semantics and pragmatics.