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  •    Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap  
    Friday, December 09 2005 @ 10:41 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    In case you missed it, Jesper Juulís new book is out: Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds.

    Iím looking forward to getting a copy and catching up on Jesperís good ideas. He always has a very interesting and informed point of view on games.

    But even before I crack the book, I have the tiniest of bones to pickóheís taken his considerable knowledge and insight and placed it firmly on the opposite side of a debate Iíve been engaged in for a while.

    Itís ďvideogamesĒ not ďvideo games.Ē

    Look, Iíve heard the arguments before. Itís motion pictures, right? Graphic novels? Interactive entertainment? Two words. Don't go shoving them together into neologisms.

    Of course, that argument goes nowhere fast. Itís not tele vision, air craft, the Inter net or joy stick. There are plenty of times it just makes sense to glue two words together to make new one. (And someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I think thatís what the Germanís do all the time.)

    In the U.S., the habit it to write video games, as two words. In Europe, I usually see videogames. Newman's fine book is "Videogames" and he is a Brit. I like the single word because it helps clarify the world of videogames as a certain type of game, and not just a qualified class of games like puzzle games or word games. And even more to point, ďvideogamesĒ Googles better. Itís easier to search for the single word term.

    Iíve made this case on a number of occasions. In one significant example, I have been working with the International Game Journalists Association to establish a style guide. While itís still in the works, I wrote the entry on videogames. And, yes, that style guide calls for the one-word variant.

    This might seem like a trivial issue. And perhaps trival things just thrill me. But I think that a little international consistency would help. So Iíll keep sounding the horn. I just wish Jesper was with me on this one.


    Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap | 24 comments | Create New Account
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    Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap
    Authored by: blinks on Wednesday, December 14 2005 @ 10:08 PM UTC
    "Itís not tele vision, air craft, the Inter net or joy stick."

    As is noted on Joystiq:

    "Tele" is a prefix. "Craft" is practically a suffix. "Inter" is definitely a prefix, and "joy" is being used as a prefix.

    I think the only good example there is the joystick, and even that is pretty iffy: there isn't a large class of sticks that we talk about, but there is a large class of games.

    A better example would have been: "it's not board games, role-playing games, or computer games" -- oh, wait; it is.
    [ Reply to This ]
  • Video Games - Authored by: m3mnoch on Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 04:49 AM UTC
  • Juul Schmuul
    Authored by: eben on Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 02:43 AM UTC
    I was disappointed to read Juul's paper outlining the use of
    the terms 'emergence' and 'progression' as defining
    categories of videogames. Not that I think they are not useful
    terms in themselves, but Juul's defenitions of either type
    seem to me coarse and problematic.

    He sets 'games of progression' as opposite to 'games of
    emergence'. While some doozys might conform to just one or
    the other category, it seems that many games today attempt
    to reach a balance between the two elements. Cases in
    point: money-making or gang-war strategies in GTA3 (a
    game that also featured a linear story progression) also the
    classically emergent football game has gone soft on
    emergence with 'Blitz: the League' swearing off the NFL and
    opting instead for a storyline that runs the course of a
    season. (Hey, you got emergence in my progression! Hey,
    you got progression in my emergence! Wait a minute, this
    kicks ass!)

    While I respect Juul's extensive work and research, I have to
    again complain of this tendency to approach game theory as
    if we were dissecting a fish and all we have to do is think of
    good names for the organs. If instead we are looking for
    certain player tendencies and gameplay-related phenomena,
    we should not assume the medium follows such strict,
    deterministic codes such as emergence 'vs' progression. (Just
    like Frasca's 'Simulation "vs" narrative') The medium is
    overwhelmingly cross-media, cross-discipline and
    experientially subjective. Emergence is not 'better' than
    progression nor is a structure of simulation superior to
    narrative-structuring. Hell, they all make good games, don't
    they? What are we missing?

    I'm beginning to think maybe we aren't asking the right
    questions. ( I'm going/coming back to the 'violence and video
    games debate, it's got more cred than most of the stuff I've
    read out of the Netherlands lately.)


    (How come out of all the new terms postulated by all
    manners of students, researchers and designers we still can't
    even agree how to spell 'videogame'? [sic?] )
    [ Reply to This ]
    Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap
    Authored by: Tablesaw on Thursday, December 15 2005 @ 08:59 AM UTC
    I haven't yet seen a dictionary, American or British, that lists "videogame" instead of (or even in addition to) "video game". Since any respectable style guide will refer to a dictionary, that makes "videogame" the de facto standard. "Videogame" may be easier for you to Google, but "video game" Googles better in the sense that it returns fifty times as many hits. Google knows this too, which is why it helpfully suggests that you search for "video game" when you try to search for "videogame". And when I look around, I continue to see "video game" as the standard in edited prose and "videogame" as the standard in casual prose (in either case, regardless of its country of origin).

    "Videogame" does have advantages. For one thing, it eliminates the secondary style question of whether to write "video game merchandise" or "video-game merchandise". But we're still several years away from widespread acceptance on this. Continue to fight for change, but don't berate "video gamers" for being wrong or backward. They're "more correct" than you are by all traditional standards.
    [ Reply to This ]
  • Correction to this comment. - Authored by: Tablesaw on Saturday, December 17 2005 @ 02:40 PM UTC
  • Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap
    Authored by: ShaperMC on Monday, December 19 2005 @ 07:33 PM UTC
    I think you really have a point on the videogames over video games topic. I implore you to take a look at Andrew Toups' article "Show me Something Gorgeous" in issue 4 of The Gamer's Quarter. It hits on this topic as well, though not for the sake of consistency. if you want to take a look. Let me know what you think.
    [ Reply to This ]
    Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap
    Authored by: CapCom on Tuesday, December 20 2005 @ 05:39 PM UTC
    As much as I like the term "videogames" and insist on using it, "video games" is the popular standard. As mentioned before, there are many more hits for "video games" on Google, but also of note, stores like Gamestop (not "Game Stop") use the term "video games". Nintendo's website uses the term "video games", too. What's even more interesting to note is that more often we talk about "games" when we talk about videogames - "Game of the Year", "our console will have the most innovative games", "I own the best games". It's implied that we're talking about videogames here and not board games or card games.

    The all-encompassing term here is obviously 'games' such that we can then categorize games depending on other elements like 'is it played with players' 'is it played on a table top', 'is it played on an electronic (video) display?' What gives us problems is that videogames contain sports games and board games as well as "video games" (which is a bit more than we can say for board games and sports games, though that might be kind of interesting to combine those :P). Videogames are clearly a sub-category of games, but unlike more traditional sub-categories, videogames contains multiple types of games. Similarly, if you've got a computer game with audio only (as it's been designed for the blind to play), do you consider that a sub-category of videogames or a category of its own - audio games? What about hybrid games that can be played by a blind person but also have graphics?

    For another crack at Juul, if you look at his dictionary of terms, he uses the term "gameplay" instead of "game play" (though gameplay seems to be the de facto standard for review sites).

    "Until next time..."
    Captain Commando
    [ Reply to This ]
    Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap
    Authored by: AngerFork on Friday, December 23 2005 @ 07:08 PM UTC
    I gotta agree with you on this one. Videogames are most definitely different from such things as board games or card games. I think a lot of it comes from the term "videogame," which is definitely just "video+game" termwise. In fact, I feel we almost need a new term entirely for them.

    Allow me to clarify using some of the two-word examples you used earlier. There are "motion pictures" still being created today, but we do not refer to them as "motion pictures"...we call them movies. Somewhere along the line, we realized that movies really were scarcely related to pictures at all and renamed them accordingly. By that same token, Graphic Novels are often referred to as comics and/or manga depending on the type.

    Any suggestions?
    [ Reply to This ]
  • Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap - Authored by: CapCom on Tuesday, December 27 2005 @ 08:40 PM UTC
  • Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap
    Authored by: ibogost on Friday, December 30 2005 @ 03:39 AM UTC
    I'm with you on "videogames." You'll be happy to know that my forthcoming book, Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, out this winter/spring and also from MIT Press, uses "videogame" throughout, including in the subtitle. Huzzah.
    [ Reply to This ]
  • Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap - Authored by: David on Friday, December 30 2005 @ 07:20 PM UTC
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