Well, sort of. I really mean “systemic game” and I am really talking only about game systems here.
So let me preface this by saying that this article’s title is hyperbolic exaggeration. It uses the term “game” in my annoyingly formal, reductionist way. But I want to say it anyway, for the sake of the provocation; framing it this way jars some preconceived notions about terms out of my head. (At some point, I’ll do a post here about finding alternate, less loaded terms. But for now, since I want to get this out, I’m running with it.)
If you take as given that a game can be analyzed in terms of its grammatical structure — the verbs, nouns, adjectives that make it up – then it leads to the natural thought that you might get the same structure with minor variations.
- This is a rose.
- This is a blue rose.
- This is a red rose with whitish leaves.
- This is a thorny rose with a strong aroma.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet; a rose is a rose is a rose.
And an FPS is an FPS is an FPS.
(Is this reductionist? Absolutely. It discounts all the things that sit on top of the same skeleton and make them radically different player experiences. But bear with me a moment).