What is a game? Why do we play?


A game is an activity that absorbs a man without rest. It must be voluntary – it is a necessary condition. It should teach, but may have only entertaining character. Players are guided by established rules, they play the game in a specific reality, at certain time. They do not benefit from it, apart from feeling satisfaction. It was a bit differently two thousand years ago.

The dice have been thrown

Games are known to people since antiquity. Apparently, they served not only the education and the fun, but could determinate the fate of some people or help them to survive difficult times. According to Herodotus, the ancient Greek historiographer, the Lids used the games to forget about hunger – one day they played and another looked for food. Astonishing? And that is not all. After several years, when the situation did not improve. The king of Lydia decided that half of the inhabitants must leave Lydia to find land that will be able to feed them. He divided the society into two groups. A dice game decided which group will stay and which will go in the world. In turn, the famous words “The dice have been thrown” were said by Julius Caesar after crossing the river Rubicon, what meant a civil war against Pompey. They were to mean the irreversible consequences of the decision.

Interesting meanings

In Polish language there is the word “game” and the word ”fun”. The concept of the game has already been explained at the beginning of the entry. Polish language is very rich and an example of this is the world “igrać” which combines the meaning of “play” and “fun”. In English and German there is not such diversity. In English “play” have all these meanings, and “game” means a play which is an entertainment governed by established rules or a sports competition. Germans have one word “spielen”.

Voluntarily and unusually

For an entertainment, to be distinct from normal, everyday activities, certain conditions must be met. The most important are voluntariness and uniqueness. An action to which we are forced is not a game because we do not feel pleasure from this activity, and in addition we perceive it as a duty, sometimes annoying one. In turn, the uniqueness is based on the entry in the created world, which strongly differs from reality. In the world of games anything is possible.