Is Reddit a game?

reddit-combo-1920This question was raised in class, and immediately followed by a discussion about the terms of interactivity for a game. They were defined as

  1. Making narrative choices (changes game)
  2. Engaging gameplay challenges (changes you)
  3. Experiencing world (movement through game)

If we apply those standards for interaction to Reddit, it should pass–users contribute content that changes what is on the site, the site presents users with stimulating information that may teach them something, and the users navigate from subreddit to subreddit in order to explore the site as a whole. So, one interacts with Reddit fairly similarly to how they would interact with a videogame. Is this enough to categorize the site as a game? This becomes dependent on what other characteristics one uses to define a game. Prior to this course, I would have included “the character/player has a goal” in a list of criteria for a game, which could disqualify Reddit, but we have seen examples of games in the past couple months, such as Queers In Love At The End of The World where the goal is unclear or nonexistant as you play. For this reason, I don’t think I can definitively say Reddit is not a game,  and many social media platforms function similarly enough that I would say they might be games too. The common theme throughout  this course for me has been that definitions for terms (like game, play, fun) grow increasingly broader and more inclusive as we explore more material.

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5 thoughts on “Is Reddit a game?

  1. If those are the “criteria” for interactivity in a game, then I can see that Reddit could be in some form a sort of game. Through this class, I think I’ve come to accept for myself that the term “game” can be very broad and vague, as so many things, even life, have been labeled as such.

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  2. I definitely agree that one of the biggest themes in this course has been the expansion of terms related to games. In regard to this question, I feel compelled to say that Reddit is indeed a game. That so many more things than we’d like to acknowledge can be considered games, if we just thought about it.

    I mean, there’s the platform itself– the actual website of Reddit. There’s an interface– computers, phones, etc. Players learn the world of Reddit as they navigate the website and learn how it works. They make choices that change their score– karma. I suppose Reddit is more of a game for some people, those for whom getting the maximum amount of karma is the goal.

    But then isn’t life a game? The platform is Earth, our physical reality. Interface, our bodies and minds. We begin to learn the rules of the physical world and our societies as soon as we enter life. The goal? Whatever you want it to be, but for many people just to stay alive, or to be happy, or to go to Heaven, or achieve Nirvana, or to acquire wealth/status. The ultimate sandbox game.

    So, I don’t really know. But I have a sneaky feeling that everything is a game.

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  3. This leaves me with the thought of not what is a game, but what is NOT a game, or even if that question is the important question, but rather what platforms do we engage with for the “fun” of it.

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  4. It’s crazy to think about because technically, anything can become a video game if we make it so. In terms of Reddit, what if we establish walls. What if Reddit is a gaming app with its own title screen. Once you login, you are sent to the same Reddit interface and displays. This is a more sandbox-ish game where you create your own content and can view other people’s content. If you derive satisfaction and entertainment from this, then Reddit is technically a game just like how you can create your own worlds in Minecraft and view others. (Yeah, I know that Minecraft is old news)

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  5. Our definition of ‘game’ is often very limiting, and upon further examination makes us realize that the word is simply not adequate to describe the ways in which we interact with the world and the objects in it. Is Reddit a game? If you think it is, if you treat it like one. It certainly has gamelike elements, and it also certainly has non-game-like elements. Which ones are more impactful? That’s ultimately up to the consumer to decide, and therefore the distinction is entirely subjective.

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