Can games exist without players?


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Headline contains a question mark. No is axiomatic.


My first thought is of a game like Pyroto Mountain, which Cory’s played.

Sure, there were rules that had been programmed by Tim, but…the players WERE the game.


Yes. They are called simulations.


When can we get some proper terminology getting in here? If there’s no gameplay, then it’s not a game; a game without a player isn’t even an interactive movie. The term you’re looking for, in fact, is indeed a movie. Now if you’re talking a game that’s mainly meant to be seen as art rather than something fun or entertaining, I’m inclined to say interactive experience. Course the line can be blurred a little bit, I’d probably consider the works of Jason Rohrer to be games, although some of them like

There’s nothing wrong with a work being either of those, but it’s a bit mad to get offended when people buy something that was advertised as a game, and then complain about it because they didn’t understand your rather bizarre definition of a game.


The computer is the player.
Someone, something is the decision maker.

A game of chess with computer algorithms playing both black and white is still a game. It’s just the nature of the participants.


Progress Quest has been a game without a player for a very long time. The computer does all the playing for you to save time.


“Yes. Number of players: zero.”



Yet I still manage to suck at it.


The title is the updated version of “if a tree falls in the forest”. Makes it easier for city dwellers to understand the philosophical implications.


Can games exist without players?

  1. Well, yes. I have a game of chess stacked away in a box on the attic. There’s no players there, but it’s still a game.

  2. You mean ‘no human players’? Sure. AI’s can be players too, I’d say.

  3. Yeah, they’re called televisions. No players in your living room, just spectators.

  4. << insert whatever answer you can think of, based on your own interpretation of this ambiguous title >>


Come to think of it, I have a mod for Civilization V that auto-plays until your civilization is ready to appear on the world stage - so you don’t have to play the Americans in 4000 BC. Sadly, you don’t get to watch the autoplay. I suppose that would be cheating.


No. Those are called simulations.


Unreal tournament all bots.


What about Progress Quest?


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