The pervasiveness of games—in cultures ancient and new, among people of all ages—suggests they are of more than casual importance. On a social level, games are often associated with ritual occasions, just as today’s sporting events often occur on key religious and national holidays. On an individual level, there are games for almost every stage of life, from childhood to old age.
For the purposes of this chapter, a game is an interactive computer activity produced for a personal computer or an arcade console. A game may be distributed by a ROM cartridge, CD-ROM, DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray Disc, or the Internet, for one or more simultaneous players.
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