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The Name of the “Game”

It’s a question at the beating heart of linguistic debate – just where does the word “game” come from? Even the experts can’t agree (though all accept that it’s a Germanic/Slavic word), and offer two theories:

– The word “game” comes from the words GE + MAN (husband/man).

– The word “game” comes from the words GE + MEN (mind).

In both cases, “GE” is Germanic, and it carries the meaning of doing something together. With this in mind, the second theory seems to edge the debate. But whatever the true etymology, we do know that it has mutated over time until it arrived in its present-day form of “game”.

Types of Game

A game is a pastime in which one or more people may participate, and which is governed by an agreed set of rules. There are, of course, solitaire games such as patience, but most agree that it’s more fun playing with others than alone. There are lots of different types of game too – some relying on mental prowess (such as chess), some on physical skills (cricket and football), and some on chance (roulette and poker). Many games, though, combine different elements of each discipline. Further types of game include:

  • Logic games – draughts, go, and noughts and crosses.
  • Games of chance – roulette, war, lotto and bingo.
  • Strategy games – “Age of Empires”.
  • Computer games – “World of Warcraft”, “Starcraft”.
  • Role-playing games, known as RPGs; board or computer games, in which the background is often set in fantasy realms – for example Poland’s “The Witcher”.
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