Metagame - Wikipedia

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2024-03-31 07:30:03

A metagame is a game about a game, or an approach to playing a game. A metagame can serve a broad range of purposes, tied to the way a game relates to various aspects of life.[1]: 2,14  [2]

In competitive games, the metagame can refer to the most popular strategy, often called a game's meta, or preparation for a match in general.[3]

In tabletop role-playing game, metagaming has been used to describe players discussing the game, sometimes simply rules discussions and other times causing the characters they control to act in ways they normally would not within the story.[4]

The word metagame is composed of the Greek-derived prefix meta– (from μετά, meta, meaning "beyond") and the noun game.[3] It was used in the context of playing zero-sum games in a publication by the Mental Health Research Institute in 1956.[5] It is alternately claimed that the first known use of the term was in Nigel Howard's book Paradoxes of Rationality: Theory of Metagames and Political Behavior published in 1971, where Howard used the term in his analysis of the Cold War political landscape using a variation of the Prisoner's Dilemma.,[1]: 10  however Howard used the term in Metagame Analysis in Political Problems published in 1966.[6] In 1967, the word appeared in a study by Russell Lincoln Ackoff[7] and in the Bulletin of the Operations Research Society of America.[8]

In casual gaming, the metagame generally refers to any meaningful interaction between players and elements not directly part of the game.[1][3] The concept gained traction in game design in a column written in 1995 by Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering, for The Duelist. In a 2000 talk at the Game Developers Conference, Garfield expanded on this, defining metagame as "how a game interfaces beyond itself", and asserted that this can include "what you bring to a game, what you take away from a game, what happens between games, [and] what happens during a game".[1]: 14  [2] Stephanie Boluk and Patrick Lemieux extend and refine Garfield's term to apply to potentially all forms of play and gaming, arguing that metagames are often more important than video games themselves.[1]: 8  They go on to describe that metagaming "results from the entanglement of philosophical concepts, the craft of game design, and the cultures of play that surrounds videogames."[1]: 21 

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