I believe that both the type of game and who you play it with makes a game ‘social’. Of course, a game which is played alone could never be called social (the card game Solitaire for example). I would say that games like Blind man’s buff are social games but in this technological era, it does sound outdated.
To come back to our online world, I would call games ‘social’ when people feel like they are part of a community; interacting with other gamers, helping each other, or even ‘fighting’ with each other. For instance, I used to play 8 Ball Pool on Facebook and it was nice to see that sometimes, when I missed a shot, my opponent would encourage me.
Playing and being social are not always equivalent. But with the World Wide Web, they have become part of the same kind of experience as people are creating communities based on their common interests and sometimes developing friendship, while playing.
2. Are videogames the first indigenous form of digital media? Are videogames fundamentally different from past games and types of play?
I don't think it can be said that video games are the first indigenous form of digital media. Video games are different from past games in terms of the interaction with other players. Long ago, people had to be in the same place to play together but now a large group of people, coming from different parts of the world, can play together in a synchronous manner. Moreover, the essence of the games itself has changed in many instances. Games such as Minecraft offer innumerable possibilities to gamers who can now ‘come together’ to create a whole new world.
3. Can, as Jane McGonigal suggests, videogames and game players change the (real) world? Click here to know her views.
I think that Jane McGonigal’s argument is very interesting, for example when she mentions that if individuals fail to complete the level in a game, they will try again and again, until they succeed. Truly, just like in games, there are obstacles in real life too. If people tackle these issues with the same determination that they show when playing, instead of easily giving up like it is often the case in the real world, then it might produce positive results and in this line, gamers may change the world. However, I would tend to say that it is more of a really optimistic interpretation than a realistic one. Gamers generally play as a way to escape the real world and indulge into a fantasy world where they can have fun. It can be argued to what extent gamers would feel committed in actually changing the world for the better when they have other alternatives in the virtual world, which cannot be reproduced in real life, such as experiences with magical creatures.