While the criteria of a game can vary, there are several fundamental characteristics that make them enjoyable. Whether they are created by human beings or machines, games can create a world of escape from the real world. Games involve rules, components, and competition, and most games involve players playing with others. On the other hand, some games are played by a single person, such as computer games. In the latter case, the player may only take positive feelings from the game world back to their actual lives.
One characteristic that distinguishes games from other forms of entertainment is their role in culture. For instance, games of physical skill can be a cultural universal. Every society has at least one game, and those that do not have one have lost the tradition through deculturation. Ethnographers have often reported that these games were not common in some societies, but this is not necessarily the case. Further, games that involve strategy are often more common in societies with higher political integration and social stratification, particularly those where political leaders use social relations and symbols to consolidate power.
Another category of games is called tabletop. Tabletop games require a small play area and require little physical exertion. These games usually involve moving or placing game pieces around a table. Unlike many board games, tabletop games are generally free-form. However, they are still challenging, and the skills needed to win depend on the game. They can also be used as a part of entertainment for children. Regardless of their complexity, games are a great way to spend an afternoon with your kids.