Games are not one thing

Games are not one thing – they are many things. Games are not interactive stories; they are not formal systems of rules; they are not the personal expression of the designer – they are all of these things simultaneously and many more. A challenge for game designers is to appreciate that games are math, psychology, culture, aesthetics, narrative, politics, and any number of other things – all at the same time. Every frame we might put around games is useful at some moment in the design process. Designers need to learn when a particular frame of understanding can help them solve a problem and when it can be a problem.
— Eric Zimmerman