The Significance of Jeep Tag: On Player-Imposed Rules in Video Games

Felan Parker


Video games, unlike traditional, non-digital games, are based on a combination of fixed rules which cannot be broken from the player position, and implied rules which are not enforced by the computer program. It is relatively common, however, for players to impose additional or alternative rules on video games, in order to refine or expand gameplay and to create new gaming experiences. This paper considers the implications of this phenomenon, dubbed "expansive gameplay," in context of video game studies and design. How does the existence of expansive gameplay help us to situate video games in relation to traditional games? To what extent is this phenomenon indicative of the ways in which players engage with video games? By theorizing expansive gameplay as a demonstrative example of the active, experimental and exploratory nature of gameplay more generally, this paper endeavours to open further discussion about the relationships between players and the rule-based systems which constitute video games.