Authored by: Olli Sotamaa

The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533324
eBook ISBN: 9780203114261
Adobe ISBN: 9781136290510


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The term “artifact” can refer to many different things. Common definitions describe an artifact as “something created by humans usually for a practical purpose; especially: an object remaining from a particular period” and “something characteristic of or resulting from a particular human institution, period, trend, or individual” (Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, 2012). The word itself was coined in the early nineteenthth century and it comes from two Latin words: arte (from ars) that means “by skill” and factum that is the past participle of facere, to do or to make. All artifacts are characterized by this twin relationship between doing and making that is found in facere. Accordingly, “an artifact is anything that we can design in the very large sense of the word” (Friedman, 2007, p. 7), including both the artifacts of doing and the artifacts of making.

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