Jesper Jull, in his book Half-Real (2005, p.36), contextualizes a game as the union of six elements: fixed rules, variable outcome, valorization of outcome, player effort, player attachment to the outcome, and negotiable consequences.
On the other hand, Juul understands that in the opposite side of games we can find the “not games”: the movies, books, children playing, and other activities that does not meet the previously mentioned gaming features. However, between the non-games and games we can see a gray area made up of elements that bring together some gaming features; Juul calls this area as borderline cases.
Source: Source: Juul, 2005, p.44.
But the question here is: is it possible for a content to transit through these three areas? The answer is yes. Let’s take as an example the work of Howard Philips Lovecraft, the author behind the Cthulhu mythos. Lovecraft’s original content are horror books full of cosmic demi-gods and abyssal creatures (non-games); but the books’ narratives were transformed in paper and pen role playing games (a borderline case that reunites some elements from games); finally it’s possible to play the computer game Dark Corners of The Earth, one product that unites all the characteristics of a game, as Juul says. Check the gameplay:
It’s important to understand the contemporary scenario of communication and consumption as a rich field to explore these kinds of transmediatic developments. Entertainment is a powerful currency to investigate new possibilities of business models.
JUUL, Jesper. Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. USA: MIT Press, 2005.