Games About Shows About Games

A popular web series called The Guild just started its 6th season. The show follows a group of people who are addicted to a massive multiplayer online role-playing game. Rather than discussing the game itself, the show devotes most of its attention to how these people navigate the real world, and how consequences of their in-game actions can cross back and forth between the digital and the physical realms.

This TV show is one level of abstraction above the game, but is it possible to imagine a game about a show about the game? What sorts of mechanisms can you employ in “meta games?”


A game is about manipulating variables to achieve a goal. In a game about a show about a game, you could influence a show character’s virtual character through the success of the show character: if the show character gets a new job, they will have less time to play the game and the game character’s progress will suffer.

I looked for similar meta games, but I wasn’t able to find any. Is it possible to make fun meta games? How meta can you go and still consider something a game?

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