This paper highlights and discusses the function of several tropes and artefacts found within contemporary videogames. These tropes are analysed in their capacities to simultaneously distance the videogame from reality, but to make possible the playing of the game. This play is as opposed to the unmitigated experience of real life, as directed by an auteur of some sort. Two axes of measurement will be suggested which can be used to place various videogame titles in relation to one another. The first is the ‘thickness of metaphor’ utilized by a game. This axis describes how far from pure code or mathematics the videogame’s aesthetic exterior is. Of course all games are rooted in their code, but very few do not attempt to cloak this system in some kind of metaphor, from invading aliens to guitar notation. The second axis describes the game’s structure, from strict level-based situations to sprawling open-world scenarios. The word level has been chosen here as it most readily applies to videogames, but is also related to the discreet, iterative puzzles in crosswords or soduku games. These axes help to describe the balance of a videogame’s ‘gameness’ with its ‘metaphor’, premise or to borrow Juul’s term, fiction. It is hoped that by developing such vocabulary and measurements, many games, past, contemporary and future may be usefully analysed in relatively stable terms.