The authors explore how framing theory and the method of frame-reflective discourse analysis provide foundations for the emerging discipline of serious games (SGs) research. Starting with Wittgenstein's language game and Berger and Luckmann's social constructivist view on science, the authors demonstrate why a definitional or taxonomic approach to SGs is problematic and unfruitful. Using Goffman's frame analysis as an alternative, they construct four frames, with sample illustrations, demonstrating the different ways in which the utility of games for society, business and politics is considered. These are SGs as: (1) tool (therapy, drug), (2) innovation (economic utility), (3) persuasion (idea, belief) and (4) self-organization (complexity). The frames are based upon different values and perceive different impacts of games in society, business and politics. The authors discuss the implications of their approach.