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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

Recent Topics paging, uploading images and preview bugs require a patch which has not yet been released.

A Seat at the Table: Playtime

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20 Feb 2019 00:00 #292708 by JonathanVolk
Part 1: What Is Play?
Growing up, my mother...

Jonathan Volk returns to try and figure out what play is (and why some of the most playful people we know might opt out of playing games). This is Part 1 of a longer series called A Seat at the Table, which examines the ways we construct and close off our game tables.

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20 Feb 2019 09:22 #292709 by ubarose
Wonderful.

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20 Feb 2019 11:23 - 20 Feb 2019 11:24 #292729 by GorillaGrody
Oh, very crunchy. This is great, and gives us categories we need before talking about whether or not games and traditional aesthetics match.

However, the categories Salen/Zimmerman proposes seem a little soft.(But useful)! What is the nature of their book, Jonathan--is it written for game designers, or is it more of a sociological study?

Have you read (or have I made you read, can't remember) Galloway's Gaming:Essays on Algorithmic Culture? It stretches the idea of cinematic diagesis (what happens within the logic of the narrative space) vs. non-diagetic space (what happens to the observer/player, a category ripe for exploration in a discussion of games, largely ignored or made ideological in other critical forms) in a way that seems, I don't know, a little wonky but sort of interesting.

Also, Jacques Tati (come at me bro) is overrated. Whenever I see him do his little "I don't know how to work a switch do it for me" routine, I think of a French person trying to eat a hamburger and crinkling up their nose. His whole thing is just very, very conservative, to my mind.
Last edit: 20 Feb 2019 11:24 by GorillaGrody.

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20 Feb 2019 11:26 #292730 by Michael Barnes
Wait...why is this article not telling me which game to buy?
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20 Feb 2019 11:38 #292733 by JonathanVolk

Have you read (or have I made you read, can't remember) Galloway's Gaming:Essays on Algorithmic Culture?


Not sure you've recommended this? Now you have me curious.

The Salen/Zimmerman book leads with this:

This, then, is what is at stake: a vast discrepancy between the radical possibilities contained in the medium and the conservative reality of mainstream game development. And this is the way in which Rules of Play is more than a conceptual analysis of what games do; it is also an examination of what they can do, and by extension what they should do. [...] Rules of Play is perhaps the first serious attempt to lay out an aesthetic approach to the design of interactive systems. [...]One person's harmless waste of time might be another's bid for tran-scendence-and games are certainly one of the best examples of how entertainment can be far from simple. In any event, the argument itself molds the subject of this debate. If enough people believe that games are meant to be mindless fun, then this is what they will become. If enough people believe that games are capable of greater things, then they will inevitably evolve and advance


But I want to know more about Tati's conservatism:

Whenever I see him do his little "I don't know how to work a switch do it for me" routine, I think of a French person trying to eat a hamburger and crinkling up their nose. His whole thing is just very, very conservative, to my mind.


Tati's playfulness and humor are so gentle--is "gentle" a synonym for conservatism in the realm of comedy? Mr. Bean is representative of how the bumbling Tati figure evolves, absent a guiding aesthetic intelligence. Tati's movies are gorgeous and they make me grin; they take seriously the bones of cinema (editing and cinematography) as they shuffle through life with, well, no bones to pick.

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20 Feb 2019 12:19 - 20 Feb 2019 12:56 #292737 by GorillaGrody

JonathanVolk wrote:
Tati's playfulness and humor are so gentle--is "gentle" a synonym for conservatism in the realm of comedy? Mr. Bean is representative of how the bumbling Tati figure evolves, absent a guiding aesthetic intelligence. Tati's movies are gorgeous and they make me grin; they take seriously the bones of cinema (editing and cinematography) as they shuffle through life with, well, no bones to pick.


One person's gentle is another person's passive aggressive, I suppose. In the sense that I mean it, I think of conservatism in the anti-Modernist sense, and not in the post-modern and fully wacko "build-a-wall" sense. Like, in Mr. Hulot's Holiday, there are all these ridiculous, malfunctioning automated domestic processes going off and making Hulot's life difficult. But the hidden assumption is that someone should be performing those processes (likely women, or low-paid workers). Then, so says Tati, life would be Gallic and humane once again, like in Hulot's day. There is a conservatism at the heart of 1960's hippiedom which on one hand gave us kill-the-poor libertarianism, and which on the other hand gave us the environmental movement. So it's a mixed bag, like Tati's movies. I find Tati's movies beautiful, too. It's been a while since I revisited them, and this is encouraging me to see them again.
Last edit: 20 Feb 2019 12:56 by GorillaGrody.

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20 Feb 2019 13:08 - 20 Feb 2019 13:08 #292743 by GorillaGrody
(Also, I feel decidedly as if I were yucking your yum, which is not my intention. I think talking about ludic and play space is the important part of this discussion, and I wouldn’t want to sidetrack it. This is a great article, Jonathan!)
Last edit: 20 Feb 2019 13:08 by GorillaGrody.

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20 Feb 2019 13:38 #292748 by GorillaGrody

JonathanVolk wrote:
The Salen/Zimmerman book leads with this:

This, then, is what is at stake: a vast discrepancy between the radical possibilities contained in the medium and the conservative reality of mainstream game development. And this is the way in which Rules of Play is more than a conceptual analysis of what games do; it is also an examination of what they can do, and by extension what they should do. [...] Rules of Play is perhaps the first serious attempt to lay out an aesthetic approach to the design of interactive systems. [...]One person's harmless waste of time might be another's bid for tran-scendence-and games are certainly one of the best examples of how entertainment can be far from simple. In any event, the argument itself molds the subject of this debate. If enough people believe that games are meant to be mindless fun, then this is what they will become. If enough people believe that games are capable of greater things, then they will inevitably evolve and advance


Back on topic: I'm ordering this immediately. I feel like there isn't enough serious writing about this massive part of the culture that isn't also niche-level academic.

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22 Feb 2019 08:43 #292899 by Shellhead
Interesting topic with great potential for discussion. I wonder if your mother might have enjoyed trying an rpg? Not a crunchy, mathy game like GURPS or D&D 3.5, but something more open and story-oriented.
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22 Feb 2019 09:15 #292903 by JonathanVolk
Good suggestion, though I've found that RPGs with "improv"-like mechanics induce a lot of anxiety in folks (especially if they haven't done improv or stage work). It's tricky!
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