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This category contains 13 posts

What’s wrong with gamification?

Can everything be gamified? (See last week’s post Gamification 101.) It already is — especially if you believe in “man the player,” homo ludens a term popularised by Johan Huizinga. The concept of gamification refers to only a part of what being homo ludens entails. Even through the limiting lens of instrumentalized, managerialized and manipulative … Continue reading

Gamification 101

How do you turn a routine, everyday activity into something engaging, enjoyable, and even addictive? Answer: you turn it into a game. That’s called gamification. I stumbled across a site that presents the 10 best productivity apps that make use of gamification. The site shows a fitness app that runs on your smartphone. It keeps … Continue reading

Bad players

If a political party wins enough of the vote then they might just gain sufficient influence to adjust electoral boundaries and increase their chances of winning again. Gerrymandering is one example of stacking the odds in your favour. It’s a big deal in the USA at the moment (e.g. see Washington Post article). Any competitor would … Continue reading

Deviant play

I just watched a team of gamers play Fortnite Battle Royal. You don’t need to play a video game to get the gist. You can watch others play it on Youtube. Fortnite is a war game where you form teams and hide out in photo-real buildings while you shoot enemies. One of the gamers remarked … Continue reading

The magic circle

When I was a kid, the Magic Circle was well known as an association of stage magicians. Those within it knew the rules of the illusions and had to keep them secret. The other meaning of magic circle is obvious: a circle that is magic. Perhaps it’s the former that the philosopher Johan Huizinga had in mind when … Continue reading

Let’s play

If you have a weekend to spare you can while it away watching YouTube video clips accompanying gamesters as they play through, and talk through, every level of Grand Theft Auto IV or Minecraft or Tombraider III, or just about any computer game, old or new. It’s not as easy to return to a computer … Continue reading

We are all entertainers

Entertainment is everywhere, especially in Edinburgh during Festival season, when the streets are peppered with performers, handbill distributors, costumed actors scuttling from A to B, and late-running Royal Scots Dragoon guards. In an interesting essay of 2002 on entertainment and the Internet, film theorist Richard Dyer noted how entertainment was even then fusing with everyday … Continue reading

Heidegger and vertigo

Apparently Mount Everest is so busy during climbing season you have to queue to get to the top. (See Mail Online article.) Some people prefer horizontal pastimes (eg swimming), but there’s something irresistible about verticality. TV producer and scriptwriter Russell T Davies famously employed “the vertical chase” in his Dr Who episodes. Characters are pursued … Continue reading

Game noir

Limbo is a grim, award-winning video game in black, white and grey, involving a small boy’s dash through a lethal forest. At one stage the boy jumps across the corpses of similar little boys bobbing along in a river. Another game, The Path, has similar narrative connotations, described as a short horror game updating Little … Continue reading

Play anywhere

Computer games are undoubtedly big business. Currently 76% of children in Scotland (where I live) have a games console according to a recent Ofcom report, a figure that is surely on the increase. Does this trend constitute any kind of problem for health (DVT), domestic life or for society? In the early days of the … Continue reading

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