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Play

This category contains 11 posts

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

The secret life of games

Broadcast media have latched onto the public desire to get behind the scenery and see what goes on in private. Most of us have an appetite for knowing how things work, or at least seeing the preparations for the big event, how the frocks got onto the catwalk, the coach psyched the team, the camera … Continue reading

Otaku architecture

Otaku is a Japanese word for a category of individual, typically a youth, who is obsessed with anime (Japanese animations), manga (comics), and other pop culture forms. He or she prefers to be alone, may be lonely, lacks social skills and stays at home. The otaku keeps unsociable hours: staying up for 40 hours then … Continue reading

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