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This tag is associated with 10 posts

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 Johanne Huizinga had in mind when … Continue reading

Nature as the site of hermeneutical play

Metaphors can be playful, and observers of nature commonly refer to metaphors of play: “we find talk of the play of light, the play of the waves,” and “the play of gnats” (104). This is a passing reference to play in nature by the hermeneutical philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer as he affirmed the importance and ubiquity of play. … Continue reading

Video game semiotics

Many video games require the player to investigate and solve mysteries, to read the signs, gather evidence and follow leads. I think this is the area in which semiotics can be applied most usefully to computer gaming and game design. Semiotics is the study of communication from the point of view of signs and symbols, and how … Continue reading

Pokémon Go versus Ingress

Everyone is talking about Pokemon Go. So I may as well join in. While on holiday last week in the town of Menton in the south of France I aimed my mobile phone camera at a cat in a laneway. Two young men glanced in my direction as they walked by, and I distinctly heard one of … Continue reading

Nature games

Can you learn about nature from computer games? According to one commentator, video games “remind us of how we create, and have always created, ‘nature.’ They signpost the virtuality of the real. They show our seemingly endemic proclivities to make over the natural” (411). That’s from cultural theorist John Wills writing about video gaming in 2002: … Continue reading

Interactive architecture

How interactive is architecture? These days, networked computer systems, tablets and smartphones seem to exemplify interactivity amongst people, and between human beings and objects. Perhaps architecture participates in this interactive milieu in so far as it embraces concepts such as “virtual reality (VR) and 3D worlds, game design (including 3D games, platform games, and arcade games), mobile computing, … Continue reading

Nature-deficiency disorder

As a child I spent time in the apple tree in our backyard. The branches on the side closest to the house formed a level seat eventually worn smooth by repeated clambering, fidgeting and presumably sitting. I’m not sure what I did there, but the tree also served in target practice as I’d aim at or over … Continue reading

Go outside and play

Children are told to “go outside and play.” That’s so they don’t strangle the cat, smear chocolate on the linoleum, and adults don’t fall over them. It’s also to get them away from the lure of television and game consoles, which were invented to hypnotise children. But “go outside and play” trips off the tongue more readily than “come inside and play,” … Continue reading

The cult of the book

What’s the use of books, … or libraries, in the information age? Libraries now offer themselves as tributes to the book, entertaining the fantasy speculation of librarian and novelist Jorge Luis Borges: “I know of districts in which the young men prostrate themselves before books and kiss their pages in a barbarous manner, but they do not … 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

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