Playfulness in Games and Experimental Game Play

What am i going to say in this dissertation:

In this dissertation i am going to define what is a game, what is play and the definition of toys. These three definitions are key to understanding and progressing in this dissertation. As they need to by stated so we can have a complete understanding of there are as these three definitions walk hand in hand as one can’t be fully explained with the others.

Chapter 1: In the first chapter a will expanded on these definitions with views from D,Parlett, C.C.Abt and Bernard Suits , as they de pick what is the essence of game.

In chapter 2 i will approach the subject of teh Novel approach to games, with emphasises on indie games . I will have a look at recent games that bring the novelty factor to the industry. And how none commercials games allow for more experimentations that commercials wouldn’t risk doing.

Chapter 3 in this chapter i will look at games that have definitions of games but also can be defined as a toy, music toy or a playfully games. Games that are usually labelled as casual games, which are have not been pressured by the industry to follow the main stream trend.

Definition of Game:

The word game [game] is used for so many different activities that it is not worth insisting on any proposed definition. All in all it is a slippery lexicological customer, with many friends and relations in a wide variety of fields. David Parlett, The oxford Of History Of Board Games.

David Parlett pg 74, states that , the ability to define the slippery term “game” yet despite his assertion to the contrary, Parlett does provide a models for understanding games. Parlett goes on by distinguishing between formal and informal games. “ An informal game is merely a undirected play, or ‘playing around`, as when children or puppies play at rough and tumble. “ He contrasts this kind of activity with a formal game”:

Parlett`s distinction between formal and formal and informal games directly addresses a key challenge in arriving at a definition of “game” how to distinguish game from other forms of play.

Parleets explains what he refers to “informal game” of two puppies romping about might more simply be called play. His definition of a “formal game” has two main components:

Ends: The fact that a “ formal game” is a contest with an end point as its goal

Means: The agreed-upon rules and materials by which on wins the contest.

Both components- the idea of winning and the idea of doing so means of rules – are key ideas in defining games, and in distinguishing them from other, “less formal” kinds of play.

In Clark C.Abt he proposes the following definition of games:

Reduced to it`s formal essence, a game is an activity among two or mor independent descision-makers seeking to achive their objectives in some limiting context. A more conventional definition would say that game is a context with rules among adversaries trying to win objectives.

Abt`s definition offers and understanding of games that emphasizes teh active roles of players in a game. Below he highlighst four key terms

Activity: a games is an activity, a process , an event;

Decision-makers: games required players actively making decisions;

Objectives: As with Parletts`s definitions, games have goals;

Limited context: there are rules that limit and structure the activity of the game.

What are games? Are they things in the sense of the artefact? Are they behavioural models or simulations of social situations? Are they vestiges of ancient rituals, or magical rites? It is difficult and even curious when on tries to answer the question “What are games” since it is assumed that games are many things and at the same time specific game are different from one another – but are they? – E.M Avedon, “ The Structural Elements of Games”

Comparing Abt`s pg 74,75 definitions to Parlettt`s they have another instance where games are seen to have a goal or objective. Abt refines Parlett`s idea of rules-based means by implying that’s rules are intrinsically limiting. But perhaps the most interesting component is Abt`s acknowledgement that game are an activity in which players make decisions. War ? Elections ? Arguments ? Games do bear similarities to other forma of human conflict. Although there are some very useful concepts in Abt`s definition, we still have a long way to go in demarcating exactly what does and does not constitutes a game.

Baerbards Suits pg 76, definition of game is to play a game sis to engage in a activity directed towards bringing about a specific state of affairs, using only means permitted by rules, where the rules prohibit more efficient favour or less efficient means, and where such rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity.

Although Suit`s definitions sound abstract, he is converging familiar territories. Here are primary elements from both versions

Activity: as with Abt, Suit emphasizes the activity of playing a game;

Voluntary: games are freely entered into;

A specific state of affairs: game have a goal;

Rules: as in a the previous definitions, Suits identifies rules as a component of games;

Inefficiency: The rules games limit behaviour, making it less efficient;

Rules are accepted: playing a game means accepting the rules

As insight as this definition is, it is important to note that Suits does not ultimately offer a definition of game, but a definition of the act of playing a game.

[The video games] is the most complex toy ever built and it is vastly more responsive than any other toy ever invented. Compare it, for example, with is contemporary, the doll Chatty Catby, which has about a dozen different sentences with which to respond when you pull the string. Chatty Catby does not take into account the variety of your responses; the computer does. Chatty has a dozen responses; the computer has millions. – Brain Sutton-Smith, Toys as Culture

Why i chose to do this

I chose to define games , as the first topic , because miss use if of the word game play. These two worked have proven to be very difficult to define as it is surrounded by immures definitions, we need to understand what is “game play” means so to find that put we need to depict from the root of game play which is “game” in it`s pure essence. So going back to the basic definitions of “game” is the way to find out why game play is such an interesting and why there isn`t a predefined definition of it as these definitions varies each person.

The category of play represents many kinds of playful activities. By games being a subset of play some of these activities are games, but many of them are not. Is this sense, games contained with play, thou games being a complex phenomena and their culture are many ways to frame them and understand them. Rules, Paly and Culture are there aspects of the phenomena of games. In the sense play is contained within games.

The key elements of these definitions are the fact that a game is a system, player interact with the system, a game is an instance of conflict, the conflict is game is artificial, rules limit player behaviour and define the game and every games has a quantifiable outcome or goal. Pg83 rules of play zimmerman

Defining Play:

To define what is game play first we need to define what is play in it`s self, The psychological and anthropological studies of play have come up with various definitions of play. You have play as activities while not consciously preformed for a resulted beyond them selves or by activities that are accompanied by a state of comparative pleasures, feeling of self-initiative or power. Playing ball or teacher are play activities that stand outside of the distinctness of games, even so not all play fall into the category of games, the things we may define as games, fall and fit perfectly inside a bigger category of play activities.

So game play is a slender category of activities which we can only apply to what we have characterised as “games” So when we try to define game play we can say that game play formalized interaction that happens when a group or a single person follow set rules of a game and experience through the system of play, similarly, ludic activities are formalized, literal ways of being playful.

At first glance, this definition might seem a little spare and abstract for such a rich and complex topic such as play. But it is an extremely useful way to think about the design of play.

Where does the definition come from ? Think about the use of word “play” in the sense of the “free play” of a gear or car`s steering wheel. The “play” is the amount of movement that the steering wheel can move on its own within the system, the amount the steering wheel can turn before it begins to turn the tires of the car. The play itself exists only because of the more utilitarian structures of the driving system: the drive shafts, axles, wheels and so on. The “rules” created by these elements make the free movement of play possible. Play emerges from relationship guiding the functioning of the system, occurring in the interstitials space between and among its components. Play is an expression of the system, one that takes advantage of the space of possibilities created from the system`s structure

But we have to think also that all non-game behaviour we can think of as playing. A dog running as a freebie, kids playing in the yard and friends play catch. K.Sale, & Zimmerman, separate gampaly into 3 categories :

Gamesplay: Playing a game such as chutes and ladders occurs only when teh player set the rigid rules of teh game into motion. But the game play itself is a kind of dance that occurs somewhere between the dice, piece, board, and rules themselves, in and among the more rigid formal structures of games.

Ludic Activity: Think of a bouncing ball against a wall. This play activity has a less formal structure than a game, but teh definition of play still applies. In experiencing teh play of teh ball, teh player is playing with structures such as gravity, the material identity of teh ball, the architectural space, and his or her own physical skill in throwing and catching. To play with teh ball is to play with all of these structures, testing their limits and boundaries, finding ways of moving around and inside them.

Being Playfull: even is this board category of play the definition is irrelevant. Using playful slang, for example, is to find free movement of words and phrases within the more rigid rule structure of grammer. Being playfull while walking down the street means playing with the more rigid social, anatomical , and urban structures that determine proper walking behaviour.

Brain Sutton-Smith states in the “ the Study Of Games”, Which Sutton-smith co edited with Elliot Avedon, the authors present a definition of GamePlay:

Games are exercise of voluntary controlled system, in which there is a contest between powers, confined by rules in order to produce a disequilibria out come. (1)


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