Post Script: How Far We've Come
Happy Solstice Spake Zarathustra

Typepad Ate My Homework

Sadly, a Typepad crash took down my blog recently, and although the lost posts have been successfully restored, some comments have been lost in the shuffle. I also have no time to blog right now, as I am working flat out to win my freedom so that we can shut the office at the end of the week. I might find the time later in the week, if it all goes well.

I am somewhat freaked out to find a comment by Anne Galloway on my blog. I enjoy her Purse Lips Square Jaw research blog; I  admire anyone who recognises that it is both tougher and more rewarding to be proved wrong than to be proved right.  Having effectively invited ivory tower accademics to talk about Callois, I now have shell shock. Do I really want my tidily deranged ramblings scrutinised by those with higher standards? Would I not prefer to be the crazy madman in a cave? Also, is my games industry bias actually of any interest to people in other fields? I have no idea.

Anne - however you came to be here, thanks for dropping by, and I welcome your comments if you can find anything of interest to you. I've written on Ilinx and Alea already; comments welcome. (Those links lead to previous posts; the Ilinx post is older and rougher than more recent material). Next up to bat is either Mimicry or Paidia... We'll have to see which one erupts first. Then I just have to crystalise my thoughts on Agon and Ludus, which I've been delaying because of the number of people who equate 'agon' with 'game', or 'ludus' with 'game'.

Lastly, I missed a Winter Festival off my summary - Maidhyarya, the Zoroastrian winter solstice. However, I plan to post on Zoroastrianism sometime soon, so that should make up for it.

More as soon as time allows!

Comments

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Looking forward to the new posts. All I can say is that I'm definitely glad that we have people around ready to disagree with the ludus = game assumption. As you have previously clarified, I don't think ludus really comes anywhere near close enough to encompassing all the richness of gaming, nor does agon.

Also, I just think "ludology" and the related ludus-derived nomenclature sounds kind of silly, or at worst, sounds as if it refers to Luddites rather than ludus.

That interplay of words around "ludus" is what prompted me to the name of my blog, particularily the Luddite connection, which is interesting since games are riding off technology more and more these days, and the Luddites were decidely anti-tech.

Then again, I'm coming to think interactivity is better handled in terms of mimesis, so I might do a name change down the line.

As I understand it, ludus is opposed to paidia, where one has an explicit goal and the other doesn't.

In Caillois' model, Ludus and Paidia are opposing ends of an axis which describes the degree to which rules (Ludus) govern play. I hope to have time to write my post on Paidia later this week, if all goes well.

I admire "tidily deranged ramblings" :)

A few things come to mind reading the above comments - I hope this is not too academic...

Ludic comes from Latin ludere, to play, but the Oxford English Dictionary does not give a definitive origin for Luddite, instead suggesting it comes from Ned Lud, a participant in the destruction of machinery in the early 19th century Luddite rebellions. Ultimately this points to the lack of common origin of the two terms (plus they're pronounced differently).

The play/game distinction is interesting to me because English is relatively rare in having different words for the two. For example, the origin of game is Old English gamen, amusement, and the origin of play is Old English plega, brisk movement. (For anyone interested in mobile tech, the connection between movement and play is pretty cool.)

Brian Sutton-Smith outlines seven rhetorics of play: play as progress (eg. child development), play as fate (eg. games of chance), play as power (eg. contests), play as identity (eg. celebrations), play as the imaginary (eg. role-playing), the rhetoric of self (eg. hobbies), and play as frivolity.

The last one really fascinates me because we have a long history of claiming play as leisurely or unproductive, and recently this has been flipped. For example, high-tech business culture is especially keen on incorporating play into work. The argument is that play actually is productive, or at least creative. However, then play actually becomes work and loses some of its fun.

Thanks for the comments, Anne. I have always found the phrase 'rhetorics of play' to be terribly unwieldy, although Brian Sutton-Smiths categories do give a nice broad perspective to play which is highly desirable, in my opinion.

This focus on making work more play-like does seem to be a very recent trend. I think it's positive, but I'm still broadly on the fence. I guess it comes down to how rigidly enforced it becomes: "Casual Friday" can become a bind when it is mandatory, especially for those who obsess over what to wear.

Incidentally, one of the places I disagree with Callois is that I do not see play as a wholly unproductive activity. I think this is a view from an earlier age. There's a real transformation of our perspectives of play going on right now, and I'm watching with keen interest.

Lastly, surely it is not necessary for etymology to correspond for there to be a lexical pun? :)

PS: I fear I have made you paranoid that you portray an overly academic bias when in fact the root problem was my ignorance of sociological terminology. You are blameless in this! I have slaughtered a sacrificial coffee bean as atonement. :)

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