The Aesthetic of Play

The Aesthetic of Play

Paperback (29 Mar 2021)

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A game designer considers the experience of play, why games have rules, and the relationship of play and narrative.

The impulse toward play is very ancient, not only pre-cultural but pre-human; zoologists have identified play behaviors in turtles and in chimpanzees. Games have existed since antiquity; 5,000-year-old board games have been recovered from Egyptian tombs. And yet we still lack a critical language for thinking about play. Game designers are better at answering small questions ("Why is this battle boring?") than big ones ("What does this game mean?"). In this book, the game designer Brian Upton analyzes the experience of play--how playful activities unfold from moment to moment and how the rules we adopt constrain that unfolding. Drawing on games that range from Monopoly to Dungeons & Dragons to Guitar Hero, Upton develops a framework for understanding play, introducing a set of critical tools that can help us analyze games and game designs and identify ways in which they succeed or fail.

Book information

ISBN: 9780262542630
Publisher: MIT Press
Imprint: The MIT Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 793.01
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 434g
Height: 153mm
Width: 230mm
Spine width: 33mm