Game Design, Ur-Texts I

Play is disinterested: Not being “ordinary” life it stands outside the immediate satisfaction of wants and appetites, indeed it interrupts the appetitive process.  It interprets itself as a temporary activity satisfying tin itself and ending there.  The purposes it serves are external to immediate material interests or the individual satisfaction of biological needs.

Quick post while waiting for QGIS to reinstall. There is so much that could be said about Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens. I was first interested in this study of play in the context of why and how to write. It is Nelson Goodman- or even William Empson-level useful.

The book has also guided my teaching, especially when teaching with games. As a phenomenological description of what goes on in open-ended, adversarial situations, I can’t think of a better text. Every game designer should know this book.

It is heavy-ish sledding but is wonderfully concise. You could read the whole text. Or you could take in the outline I wrote way back sometime in the mid 1990s.

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