Post 1

When I signed up for this class, I was confused as to how a class could be centered around games and play. And after the first day meeting I was worried we would be mostly talking about videogaming and board games. After starting on the first article I realized that there was an entire background to the concept of ‘play’ that I had never even thought about. When hearing the word play I always think about kids on a playground playing chase or dressing up and imagining to be something they aren’t in a make believe world.It seems that my original perception of play as something that takes place just through games is changing and I am drawing new conclusions to what ‘play’ means. I have come to find that there are differnet theories as to why people play, the one that stood out to me was “abreaction” – an outlet for harmful impulses. That animals use play as an outlet to channel their violent actions and negative energy. This raises questions for me, like does this theory that man needs an outlet for violence mean that humans are inherently evil? Does popularity of violent videogames further this theory or even give it proof? Play seems to be something that needs an end, like children playing tag, but J.Huizinga also catagorizes ritual as play. Does this mean that most or even all human activities can be categorized as play as they seem to meet an end? Play seems to be more of an outlook on how to live, a mental state, rather than just an activitly. Approaching things ‘playfully’ as in a good mood and happily doing them rather than just making the motions to get through the day. Migeul Sicart explores the idea of ‘dark play’ which can be harmful and dangerous. Doesn’t this too point to a human nature that is inherently evil and needing to express violence and act in immoral ways? Though certain types of play seem to point toward human wickedness, it is not just we who play. Dogs, horses, cats and other domesticated and non-domesticated animals play through games as well. While it’s easy to say that all humans are inherintly evil, is it plausible to say that ALL beings, whether of higher intelligence or not, who play are? Play seems to be an exciting subject with lots of areas to explore, I am excited to take a further look into the subject material and draw more conclusions and ideas about what play means.

  1 comment for “Post 1

  1. Griffin H.
    Griffin H.
    22 January 2015 at 10:08 am

    I think the idea that things are inherently evil is a little bit missing the mark.

    Sicart’s view of Dark Play is more that play is a means of expression; humans who do violent things are not necessarily evil for doing them. Good people do awful things all the time, and just the same awful people do good things quite frequently.

    There has also been a considerable amount of research that indicates that there is no link between violent behavior and violent videogames. Rather, Violent individuals are just more apt to commit violence and be attracted to things that depict violence. Once again, I think it’s a misreading to consider anyone who does something violent “evil”.

    Huizinga’s view of play separates act from action (which is, admittedly, something I find frustrating about Huizinga), something that directly “protects” those who play. That is to say children that play war are not committing the atrocities of war, but rather are attempting in many ways to understand and mimic their views of what war is to them. Of course there are goals in killing the enemy or capturing a flag but these are symbols that have different meaning than the actions they mimic.

    Play is interesting as an outlet for interaction, but it’s important to view play as a lens for which interaction is justified and changed, not just as a faucet with which raw emotion pours out. Perspective changes play greatly.

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