Book Review: Rules of Play

– game designers crete meaningful play. that’s what gets fands and gets players to keep playerin. Transformative play is a moment of transcendence. rules become supple.

do you care enough to take a risk? how to achieve transformation.

what will games become?

cultural resistence: tension between games and culture. – modifications are an outcome, alterations, juxtapositions, reinventions.

open culture: transformative cultural play – exchange between meanings and culture at large. also create new culture. players become producters in metagaming outside rules. eg open source.

social learning: society passes its values through games:

game culture: games as culture: games can create a culture outside its rules.

games reflect culture, transformative play and free play transforms culture,

Social play: 

relationships between elements and people in game are social relationships.

social play interactions via:

internally drevied from game rules

externally derived from outside magic circle “outside rules:”

play communityy can be single game, event or larger community

sutton smith – player takes on actor role, an. if motive is to capture, then actor takes

Bartle’s mode: achievers (seek to advance), explorers (value knowledge), socialisers (social interaction), killers (antisocial)

Community has either formal or informal social contract: ensruing safety, has meaning to players, unique language,

metagaming – players, bring to game, take from game, happens between game, during game other than game itself.

ideal rules and real rules: codes and conventions held by commuity.

Games as play simulation

represntation of relatity

abstract, numeric, limited systemic

case logic simulation, or generalised logic.

immersive fallacy – belief that pleasure of media experience is ability of experience to sensually transport into imaginary world.


Games as narratic play: dramatic tension, finctive world, story elemtns, tension increase, cimax, uncertainty.

game as play of meaning: magic cirlce: space where speacial meanings obtain. It is the space where the rules of the game take hold, as well as the context for the interpretation of meaning.

Games as the play of pleasure – flow – exhilatating pleasure that occurs when someon is engaged with an activility  (czikszentmihalyi)  and engaged with action, feels in controls of his her actios, not unique to games. 8 elemts:

merging action and awareness


loss of self-consciousness

transformation of time


challenging actilivyt clea goals

ckear feedback

having control in an uncertain situation

reinforcement schedules – fixed, variable, interval. variable reinforcement shapes behaviour more powerfully than fixed.

Games as play experience:

cencentration, visual scan, auditory discriminations, motor responses, perception patterns of learning.


input, output, and processing

a game designer can only indiretly design the payers expereince via rules. mechanics.

Breaking the rules;

5 types of players:

standarad – rule following

dedicated – extra zealous toward success

unsportsmanlike – violate rules

cheaters – break operational rules in order to win

spoil-sport – resue to acknowledge authority of a game in any waay.

degenerate strategy/explote-  playing the game to ensure victory. these are detrimental to game, but sometimes increase possiblities.

Conflict: systemic cooperation – fundamental discursive cooperation intrinsic to games.

conflict is intrinsic element of games. within magic circle, players struggle to achieve goals of a game. – individuals conflict or team based, coop or non-coop, direct, indirec.t


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