The Ambiguity of Games: Histories and Discourses of a Gameful World
Forthcoming in Walz, Steffen P. & Sebastian Deterding (eds.): The Gameful World. Approaches, Issues, Applications. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
42 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2020
Date Written: July 9, 2014
This chapter analyses the current discourses surrounding gamification and the ludification of culture as rhetorics in Kenneth Burke’s (1950) sense: different worldviews and moral politics, manifest in different languages. It uses Victor Turner's distinction of liminal and liminoid to articulate how current views of the gameful world are steeped in specific, modernist conceptions of games and play. It foregrounds the contingency of the gameful world by delineating its historical precursors and enablers. Third, the chapter compares and contrasts the various contemporary rhetorics of the gameful world. In closing, it asks what those rhetorics tell us about our contemporary life, and what they elide, and how the rise of the gameful world may change play and games themselves.
Keywords: gamification, gameful world, playful design, gameful design, ludification of culture, cultivation of ludus, rhetorics of play, rhetorics, liminal, liminoid, paidia, ludus
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