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Here’s My Game, It’s Yours

Part 2 Dissertation 2014
Kate Lynham
University of Greenwich | UK
At the centre of all games are fictional worlds. In the simplest of games, this manifests itself in the instructions and rulebooks that control the play, and in the most complex the world is woven together from complex narratives, character development and alternate realities. The ‘player’ steps into this world as a participant in the game, and in order to take part they must accept this new reality for however long that the game is determined to last.

Historical definitions of games and play draw from either of two seminal pieces of research, Roger Caillois’ ‘Man, Play & Games’ and cultural historian John Huizinga’s ‘Home Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture’. Along with entertainment theorist Brian Seth Hurst, Caillois and Huizinga argue that games need a ‘well-defined world in which the story takes place’ – the creation of a ‘world’ goes beyond the basic idea of simply a pitch, board or arena. This implies a more complex game (and game space), fabricated from multiple facets of society, culture, players and most importantly for this thesis; architecture and environments. It is with the creation of this world that this thesis takes its point of departure.

In 2013 game designer, Eric Zimmerman wrote ‘A Short Manifesto for a Ludic Century’. He proposed that whilst the 20th Century had been an information age dominated by the moving image, the 21st Century will be a ludic one, dominated by games. This thesis proposes that ‘the player’ will move beyond a traditional role, and that gamin will no longer simply operate as an interlude to the everyday. This thesis posits that games and gaming will secrete outside of the console, computer or board game box and weave themselves into culture, economics and architecture.

The ‘magic circle’ of gaming, the membrane between what is within a game and what is not, is becoming less and less defined. It is no longer a distinct line in the sand. The ‘magic circle’ has transformed into an indistinct cloud that players can wander freely within, deciding how deep to venture. The future of game space looks promising.

Kate Lynham

Mike Aling
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