The Best Sentence of the Day

This blog is a cut-up of a dissertation in progress. Each day, I will post my favorite sentence that I have newly scribed. Everything out of context, but suggestive. I hope.

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I'm a game designer, a games researcher, and a future forecaster. I make games that give a damn. I study how games change lives. I spend a lot of my time figuring out how the games we play today shape our real-world future. And so I'm trying to make sure that a game developer wins a Nobel Prize by the year 2032. Learn more here in my bio or get my contact information on my contact page.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Best Sentence #81

Okay, folks. A big bonus up to anyone who can guess who the "his" in the best sentence of today refers to.

Hint: It ain't Caillois, whose taxonomy by the way is a reactionary nightmare. Unless you enjoy super-sneaky controlling ideology masked as anthropological research, you know might want to think twice about uncritically adopting his terms paidia, ludus, ilinx, mimicry, agon, and alea.

His is the first game taxonomy designed as a practical and immediate intervention into the world of play.


Blogger Jane said...

Okay, I'll give you another hint. I've removed the theorist's name, but here's some more information. This is all from Chapter 8 of my dissertation, by the way. The chapter is titled "Specifying Play: Classification and Taxonomy in Historical Game Studies."

In suggesting that one or more elements of a game’s design can significantly, directly, and predictably impact the qualities of the play that arise, *** makes a radical break from the ways in which play has been conceived in previous research. He takes a structural approach to game analysis, thereby aruging that the fuzzy magic of play is actually susceptible to a practical logic. Games may be chosen, or even designed from scratch, to achieve specific kinds of impact. This is a dramatic departure from the understanding of games and play that Huizinga and Caillois have presented. Both earlier writers theorize games as a kind of bottom-up phenomenon, in which traditions and play practices emerge over time from the general population, or are passed down through time and across cultures relatively unchanged. ***, on the other hand, posits the opportunity for top-down creation of play, active design toward specific ends. The underlying point of ***’s taxonomy of game structure, then, is that game design matters. The construction of a game can be intentionally persuasive, strategically motivational of particular behaviors. His is the first game taxonomy designed as a practical and immediate intervention into the world of play.

3:43 PM  
Blogger tambura said...

Chris Crawford ???

3:31 AM  
Blogger georgeborrow said...


8:49 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

Oh, good guesses both! but this writer precedes Crawford and was a contemporary of Bateson. The taxonomy I'm citing was published... let's see... I believe one year before Steps to and Ecology of Mind.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Lady Boulder said...

hey i tink i posted on ur other Blog as well lol, ur becoming Famous!

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gonzalo Frasca

12:43 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Oooh. I like Gonzalo, but he's definitely much too recent a writer for this particular passage. Think ~historical~ game studies... perhaps even pre-digital game studies...

12:46 PM  

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