Defa­mil­iari­sa­tion isn’t the same thing as obtuse­ness or cryp­tic designs etc. Rather, it’s about work­ing against expec­ta­tion, and this can be done in all kinds of entire­ly acces­si­ble ways.
When you get togeth­er to play games with friends, the space you’re in becomes a rit­u­al space, like the stage at a con­cert or the altar at a wed­ding. It’s a space where you can trash-talk your friends or howl in defeat, where you can trick peo­ple, where you can laugh at their expense and dance on their grave. It’s a space where you have per­mis­sion to look fool­ish in front of your fam­i­ly mem­bers. Impor­tant­ly, it’s a space where you can look up at your opponent’s face, lock eyes and dare them to make the first move before your split-sec­ond counter-attack. The best local games aren’t just offline ver­sions of online games — they are designed to inten­si­fy these social dimen­sions of gameplay.

Why you don’t want an online mode in Tow­er­Fall | Polygon

Clear and detailed argu­ment by Fod­dy on the virtues of local mul­ti­play­er. I love these kinds of games. And I appre­ci­ate design­ing for local mul­ti­play­er is a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent thing from net­worked play.

Play­ing Hohokum and watch­ing oth­ers play real­ly helps you under­stand his point about play being more impor­tant than the game itself. The game itself is not a mag­i­cal, fun gen­er­a­tor; instead it’s a tool and a toy that, like Kata­mari Dama­cy, encour­ages the play­ers to sim­ply try things, to experiment.

Kata­mari Dama­cy and the return of “play” in videogames — Kill Screen

It’s not the clear­est of arti­cles, but some­where in there are some good points on play being expres­sive, not consumptive.

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone — Readmill

Impro: Impro­vi­sa­tion and the The­atre by Kei­th John­stone — Readmill

  1. Sta­tus play. This was an eye-open­er to me, that in all human inter­ac­tions one can observe sta­tus sig­nals. John­stone goes on to sug­gest you can play with sta­tus sig­nals in all man­ner of sit­u­a­tions. I’ve start­ed doing just that and it can be quite liberating.

  2. Mask work. Read­ing this sec­tion I was most­ly just super eager to try mask work myself. John­stone talks about masks hav­ing an inher­ent per­son­al­i­ty that is chan­neled through the actor, sim­i­lar to being pos­sessed by a spir­it… I’m won­der­ing if a larp based on the ideas about masks pre­sent­ed here would work. It’d be inter­est­ing to try out.

An Occult History of the Television Set

An Occult His­to­ry of the Tele­vi­sion Set

It’s a good reminder of how ratio­nal­i­ty will only get you so far when invent­ing new things.

Videogames and the Spir­it of Cap­i­tal­ism (by pao­lo ped­erci­ni)

Pao­lo Ped­erci­ni on videogames and cap­i­tal­ism is rather good and thought-pro­vok­ing. I am grate­ful he’s will­ing to dis­cuss gam­i­fi­ca­tion (most “seri­ous” thinkers in games have start­ed to ignore it, but that doesn’t mean it has gone away). His sug­ges­tions for steer­ing com­put­er-assist­ed gam­ing and play­ing away from a super-ratio­nal and util­i­tar­i­an mode remind­ed me of soft gam­i­fi­ca­tion and are worth explor­ing further.

I am firm­ly in the present,” she said as she head­ed toward the exit. “But, some­times, I want to drag the future here and see if we want it.

Intel’s Sharp-Eyed Social Sci­en­tist —

I saw Genevieve Bell speak once at Inter­ac­tion and real­ly enjoyed her sharp eye for how humans relate to tech­nol­o­gy. I don’t think this reporter suc­ceeds in bring­ing those obser­va­tions across but it’s a nice por­trait of one of the most inspir­ing peo­ple work­ing in tech­nol­o­gy today.

Games are pow­er­ful and impor­tant part­ly because they help us test out the lim­its of ordi­nary life. That’s why we play. And these free-to-play games allow us to feel the edges of the unholy real­i­ty of our cur­rent win­ner-take-all neo-Gild­ed Age.

Rage Against the Machines | Ian Bogost | The Baffler

Bogost on free-to-play games, argu­ing they are the lat­est incar­na­tion of a long line if swin­dles. Hard­ly a nov­el insight, but well-argued as usual.