All Work and No Play Make the Baining the “Dullest Culture on Earth” | Psychology Today

The Baining believe, quite correctly, that play is the natural activity of children, and precisely for that reason they do what they can to discourage or prevent it. They refer to children’s play as “splashing in the mud,” an activity of pigs, not appropriate for humans. They do not allow infants to crawl and explore on their own. When one tries to do so an adult picks it up and restrains it. Beyond infancy, children are encouraged or coerced to spend their days working and are often punished—sometimes by such harsh means as shoving the child’s hand into the fire—for playing. On those occasions when Fajans did get an adult to talk about his or her childhood, the narrative was typically about the challenge of embracing work and overcoming the shameful desire to play. Part of the reason the Baining are reluctant to talk about themselves, apparently, derives from their strong sense of shame about their natural drives and desires.

Source: All Work and No Play Make the Baining the “Dullest Culture on Earth” | Psychology Today

We Need Better Video Game Publishers

To give you an idea about how bad publisher influence can be, consider this: during production meetings, publishing execs often have someone—often the developer—“drive” a game so they can see how it is coming together. The publishing people all watch and then make passive, aesthetic appraisals of active, functional aspects of a game. This is because the bulk of execs can’t and don’t want to play or understand how games work. They don’t want to play. This would be akin to editors in literary publishing being unable to read or write.The relative ignorance of people in game publishing has been called out before. As Gabe Newell put it, gamers/consumers have a much better understanding of games than the management at publishers. It’s entirely and utterly true.

Source: We Need Better Video Game Publishers

The Value of Video Games That Aren’t ‘Fun’ | VICE


This assumption that a game needs to be fun to play can be traced back to the roots of the medium. In The Theory of Fun for Game Design, the developer Raph Koster defines games as mental puzzles. According to Koster, the sense of fun we feel when we play a video game comes from learning and mastering systems that need planning and coordination, much like we’d do in Connect 4, Jenga, or tiddlywinks. Aspects such as story and character are just dressing in the same way that knights, kings, and queens are dressing for the mathematical system at the heart of chess. “This is why gamers are dismissive of the ethical implications of games,” says Koster in his book. “They don’t see, ‘get a blowjob from a hooker, then run her over.’ They see a power-up.”

via The Value of Video Games That Aren’t ‘Fun’ | VICE | United States.

Video Gaming Made Me a History Major — Bright — Medium


From the game, I understood the Normans, the Saxons, and the Vikings to be distinct cultural entities, with unique and idiosyncratic manners of dressing and speech. For instance, the Normans spoke with snooty French accents, while the Vikings spoke with vaguely Norwegian ones. Empire Earth taught me what a trebuchet was. Most importantly, I understood that the dates and names that my history teacher asked us to commit to memory in my history class were not just arbitrary, but details of a great and epic narrative.


via Video Gaming Made Me a History Major — Bright — Medium.

Kids, the Holocaust, and “inappropriate” play

Kids, the Holocaust, and “inappropriate” play:

In play, whether it is the idyllic play we most like to envision or the play described by Eisen, children bring the realities of their world into a fictional context, where it is safe to confront them, to experience them, and to practice ways of dealing with them. Some people fear that violent play creates violent adults, but in reality the opposite is true. Violence in the adult world leads children, quite properly, to play at violence. How else can they prepare themselves emotionally, intellectually, and physically for reality? It is wrong to think that somehow we can reform the world for the future by controlling children’s play and controlling what they learn. If we want to reform the world, we have to reform the world; children will follow suit. The children must, and will, prepare themselves for the real world to which they must adapt to survive.

The very real politics of EVE’s virtual society

The very real politics of EVE’s virtual society:


The “real-life” activities of EVE community members are a striking example of when a game begins to evolve into another type of simulation. In this instance, the metagame becomes a kind of political simulation that starts to manifest itself more off the screen than it does within the virtual society. For instance, many council-members discussed how they often engage in physical player meetings in order to discuss in-game policy. As a more independent representative, Sug discussed this in some detail: “I spend hours having group and personal discussions. I do monthly open chats on a public communications server run by one of the educational corporations. I do interviews, I have gone to player meetings locally as well as the yearly CCP sponsored gathering in Las Vegas.”