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PLAYINGWITH
REALITY
Jeff Watson, PhD
Assistant Professor, OCAD University, Digital Futures
Director, Situation Lab
http://...
ACTION
How games “play with
reality”
Two touchstones:
Environment and
Situation
Two touchstones:
Environment and
Situation
Georges-Eugène Haussmann
Urban Planner
Boulevards of Paris,
“Haussmannization”
Situationist International
Revolutionary Group
Psychogeography, the
construction of “Situations”
Guy Debord, Constant
Nieu...
“[Only] play can
deconsecrate, open up
the possibilities of total
freedom . . . the
freedom, for example, to
turn Chartres...
Theory of the Dérive
Guy Debord, 1958.
Environmental Game Design
The practice of designing games with and around the physical, digital,
social, and emotional env...
Environmental Games and Direct Action
The transformative potential of environmental games lies in the fact
that they can b...
Gaston Bachelard – The Poetics of Space, Topoanalysis
Gone Home
Erving Goffman
Sociologist
Dramaturgical Analysis
The Presentation of Self in
Everyday Life (1959)
DRAMATURGICAL
CODES
PERFORMANCE
Action: Macon Money (2010)
Impact mandates: build personal connections, support local business
Game actions: build persona...
Action: Reality Ends Here (2011-present)
Impact mandates: collaboration, peer discovery, media experimentation
Game action...
Situation
Situation
(noun)
a set of circumstances in which one finds
oneself; a state of affairs.
synonyms: circumstances, (state of...
Situation
(via Sartre)
“The situation is an appeal: it surrounds us,
offering us solutions which it’s up to us to
choose.”...
The writer is in a
situation in their epoch.
Jean-Paul Sartre
Editorial in Les Temps Modernes,
Issue 1 (1945)
An opportunity to act
“We’ve got ourselves a
situation…”
Eudaimonia & Eupraxis
Games are Situations
Games ∈ Situations
What do you do?
Super Hexagon
What do you do?
Chess Boxing
What do you do?
Myst
No game is an island
Star Trek: TNG
Go
Team Fortress 2/Oculus Rift
Defining Game
I perceive four common
factors: representation ["a
closed formal system that
subjectively represents a
subset of reality"]...
A game is a system in which
players engage in an artificial
conflict, defined by rules, that
results in a quantifiable
out...
[An] activity which is
essentially: Free (voluntary),
separate [in time and space],
uncertain, unproductive,
governed by r...
A game is a rule-based formal
system with a variable and
quantifiable outcome, where
different outcomes are assigned
diffe...
“Not this, but…”
Games are permeable
regulated situations that
unfold over time and resolve
or conclude based in whole or
in part on the cr...
Games are permeable
regulated situations that
unfold over time and resolve
based on the creative
participation of one or m...
Games are semi-regulated
situations that unfold over
time and resolve based on the
creative participation of one
or more p...
Permeability
“Not this, but…”
Ludic
Paraludic
Ludic
Paraludic
Ludic Paraludic
Ludic Paraludic
Shrovetide
Mario Kart
Nidhogg
Hidden in Plain Sight
Spaceteam
JS Joust
Journey
The Castle Doctrine
Metal Gear Solid
Candy Box
Flappy Bird
PLAYINGWITH
REALITY
Jeff Watson, PhD
Assistant Professor, OCAD University, Digital Futures
Director, Situation Lab
http://...
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games
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Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games

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Talk delivered at Different Games 2014. Explores how games “play with reality,” opening various avenues for inquiry around notions of environment and situation. Makes reference to Sartre, Goffman, and Baron Von Haussmann, among others, and offers up the following definition for game: “Games are semi-regulated situations that unfold over time and resolve based on the creative participation of one or more players.”

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Playing With Reality: Environment, Situation, and Games

  1. 1. PLAYINGWITH REALITY Jeff Watson, PhD Assistant Professor, OCAD University, Digital Futures Director, Situation Lab http://remotedevice.net @remotedevice
  2. 2. ACTION
  3. 3. How games “play with reality”
  4. 4. Two touchstones: Environment and Situation
  5. 5. Two touchstones: Environment and Situation
  6. 6. Georges-Eugène Haussmann Urban Planner Boulevards of Paris, “Haussmannization”
  7. 7. Situationist International Revolutionary Group Psychogeography, the construction of “Situations” Guy Debord, Constant Nieuwenhuys, Rauol Vaneigem, et al. c. 1957 - 1972
  8. 8. “[Only] play can deconsecrate, open up the possibilities of total freedom . . . the freedom, for example, to turn Chartres Cathedral into a fun-fair, into a labyrinth, into a shooting-range, into a dream landscape.” Raoul Vaneigem, quoted in Plant, The Most Radical Gesture, 129.
  9. 9. Theory of the Dérive Guy Debord, 1958.
  10. 10. Environmental Game Design The practice of designing games with and around the physical, digital, social, and emotional environment of players so as to manifest an impact on the way in which that environment is used
  11. 11. Environmental Games and Direct Action The transformative potential of environmental games lies in the fact that they can be more than just a call to action -- they can meaningfully be the action itself
  12. 12. Gaston Bachelard – The Poetics of Space, Topoanalysis
  13. 13. Gone Home
  14. 14. Erving Goffman Sociologist Dramaturgical Analysis The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959)
  15. 15. DRAMATURGICAL CODES PERFORMANCE
  16. 16. Action: Macon Money (2010) Impact mandates: build personal connections, support local business Game actions: build personal connections, support local business
  17. 17. Action: Reality Ends Here (2011-present) Impact mandates: collaboration, peer discovery, media experimentation Game actions: collaboration, peer discovery, media experimentation
  18. 18. Situation
  19. 19. Situation (noun) a set of circumstances in which one finds oneself; a state of affairs. synonyms: circumstances, (state of) affairs, state, condition
  20. 20. Situation (via Sartre) “The situation is an appeal: it surrounds us, offering us solutions which it’s up to us to choose.” (Theater of Situations) “Thus we begin to catch a glimpse of the paradox of freedom: there is freedom only in a situation, and there is a situation only through freedom.” (Being And Nothingness)
  21. 21. The writer is in a situation in their epoch. Jean-Paul Sartre Editorial in Les Temps Modernes, Issue 1 (1945)
  22. 22. An opportunity to act
  23. 23. “We’ve got ourselves a situation…”
  24. 24. Eudaimonia & Eupraxis
  25. 25. Games are Situations
  26. 26. Games ∈ Situations
  27. 27. What do you do? Super Hexagon
  28. 28. What do you do? Chess Boxing
  29. 29. What do you do? Myst
  30. 30. No game is an island
  31. 31. Star Trek: TNG
  32. 32. Go
  33. 33. Team Fortress 2/Oculus Rift
  34. 34. Defining Game
  35. 35. I perceive four common factors: representation ["a closed formal system that subjectively represents a subset of reality"], interaction, conflict, and safety ["the results of a game are always less harsh than the situations the game models"]. Chris Crawford, 1981
  36. 36. A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome. Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, 2003
  37. 37. [An] activity which is essentially: Free (voluntary), separate [in time and space], uncertain, unproductive, governed by rules, make- believe. Roger Caillois, 1961
  38. 38. A game is a rule-based formal system with a variable and quantifiable outcome, where different outcomes are assigned different values, the player exerts effort in order to influence the outcome, the player feels attached to the outcome, and the consequences of the activity are optional and negotiable. Jesper Juul, 2003
  39. 39. “Not this, but…”
  40. 40. Games are permeable regulated situations that unfold over time and resolve or conclude based in whole or in part on the creative participation of one or more players. Jeff Watson, just now
  41. 41. Games are permeable regulated situations that unfold over time and resolve based on the creative participation of one or more players. Jeff Watson, just now-er
  42. 42. Games are semi-regulated situations that unfold over time and resolve based on the creative participation of one or more players. Jeff Watson, just now-est
  43. 43. Permeability
  44. 44. “Not this, but…”
  45. 45. Ludic Paraludic
  46. 46. Ludic Paraludic
  47. 47. Ludic Paraludic
  48. 48. Ludic Paraludic
  49. 49. Shrovetide
  50. 50. Mario Kart
  51. 51. Nidhogg
  52. 52. Hidden in Plain Sight
  53. 53. Spaceteam
  54. 54. JS Joust
  55. 55. Journey
  56. 56. The Castle Doctrine
  57. 57. Metal Gear Solid
  58. 58. Candy Box
  59. 59. Flappy Bird
  60. 60. PLAYINGWITH REALITY Jeff Watson, PhD Assistant Professor, OCAD University, Digital Futures Director, Situation Lab http://remotedevice.net @remotedevice

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