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Well-played and well-debated: Understanding perspective in contested affinity spaces

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journal contribution
posted on 30.10.2019, 14:55 by Sean Duncan

There is a missing piece from theories of playing games well that needs to be considered in the development of theories of how games are “well-played,” and one that may interestingly connect the goals of game studies even more deeply with approaches to understanding online culture. I argue that to understand “well play,” we may benefit from focusing not only on the ways that academics and designers analyze and understanding the systems of a game, but also by looking into the manners by which players engage with one another and with game designers in the interpretation of a game’s mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics. The potential to connect “well-played” analyses to players’ lived experiences outside the game is under explored, and serves as the focus for this paper. I suggest that attention to the ways that game players conceive of their own activities with a game and the forms of identity play that these players engage with can contribute to a better understanding of their involvement in the ongoing assessment of what makes a particular game “well-played.”




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