Mr. Golumbia, the idea, you question in Games without Play; that games need to have a set of rules while also having a flexibility to be play I find intriguing. And if games don’t have that flexibility then it isn’t play. You go beyond that too, asking the question whether or not we actually are playing computer/video games. And if we aren’t playing then the game closely resembles or is more like actual work. You don’t stop there either;
“…that they directly instantiate them and, in important ways, train human beings to become part of those systems. As such, it is remarkable to see how much of the in-game and also out-of-game structure surrounding these games conforms to the insights of cultural theorists about the way capital, work, and exploitation function in the world outside of the so-called games…(194)”
You directly address how we’ve allowed games to replace some aspects of real life AND/OR overflow into our real lives. Going back to the idea of work- the systems of structure and economics in the game imitate our daily actions.
“… small percentage of “in-game’ time is spent doing what most would recognize as nominally playing the game; instead as in physical reality, one waits, walks, and flies for the few oppertunites to actually gain experience and treasure. (196)”
The idea of having an item or gold to exchange it for an item to further the process of the game intact but, we (the players) are encouraged to spend more time in the game to get to a higher level and more items to climb the (social structure for power) ladder, so to speak. I can see the idea of working within the game very clearly.
The idea that children learn how to navigate in our society though games has been questioned before and how important it is for children to play. But, adults are adapting and “playing’ these games too. They can learn just as much from the game if not more. But most people I believe, see these games as a way of relaxing and to have fun (or in your words find pleasure). And you point out on page 180 that playing doesn’t necisarily mean getting pleasure that pleasure and games do and can overlap and interact but that they should not be associated necessarily together. And that play and freeplay should not be interpreted as the same thing either.
The message I get is, to have play -but freeplay is a higher more valuable tool to have. Do you agree? I feel you emphasis on the importance of free-play for all human beings not just children. That having that looseness in playing is important for creativity and personal identity.
Which brings me to my question whether or not you would consider Gone Home a computer game that I had to “read’ for my Digital Literature class. I’m very interested in whether you find this game to be playing or more along the lines of work/reading? I’d also be interested on your feedback of Gone Home as well.