2/1 – Lauren Stephens (First Reader)

If play is such a “waste of time, energy, ingenuity, skill, and money”, as Caillois suggests, then what motivates people to play? Is it purely for leisure purposes, or are they seeking something else?

Both Caillois and Koster believe that once an individual has mastered a game, it becomes boring and they will no longer want to play it. If this is true, then why do people have favorite games that they play repeatedly?

If the evolution of games mirrors that of humans, such that they teach us skills that are useful in our everyday lives (i.e. teamwork, classifying, etc.), then what would be an appropriate skill to incorporate into current games? Explain your reasoning for why the skill is needed.

Which type of games are more important for people to play: those that teach us to masterfully complete a task in a short amount of time, or those that teach us to be thorough in completing a task? Are they equally important

Additionally, in what type of situation would it be beneficial for someone to complete a task quickly, rather than thoroughly? Or, thoroughly more so than quickly?

Caillois defines play in six parts (see p. 9-10). Describe how Flow relates to each of these six aspects of play. If it does not apply to one in particular, explain why.

Explain this: if an individual cannot be forced into the act of play, why do most teachers, daycare providers, nannies, etc. schedule “playtime” for children? More importantly, how is play accomplished if it is forced on children in this type of situation?

Koster states, “There are no games that take just one turn” (p.56). What about the ball-and-string game? It can certainly be won (i.e. ball lands in cup) in only one turn. Does this mean it is not a game? Also, are there any other games like this?

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2 Responses to 2/1 – Lauren Stephens (First Reader)

  1. Very interesting set of questions. I’m curious to hear your own answers to some of them. For example, another way of looking at the scheduling of “playtime” for children is that it’s not scheduling so much as setting aside time for, creating a kind of play reservation. (Which, it’s worth noting, is happening less and less, i.e. children have far less unstructured time than they used to, and many sociologists and education experts think that’s a big problem.)

  2. Stephanie says:

    I agree with Lauren’s comment on how if it were true that people get tired of games once they have seen everything a game has to offer, then why do people have favorite games that they want to play over and over agan? As I read through the first four chapters of Koster’s A Theory of Fun, I was very interested in was why games get boring after we play them for a while.
    It might get boring because we know the probably outcome, or because we feel we have seen everything the game has to offer, as Koster offers as explanations.
    I have a ten-year-old brother who loves to play video games of any kind, but never had as big of an interest in board games. For Christmas 2009, he got a Monopoly game, except for his wii. All of a sudden, this was the only game he was playing. So I think this also raises a question of the difference between video games and old-fashioned board games. Why are children today more likely to play a video game than any other type?
    My brother played this wii monopoly game over and over until he was able to beat the computers every time. I played with him a few times right after he got it, and once a few weeks later. Through the difference of those weeks, I could see how quickly he had mastered it. He learned the patterns of the game and how to get what you need to win. Even at a young age, he could understand the concept and see what the game had to offer. But he did not grow bored of it. While he often cannot get anyone to play it with him because everyone else is sick of it, to this day, he still is not bored and plays it frequently, to the very last turn every time.
    So has he seen everything the game has to offer? As many times as he has played it, I think he has. Does he understand the probably outcome of each game? Yes, he knows when he is going to win and understands when I am doing better and likely to beat him. But yet, despite these things, he keeps playing every game to the end, and looks forward to it. If these are the things that make me bored of it, why is he not?
    So I do not think it is the same for every person. It is a complicated subject and I do not think all people fit into one category. Plus I think it depends on the game. So while these might be the reasons that some people get sick of a game, I don’t think everyone will grow tired of any one game. In the example of my brother, monopoly is his favorite game and he always wants to play it.

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