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Joys of Absence: A Defence of Solitary Play

Joys of Absence: A Defence of Solitary Play


Sebastian Deterding

October 03, 2018


  1. joys of absence a defense of solitary play Sebastian Deterding

    / @dingstweets Digital Creativity Labs, University of York October 3, 2018 c b
  2. the situation “You should go out and play with your

  3. the fear

  4. the trope

  5. old new media fears

  6. media as dangerous tools of emancipation

  7. None
  8. “But, you may say, we asked you to speak about

    women and fiction—what, has that got to do with a room of one's own?”
  9. Solitary play provides a much-needed room of one’s own.

  10. gaming can be good for you

  11. gaming provides a retreat for recovery

  12. a retreat

  13. a retreat

  14. a retreat

  15. a retreat

  16. a retreat

  17. What do these retreats restore?

  18. “An understanding of human motivation requires a consideration of innate

    psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness.” edward deci, richard ryan, the what and why of goal pursuit, 2002
  19. “To be autonomous means to behave with a sense of

    volition, willingness, and congruence; it means to fully endorse and concur with the behavior one is engaged in” e deci, r ryan, motivation and personality in development, 2012
  20. everyday childhood constantly thwarts autonomy

  21. everyday adulthood constantly thwarts autonomy

  22. Not so gameplay.

  23. games let us choose our goals and actions

  24. games give us open worlds to explore

  25. games let us choose who to be

  26. games give us tools and canvasses to express with

  27. games give us tools and canvasses to express with

  28. games give us tools and canvasses to express with time

    to penis Ttp
  29. But not all games are autonomous play.

  30. goldfarming

  31. professional e-sports

  32. work gamification

  33. and sometimes, work becomes autonomous play

  34. when does gameplay restore autonomy?

  35. “If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like

    the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.” mark twain, the adventures of tom sawyer, 1876
  36. play autonomy play autonomy

  37. autonomy drives work/play labeling, not task »It’s still a game

    as such, and defined as such, but I would not say that *I* play it at that moment.« »sometimes you just have to play, you have to get further, no matter whether you want to or not. And then, then that is, then playing is indeed work.«
  38. a license to change or leave the situation

  39. »Apart from Counterstrike I would never play any game when

    I don’t want to. [...] When Diablo 3 comes out, I will really want to play it, so I will play it very much. But if I don’t want to play it […] then I will not play it« »At the office, [...] I have to focus on the game analytically, and not say, I let myself go and play the whole day, and at the end no results. That would be inappropriate.« a license to change or leave the situation
  40. minimised socio-material consequence

  41. »[When money is involved] there's the pressure that you have

    to win. Of course, everybody who plays wants to win somehow. […] Bu::t when it's about money, that's a real thing, and that you have to work hard for. That wouldn't have a playful character for me then.« »when you fail and know: <<I can’t write the review tomorrow>>, because you actually haven’t reached these and these things, [...] the consequence then means for instance, that you have to get up in the morning two hours early to start the game again. And that can be incredibly infuriating.« minimised socio-material consequence
  42. »Especially with WoW you somehow had [...] a social coercion

    behind it. Because as I said, this reputation and then also the social contexts that you maintained through it. Or found there. [...Y]ou don’t feel like training in the evening, or something, and you still go there. Because you feel socially obliged somehow.« »[When playing with friends not alone] the considerateness for the friends dominates, for the people with whom I’m sitting there. So then it’s less the case, that I focus on the game and say: <<I am now, now I am free and can determine this.>> Instead it’s also more about me being the host, and being a guest of somebody and still take regard of that.« regard for others makes play consequential
  43. accomplishing a relaxed field

  44. Interviewer: »So that’s the usual process, that you, that you

    pick a day, and then on that day start in the afternoon and stop in the evening? Interviewee: »If it is that way and I can focus on the afternoon, then I also plan it like that, such that I have finished everything until then, until that point, that could make me go to the door or interrupt the game.« accomplishing a relaxed time
  45. accomplishing a relaxed space “Well, it’s simply distracting. So although,

    well, I am somehow in flow, in quotation marks, and immersed and in there, so I still catch myself as I am then still somehow, as I::: can’t focus one the game one hundred percent”
  46. [With a Nintendo DS] I am then mostly in a

    public surrounding, loud screaming or throwing that thing in the corner are not an option. Although you would really want to do it, you have to restrain yourself a bit there and, let’s put it this way, appear a bit more suited for public.« »in my private rooms, then I can show any emotion, because there would be nothing inappropriate in doing so, because I wouldn’t offend anyone with it« accomplishing a relaxed space
  47. private solitary play is the most autonomy-restoring

  48. Autonomy is thwarted when available choices mismatch spontaneous interests and

    perceived-controlling motives keep us from changing or leaving the situation autonomy is a relation
  49. »In::: 95 percent of the cases no. It's still a

    hobby. You- it's still a passion. You enjoy playing it, also because something like:: a professional level comes in, money and you get around and you get to know new people. That's nice, no question. And those remaining five percent, those are the percentages where you say: <<Hm, not training again from seven to ten pm? Now I could have gone to the movies with my girlfriend.>> For example. Where you would say: <<I so would have wanted to go with her to the movies. Damn, damn, damn. Why do I have to train now?>>« autonomy is a person-situation relation
  50. private solitary play is the most autonomy-restoring … unless we

    feel forced to stick to it
  51. “You should go out and play with your friends!”

  52. we are designing free play out of today’s childhoods

  53. None
  54. sebastian@codingconduct.cc @dingstweets codingconduct.cc thank you.