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Liberate Play From "Gamification"


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The editorial to the upcoming issue of Logic, a quarterly magazine about technology and culture, reflects on different notions of “play,” from the aimless, ecstatic play of children to the “gamification” of the workplace. At its most liberating, suggests the piece, play helps break us out of settled ways of thinking and doing and is thus invaluable in an era of political paralysis and diminished imagination. Read an excerpt from the editorial below or the full text here:

If the end game of gamification is playing yourself, what would it take to reclaim play? Writers in this issue explore how homo ludens has put and might still put our instinct to better ends. How to build a better “bite”? As we gain new computational powers, we can use them to build and explore virtual alternatives to vanishing public space. We can tinker and jigger, attempting to build networks on entirely new principles.

A defining feature of play—a form of creativity that depends on restrictions, or rules—may be that it teaches us to adapt what we have to make what we want. This it shares with code, which encodes but can also be decoded, recoded. It is an education for an era of democratic deficits and dwindling resources.

Image via Bloomberg Businessweek.