Toying Around With Play

Work hard, play hard.  That is the motto most artists live by.  But some people have a distaste for play in the work space.  Historically speaking, play was seen as frivolous for adults to participate in.  This was very common before the eighteenth century according to the article.  However, the Enlightenment era came in at full force and knocked those opinions out for the most part.

Caillois wanted a more structured approach to play.  He wanted to know how to concretely classify it, so he came up with a taxonomy that has two main categories: games with rules and games made up on the spot.  He also had four subcategories to further define his ideas: (1) competitive games, (2) games of chance, (3) dramatic play,  and (4) disorientation such as amusement parks.  I think this is a decent way to categorize and classify games and play; however, there is always room for improvement.  For example, a video game could be disorienting, dramatic, and competitive.  A good example of this is any sort of video game involving racing a car.  If control of the virtual car is lost, the player may be disoriented or experience dizziness.  At the same time, they are competing with others to obtain first place and pretending to be a racecar driver.  This would easily fit into 3 of the 4 subcategories.

Surrealists manipulated play in a way that was clever and thought-provoking.  For example, they used games as a political and cultural statement when they utilized them to “resist the restrictive political and intellectual conditions brought about with the rise of fascism.”  They also made the general public rethink polar opposites and where they belonged in society.  Often, surrealists used games to warp fate and human reason.


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