After Action Alienation – Episode Two

What is play and what is a game?

Play – Self-directed player has freedom to engage or quit. Goal is not having one. Pure, creative joy and expression through the medium at hand. Rules, if any, are for courtesy of each other to maintain agreed upon climate. Rules are kept to a minimum to maximize joy.

In a Wiki about Roger Callious, he explains that PLAY has six core characteristics:

  1. It is free, or not obligatory
  2. It is separate (from the routine of life) occupying its own time and space
  3. It is uncertain, so that the results of play cannot be pre-determined and so that the player’s initiative is involved
  4. It is unproductive in that it creates no wealth and ends as it begins
  5. It is governed by rules that suspend ordinary laws and behaviours and that must be followed by players; and it involves make-believe that confirms for players the existence of imagined realities that may be set against ‘real life’

In an excerpt from Freedom To Learn: The Value of Play Peter Gray uses five characteristics when defining PLAY:

  1. Play is self-chosen and self-directed
  2. Play is activity in which means are more valued than ends
  3. Play has structure, or rules, which are not dictated by physical necessity but emanate from the minds of the players
  4. Play is imaginative, non-literal, mentally removed in some way from “real” or “serious” life
  5. Play involves an active, alert, but non-stressed frame of mind.

Game – Some sort of winning condition exists. There is a goal valued higher than the means to get there. The focus appears to be having a higher score by whatever means are indicated in the game. The games as rules that are far more constraining than in my version of Play.

Wolfgang Kramer posits What is a Game? and offers the following standard for a “game with rules”:

  1. Game rules
  2. Goal
  3. The course of the game is never the same – chance
  4. Competition

About "B" Bernheim
“B”, his nickname, returns to the other side of the desk after many years. Graduating from UNC-Charlotte in 1983 with a BA in Education (K-12), he entered active service with the US Army. He began teaching high school upon completion of his tour of duty. B taught Language Arts and Social Studies for one year at the middle school level. English, Composition, Public Speaking, Theater, Forensics, and Technical Theater are among the subjects he has taught in public high school settings. Most recently, he was a Strategies of Instruction teacher, Assistant Dean of Students, dorm parent, girls’ hockey coach and rock climbing instructor at The Forman School in Litchfield, CT. The Forman School is a 9-12 boarding school specifically targeting students who learn differently.

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