The Opposite of Play isn’t Work, its Depression

Kars Alfrink from Hubbub just helped us to have a great discussion about MLuhan, games, art, play and work:

Watch/listen to the recording

Make sure to check out the chat transcript for a set of links to books, games and concepts.

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Rhonda Jessen on Chapters 23 to 25 for #UMRG

Rhonda Jessen has used Haiku Deck to create a visually stunning summary of chapters 23 to 25.


You can download a PDF version of the slides or watch them on Haikudeck by clicking the image below.

Ads, Games & Telegraph on Haiku Deck

Ads, Games & Telegraph on Haiku Deck

Rhonda would like us to talk about the following questions:

  • If both games and technologies are counter-irritants or ways of adjusting to the stress of the specialized; then is the increasing specialization of games and technologies a result of increased stress or improved technological know-how?
  • McLuhan suggests that we sent our nervous systems outside our bodies with the telegraph, and extended our nervous systems with satellite broadcasting. Would he have argued that social media throws our consciousness into the universe or that it compresses it to mere narcissism?

Questions about Games and McLuhan for #UMRG

In anticipation of Kars Alfrink joining us this Monday I thought I would post some questions about games (for Kars and the others to ponder on) on the basis of his chapter on the topic.

McLuhan sees games as an extensions of social and group selves:

As extensions of the popular response to the workaday stress, games become faithful models of a culture. They incorporate both the action and the reaction of whole populations in a single dynamic image.

This means we can learn a lot about a society through observing its games:

The games of a people reveal a great deal about them.

My question would be: What does the current world of gaming (e.g. the gamification hype or the move to virtual rather than physical world or any other trend) tell us about our current society?

McLuhan seems to think that games need specators:

Art and games need rules, conventions, and spectators. [..] Great teams often play practice games without any audience at all. This is not sport in our sense, because much of the quality of interplay, the very medium of interplay, as it were, is the feeling of the audience.

My question: Is this indeed the case? What is the difference between participation and observation? What does a spectator add?

Finally, McLuhan seems to say that games make us whole:

We think of humor as a mark of sanity for a good reason: in fun and play we recover the integral person, who in the workaday world or in professional life can use only a small sector of his being. [..] Art and games enable us to stand aside from the material pressures of routine and convention, observing and questioning.

They can even help us be more creative and break out of our regular patterns:

Men without art, and men without the popular arts of games, tend toward automatism. [..] John Kenneth Gailbraith argues that business must now study art, for the artist makes models of problems and situations that have not yet emerged in the larger matrix of society, giving the artistically perceptive businessman a decade of leeway in his planning.

My question is the following: Could games be used as a tool to help people be more innovative in the corporate world (meaning the world of business)? What would the impact be? In which ways is work a game already?

Looking forward to our discussion!

Hubbub Game Designer Kars Alfrink Speaking about Games and McLuhan at #UMRG

This week we will be reading chapters 23-25 of Understanding Media. Chapter 24 is titled: “Games – The Extensions of Man”. So I have asked Kars Alfrink, founder, part­ner and prin­ci­pal designer at Hubbub to give a short talk about games and McLuhan and engage with us in a further exploration of the the topic.

Logistics

The conversation will be on Monday, May 6th at 16:00 CET (click here for your own timezone).

We will use Adobe Connect for the session. You can launch Adobe Connect using the following URL:

http://meet79324623.adobeconnect.com/umrg-7

About Hubbub

Hubbub is an international design studio that researches, designs and develops new games and forms of play, to spark social change. They have an incredibly diverse portfolio of game projects that is well worth exploring. Many people in the Netherlands have seen the Playing with Pigs project in the media:

But his other games deserve at least as much attention. Check out the game he designed for the Dutch tax office as a way to engender organization change:

Kars will talk about play and games and how non-institutionalized play is different from institutionalized games. As preparation, it would be good to read a blog post that he wrote after delivering a lecture at the Hide & Seek Weekender last year. It is titled:

The Strange Things People Play.

As always it would be good if you could let me know if you will be at this virtual discussion: