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The Well-Played Game: A Player's Philosophy Hardcover – 20 Sep 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press (20 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262019175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262019170
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 546,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This book is important. If you have not read it, read it. If you already have, browse it and you will almost certainly find small details and aspects of play and games that you already knew but failed to take into account. And, more importantly, please rewrite this book in a different tone, in a different format, make YouTube videos about some of its ideas, create web comics about them, share the stories with your students, use its anecdotes in your own work. That is the way that classics are supposed to be dealt with.--Gonzalo Frasca "Game Studies "

About the Author

Bernard De Koven is a game designer and theorist of fun. He was a codirector of the New Games Foundation and a founder of the Games Preserve. He is the author of Junkyard Sports and the creator of the website deepfun.com.


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Format: Hardcover
If the title sounds familiar, it might be because 'The Well-Played Game' was first published in 1978 and was followed by a revised edition in 2002. Its re-publication in 2013 gives these playful insights a new lease of life. The 2013 edition also includes a new foreword by Eric Zimmerman and a new preface by the author, Bernie de Koven.

'The Well-Played Game' is difficult to classify because it is so original and unconventional. For example, it ends with a 'Nonconclusion' comprising four 'Inklings'. The three main reasons that I enjoyed re-reading this unique treatise are:

1. It is a detailed forensic analysis of how games (of all kinds) work - providing clear insights into the social 'DNA' of a well-played game.
2. The style is entertaining and playful - making the journey wonderfully consistent with the subject of a well-played game.
3. There is an unrelenting focus on the experience of a well-played game.

As with all good books, it can be enjoyed at many levels - as a player of games, as a play leader, as a game designer, or as a designer/facilitator of any activities (educational or recreational). By the end of the book I could even accept the author's "Inkling # 3" that "If we can create even larger games that we can all play together - all of us - then there will be no separation between us and others, no we and they. We will all be one community. All one species."

The well-played game is a process. Details of the process include intriguing concepts like 'The Well-Timed Cheat', 'The Fair Witness', 'The Practice Game', 'The Bent Rule', 'Restoring Balance', 'Quitting' and 'Quitting Practice'.
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Format: Hardcover
As I read and then re-read this new edition of The Well-Played Game, a book first published in 1978, I was again reminded of another book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990), in which Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discusses a state (i.e. "flow") during which creative artists, for example, are not consciously thinking about the next note to play or the next stroke to make on a painting. Athletes call it being in a "zone" as when Michael Jordan feels that he will make every a basketball shot or when Tiger Woods feels that he will sink every golf putt. That does not mean that their actions are random or mechanical or that optimal performance will continue indefinitely. Those in a "flow" feel as if guided by a set of internalized rules or strategies. These rules influence the result but those involved do not need to consciously "will" each intention in action. Results occur naturally if allowed to.

Bernie De Koven would describe it as "a well-played game." In fact, he describes the state of mind/heart/spirit as an experience that transcends games, just as the games you will read about in his book "transcend the historical, geographic, social, and physical circumstances that divide us. It is not about any particular game, but about the spirit of play itself. Nor is it about any particular player, but about the relationship between players in pursuit of fun." He believes -- and I agree -- that children's games are truly theater, and that, like all good theater, they capture the human condition, they reveal the essence of optimal humanity.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thought provoking book. Glad I read this and am confident I will be back to it over time.
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