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Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games
(Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read)

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Published:
Basic Books 2016
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Description
How filling life with play-whether soccer or lawn mowing, counting sheep or tossing Angry Birds — forges a new path for creativity and joy in our impatient age
Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities.
The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations. Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal; Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning.
Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances- like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints-as sources for meaning and joy. We can "play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears.
Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed-and enjoyed-when we first impose boundaries on ourselves.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Edition:
1
Street Date:
09/13/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781541698123
ASIN:
B01DWV0ZFS
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Ian Bogost. (2016). Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. 1 Basic Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Ian Bogost. 2016. Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. Basic Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Ian Bogost, Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. Basic Books, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Ian Bogost. Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. 1 Basic Books, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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How filling life with play-whether soccer or lawn mowing, counting sheep or tossing Angry Birds — forges a new path for creativity and joy in our impatient age
Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities.
The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations. Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal; Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless,...
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title
Play Anything
fullDescription
How filling life with play-whether soccer or lawn mowing, counting sheep or tossing Angry Birds — forges a new path for creativity and joy in our impatient age
Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities.
The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations. Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal; Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning.
Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances- like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints-as sources for meaning and joy. We can "play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears.
Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed-and enjoyed-when we first impose boundaries on ourselves.
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 13, 2016
        It’s difficult to imagine a book that takes on David Foster Wallace, Barry Schwartz (The Paradox of Choice), Mary Poppins, and a host of philosophers under one premise. Yet Bogost (How to Talk About Videogames), professor of interactive computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology and founding partner at a video games company, has done so, with moderate success, while dissecting the notion of play. He defines playgrounds as “structures we discover,” fun as “the feeling of finding something new in a familiar situation,” and play as “carefully and deliberately working with the materials one finds in a situation.” Irony, the book’s principal antagonist, is described as a “fundamental affliction of contemporary life.” Bogost doesn’t fully deliver on his grand promise to offer “a perspective on how to live in a world far bigger than our bodies, minds, hopes, and dreams and how to do it with pleasure and gratitude.” Statements like “boredom is the secret to releasing pleasure” and “fun comes from wretchedness” are challenging to comprehend, much less credit. The book is abstract, interesting, complicated, confusing, and baffling, sometimes all at once.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Why the best way to happily take on the challenges of modern life is to turn them into games.Bogost (Media Studies and Interactive Computing/Georgia Institute of Technology; How to Talk About Video Games, 2015, etc.) disputes the common view that playing games is merely a way to escape the trials and tribulations of life. Underlying the author's narrative is his rejection of the popular idea that happiness and pleasure are the results of escaping from the pressures of life. For him, rules are what make games fun; they provide a safe space in which a player can explore new possibilities and opportunities. As the author notes, looking at things in unconventional and whimsical ways can replace--or at least enhance--the tedium of routine. These kinds of mental tests provide zest to life and are pleasurable for their own sakes. The author examines games through the lenses of many disciplines, including metaphysics, aesthetics, psychology, and, most prominently, philosophy. Take the case of the humble stick. Recently inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York, along with the skateboard and the baby doll, the stick was chosen because it is "very open-ended, all natural, the perfect price." However, Bogost digs deeper and sees it a bit differently. Sticks have properties such as length, breakability, woodenness, and sharpness, which define their potential and thus, subtly, rules for their use. Rules limit the open-endedness by establishing possible spaces in which working within them evokes creativity. It is no longer simply escapism but "a kind of craftsmanship." Freedom then becomes "an opportunity to explore the implications of inherited or invented limitations." Limits also involve humility--not necessarily looking for happiness in ourselves but in pursuing greater respect "for the things, people, and situations around us." Though some readers may think Bogost takes play too seriously, his arguments are thoughtful and useful for approaching ordinary experiences. A delightful book that promotes playfulness with a purpose. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from August 1, 2016

        What is play? How do you define fun? Bogost (Ivan Allen Coll. Distinguished Chair in Media Studies, Georgia Inst. of Technology; How To Talk About Videogames) has poured a lot of thought and work into answering those questions. His book doesn't argue for gamifying your life; it explores the conditions necessary for play and fun and convinces us to change how we think about these concepts. Bogost analyzes the everyday--lawn maintenance, golf, navigating a crowded shopping mall--and debunks long-held notions of pleasure. He takes on ideas from high and low culture, challenging in one breath the works of novelist David Foster Wallace and German philosopher Martin Heidegger, and in the next taking down the "spoonful of sugar" from the musical Mary Poppins. Along the way, he examines play in the contexts of creativity, asceticism, boredom, pleasure, and novelty, and in the process challenges readers to rethink its applications. Perhaps Bogost's most trenchant move is pinpointing irony as fun's most powerful archenemy. VERDICT An essential read for those seeking to understand how a new idea of play can be positive for our lives.--Paul Stenis, Pepperdine Univ. Lib., Malibu, CA

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games
popularity
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publisher
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