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This dictum has been around game developers for a while. If you make the game that you want to play, it will be fun, maybe even magical and childlike. However in a lot of our readings play is competitive. Play is labour. Play is a neoliberal mechanism. Which doesn’t bode well for us fun loving, well meaning, nostalgia ridden, rose tinted game developers.

Some (Raph Koster) argue for a Darwinistic understanding of play. Games are learning tools to prepare youth for life’s challenges. The games we played as children are reducible to reflexes, mental acuity, agility, and the fun that puts these things in motion.

And if this doom and gloom is in fact the underbelly of games, what are the games we wanted to play as children… the ones we won? The ones that enchanted us? Gave us fictional quests with unambiguous, conquerable challenges to please us? The ones that let us share fantastic moments with friends—the oh so devious dream of escape from a banal, quotidian, everyday, unimpressive, average, disenchanted life—all that bad faith? And if it is any one of these, when we revive it perhaps it will be merely another environment to confirm the ambiguous agon permeating our lives.

Callois gives only a few definitions for play, yet we should not accept this dogmatism as the limits of human interaction. We have the liberty to be 19th century Romantics in awe of the world and our silly billy efforts either understand or fight over small scraps of it. To make a game about gardening that’s not about comparing e-peens. Or a game where all you do is sit with another person. Or a game where you are in awe of the world and its beauty. In the vast field that is “INTERACTION” activity is not exclusively competitive or agnostic. We can argue about power struggles and egoism, but take a step back, stop reading Wark, and ask dear reader, if you had to MAKE THE GAME YOU WANTED TO PLAY what would its affect be? Can these competitive dynamics be auxiliary to the wonder such a phrase as the one above is supposed to evoke?

and why am I asking so many questions