Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games

Bogost, Prof. Ian

$48.00




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  • ISBN: 9780465051724
  • Author: Bogost, Prof. Ian
  • Publ Date: 2016-09-29
  • Edition:
  • Binding: HardBack
  • Pages: 288
  • Imprint: PERSEUS BKS #
  • Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
  • Country of Publication: United States
  • ID - 512559

Table of Contents :

Preface: Life is Not a Game 1. Everywhere, Playgrounds 2. Ironoia, the Mistrust of Things 3. Fun Isn't Pleasure, It's Novelty 4. Play Is in Things, Not in You 5. From Restraint to Constraint 6. The Pleasure of Limits 7. The Opposite of Happiness Conclusion: Living with Things


Description:

"Play Anything is nothing short of brilliant...I will be recommending this provocative and entertaining book to everyone I know." --Jane McGonigal, bestselling author of Reality is Broken and SuperBetter 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. "An essential read for those seeking to understand how a new idea of play can be positive for our lives."--Library Journal (STARRED review) "Play Anything is a profound book: both a striking assessment of our current cultural landscape, and at the same time a smart self-improvement guide, teaching us the virtues of a life lived playfully." --Steven Johnson, author of How We Got To Now and Everything Bad Is Good For You


Review:

Library Journal (STARRED review) "What is play? How do you define fun? Bogost has poured a lot of thought and work into answering those questions... 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." Kirkus "Why the best way to happily take on the challenges of modern life is to turn them into games... A delightful book that promotes playfulness with a purpose." Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken and SuperBetter "Play Anything is nothing short of brilliant. It proves that philosophy can be fun, that fun can be profound, and that play is in fact the bridge that connects what is most meaningful and what is most pleasurable in our daily lives. I will be recommending this provocative and entertaining book to everyone I know." Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore "This is one of those books that blossoms: now tacking through intellectual history, now seizing on philosophical argument, now touched by memoir. At its hybrid heart, you'll find the meaning of "play," as well as "fun," and maybe even "life." Maybe you pick it up because, like me, you're a fan of Ian Bogost's essays, or maybe because you've enjoyed one of his previous books. No matter how you approach it, Play Anything will surprise you. You'll realize: this is a book with big ambitions, carrying a theory of the world that is covertly radical and, by the end, nothing short of thrilling." Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack Technologies "A landmark. Play Anything is a humane and personal theory of play for the supermodern age. Full of fascinating insight and fresh perspective, Play Anything shows how play serves as a fundamental tool for examining the world around us. Through play we limit, focus, constrain and experiment in order to bring certain aspects of our world to the fore while allowing others to recede. As the basis both for creativity and for well-being, as well as the antidote to detached irony, play is how we all recognize our Davids, big and small, from the infinite blocks of marble all around us." Steven Johnson, author of How We Got To Now and Everything Bad Is Good For You "Play Anything is a profound book: both a striking assessment of our current cultural landscape, and at the same time a smart self-improvement guide, teaching us the virtues of a life lived playfully."


Author Biography:

Ian Bogost is the Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in media studies and a professor of interactive computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a founding partner at Persuasive Games, and a contributing editor at The Atlantic. Bogost lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow him @ibogost


 


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