Aspects of Play: Roger Caillois

Probably one of the most important figures and theorists, when it comes to the aspects of play, Roger Caillois in his book Man Play and Games, devised and outlined a stringent set of categories that games, in any form, tend to fall into, those being;

  • Agon – Outlines clearly, that a game has a competitive aspect. i.e. multiplayer within video games, it promotes a competitive element because it pits player vs player in an attempt to see who is best.
  • Illinx – Is the way in which the game purposefully disorientates the player to engage them in a scenario. i.e. Grand Theft Auto, when the protagonist is intoxicated, they will move accordingly and the screen will give off a disorientating effect to the player.
  • Mimicry – Is the way in which the player controls the player character, as they take on a role or copy the movements the player want them to.
  • Alea – Is the way in which chance and/or luck is incorporated into games, be it Poker or any game that presents an element of randomness to it.

Reference

Caillois, R. 1961. Man, play, and games. [New York]: Free Press of Glencoe.

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