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Brian Upton. The Aesthetic of Play. Cambridge, USA: MIT Press, 2015. [Book Review]

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journal contribution
posted on 23.05.2017, 10:20 by Andrew McLeod
In The Aesthetic of Play, veteran videogame designer Brian Upton sets out to create a critical framework through which game designers and academics alike can approach the notion of play. For Upton, “play” is not limited simply to the sphere of video games but, rather, encompasses a host of activities, from board games and sport to make-believe and theatre. Beyond what we generally understand as “playing,” Upton argues, there are elements of play operating below the surface of almost all activities that require
interpretation and communication. From this rather broad base, Upton’s study traces a winding path through phenomenology, linguistics, and neuroscience, before concluding with a quick overview of meta-criticism
and an explanation of the weaknesses of Derridean deconstruction when viewed through his own framework, all punctuated by hundreds of references to videogames, films, literature, and popular culture.


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