Do Games Really Ever End?

10:00 AM, Wednesday 15 Aug 2018 (1 hour)

During the 1990’s, reports of people dreaming about arranging geometric shapes became so widespread that newscasts worldwide dubbed the phenomena the “Tetris effect.” In The Aesthetics of Play, Brian Upton posits that we play games by acting on internalized analogues of the game’s formal constraints. We need not understand the complexity of its code, so long as “we have constructed a set of internal constraints that correctly predict future evolutions of the game’s state, ... we can make meaningful decisions” (Upton 119). Between play sessions, these mental models of gameworlds allow players to continue playing the game by planning new strategies or considering difficult puzzles, thus never really ceasing to play the game. My proposed paper will build on Upton’s epistemological model of play to explore how we play our favorite games even after the computer has been shut down by looking at activities such as metagaming, coaching, and training in the competitive on-line shooter Overwatch.

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
PhD Student