I'm up through chapter 5 in Bogost's Play Anything. He's started incorporating a more academic tone with some of his discussion which I find is making the prose less unpleasant to read. In amongst the mini chip-on-his-shoulder "no, you're the narcissist!" huffing against various cultural movements he says some things about fun and games that I nearly agree with, e.g.:

"Play is not an act of diversion, but the work of working a system, of interacting with the bits of logic within it. Fun is not the effect of enjoyment released by a system, but a nickname for the feeling of operating it, particularly of operating it in a new way, in a way that lets us discover something within it, or to rediscover something we've found there before."

I think this is similar to some of the ideas about games that I've been trying to work out, such as my skepticism about the "reward cycle" theory of how games work -- the game doesn't spit fun back out at you, fun is the sensation of manipulating a game in a way that works.

I find it weird that he focuses so much on "things" when many of the components of games are conceptual rather than physical. He sometimes seems to recognize that in some of his examples, I don't know if he's going to explore this more in future chapters or if that's going to get sidelined in favor of his cultural arguments, e.g. anti-asceticism.

I still think his "irony is a fear of objects" thing sounds like nonsense, so I often find it hard to follow some of his arguments since they're built on that weird foundation.

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