Serious play at hand: Is gaming serious research in the humanities?

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  • Games are used to teach the humanities not for research. We are not even comfortable studying games seriously, let alone proposing that games could be a form of research. It is only recently that computer games have become the subject of serious humanities inquiry. At the same time there is a tradition that proposes that what we do in the humanities is a form of play, even if it is serious play. In theorists like Huizinga, Bakhtin, and Gadamer play is presented as a component of humanities practice. The playful dimension of the dialogue of the humanities is that which distinguishes our (hermeneutical) methods from those in the social and natural sciences. If we want to resist becoming a (human) science we need to reassert the playfulness of representation and interpretation. That means acknowledging the place of games and game theory in our practice. In this component of the panel Geoffrey Rockwell will make the case for building games and playing them as a way of modeling and then reflecting on our activities that is in the spirit of the humanities. Geoffrey Rockwell was invited to sit in on the design of the Game and will provide a concluding presentation that reflects on the witnessed process of developing Ivanhoe as itself a recognizable form of research that combines the play of the symposium with the implementation demands of digital practice.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 2003 Geoffrey Rockwell et al. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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    • Rockwell, G., (2003). Serious play at hand: Is gaming serious research in the humanities?. Text Technology, 12(2), 89-99.
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