If you wanted to make a syllabus for what readings would be on it? They don't need to be about games, only crucial for understanding them.

@jaranta Bernard de Koven’s “The Well-Played Game”, obviously. Maybe Hirschman’s “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty” or Sarah Ahmed’s “The Promise of Happiness” as off-the-wall choices to shake things up a bit?

@jaranta Sociology, not directly game related - but Exit, Voice, and Loyalty gave me some useful insights into gamer culture

@xldrkp I'm curious: what area of philosophy do you work in? And what did you appreciate about Reality is Broken?

@jaranta Sure. I work in ethics and informatics and try to figure out ethical implications of current technological trends like AI, Blockchain and decentralized internet approaches.

As a teacher a core value for me is playfulness which is not the same as gaming. I take the term from Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab and refer to Mitch Resnick on that. Reading the book by McGonigal was fun as it showed me how game design principles can get capitalized for gamification.

@xldrkp Did you know she opposes calling her work "gamification"? I think she prefers to talk about gameful/playful design.

@jaranta Yes, I know. I came across that book when I tried to understand how gamification and also nudging are being used in a wider scope than just games. Comes out that oftentimes psychological factors can be used for digital business models of all kinds.

May I ask what kind of books you have on your list from your perspective?

@xldrkp I've been focusing on shorter text in the hope of having some students actually read them. Here's what I've got from other people's recommendations:

Ahmed, S. (2010). Killing Joy: Feminism and the History of Happiness. Signs, 35(3), 571–594.

Lugones, M. (1987). Playfulness, “World”-Travelling, and Loving Perception. Hypatia, 2(2), 3–19.

Nguyen, C. T. (2020). Games: Agency as Art. New York: Oxford University Press.


Schiller, F. (1985). On the Aesthetic Education of Man: In a Series of Letters (E. M. Wilkinson & L. A. Willoughby, Eds.). Clarendon Press.

Smuts, A. (2005). Are Video Games Art? Contemporary Aesthetics, 3.

Suits, B. (1967). What Is a Game? Philosophy of Science, 34(2), 148–156.

Tavinor, G. (2008). Definition of Videogames. Contemporary Aesthetics, 6.


Tavinor, G. (2011). Video Games as Mass Art. Contemporary Aesthetics, May 5.

Walton, K. L. (1991). Précis of Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 51(2), 379–382.

@jaranta Cool, thanks for that. Do you have anything like an open Zotero group with that list?

@xldrkp No yet, but if I make a syllabus out of these, I'll share it!

@jaranta Also: Young people are organizing for an international gamer union to fight back the great trusts. You will learn a lot about gaming in India and China.

@xldrkp Why do you think this is crucial for understanding game philosophy?

@jaranta This is the book by Resnick that keeps on inspiring my work:

Resnick, M. (2017). Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passions, Peers, and Play. MIT Press.

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