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Free Play in the Age of Electracy

Jan Rune Holmevik

Publication Year: 2012

A proposal that electracy--the special skills needed to navigate and understand our digital world--can be developed through play.

Published by: The MIT Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword: Becoming Electrate

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pp. ix-xvi

Inter/vention emanates from a moment of insight. Jan Holmevik became who he was already through a realization, like the Buddhist monk in the riddle who meets himself coming down the mountain. The terminology used in Inter/vention to discuss identity experience (mystory, widescope, punctum, avatar) ...

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Preface: MyStory

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pp. xvii-xxii

I have been a gamer for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, my family always played games, and every Christmas there would be a new board game under the tree. I can fondly remember such titles as Othello, Mastermind, Cluedo, Scotland Yard, Ludo, and many others. ...

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pp. xxiii-xxiv

This book represents a long and exciting ad/venture in electrate learning for me, and it is appropriate here at the outset to acknowledge those who have most inspired and influenced my work. My friend, colleague, and dissertation advisor, Espen Aarseth, was the first person to show me that there could be an academic career ...

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1. Widescope

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pp. 1-22

I am somewhat like an amphibian—one foot on land, one in the water—regarding my stance in relation to the rhetorical landscape on either side of the stream of game studies, itself flowing only by virtue of language, code, and embodied play—only by virtue of the bridge. ...

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2. Hacker Noir

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pp. 23-54

The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss provides us with an excellent starting point for our journey into the ludic dimensions of electrate invention. In his well-renowned work, The Savage Mind from 1966, Lévi-Strauss introduces us to the bricoleur, which he says is a term that describes someone who “works with his hands ...

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3. Choral Code

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pp. 55-90

In Heuretics, Ulmer is concerned with the concept of place and its relation to invention. He observes that in historical works and accounts of technological innovation, the metaphor of the frontier is often evoked as a means to describe the site of invention and the creative activities that take place there. ...

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4. Venture

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pp. 91-114

In chapters 2 and 3, the aim has been to trace (and conduct) a history of invention, specifically electrate invention with an eye toward hacking electracy in the process. In these next two chapters, I venture into what Stuart Moulthrop calls “intervention” (Moulthrop 2005). Inventing electracy means intervention in invention itself. ...

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5. Intervention

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pp. 115-136

The MUD was a unique hacker technology, one that did not exist prior to being invented by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw in 1979, and one that could not have existed if it were not for the evolutionary hacker development model. Clearly, a venture (ad/venture) had become an invention, and my contributions became an intervention. ...

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6. Ludic Ethics

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pp. 137-152

No doubt the pairing of ludology and ethics can be examined along the lines of violence, morality, and problematic virtual social interactions, as scholars such as Miguel Sicart have done in his book, The Ethics of Computer Games (Sicart 2009). Such studies are necessary and significant. ...

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7. Burning Chrome

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pp. 153-160

Why do some people choose not to play games? In A Casual Revolution, Jesper Juul explores this question. He says, “Many video games ask for a lot in order to be played, so it is not surprising that some people do not play video games. Video games ask for a lot more than other art forms. ...

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Afterword: The Frog Critic

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pp. 161-164

I never know what to say when people ask me, “What’s your favorite game?” I’m bad with favorites. But it’s an easy half-personal, half-business question that interviewers and auditorium audiences like to throw as a softball. It gives them a sense of their interlocutor. It’s polite conversation. ...


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pp. 165-168


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pp. 169-182


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pp. 183-204

E-ISBN-13: 9780262301657
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262017053

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Mass media -- Philosophy.
  • Digital media -- Philosophy.
  • Mass media -- Technological innovations.
  • Mass media and technology.
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