Yesterday I wrote on game and play from one perspective. Today I wish to look at it through the eyes of another philosophers called Deleuze and Guattari. Though very influential postmodern philosophers, there are not much studied in our seminary circles. Here game and play don’t have much different meanings. Virtual games are included in the purview of discussion. Basically the idea of game (from Huizinga) is compared with the concept of desire in Deleuze. The author of the book (Media after Deleuze) speaks of 2 characteristics for a game, which are

  1. Game should involve rules which says what could be and what couldn’t be done. Two puppies playing will have give playful nips -light bites that are not bites, but they are not not bites too. When they cross that lines, it no longer remains a game, but a fight. It is also the same in a match, where some amount of fooling, sledging is acceptable; but when it crosses some line (which itself could be dynamic), it can lead to violence. Even similar experiences are seen in the game of politics.
  2. A good game design must create enough smooth spaces that encourage and facilitate becoming an other. (In a virtual game, you become one of the character; it is a better game when you have more opportunities to become an other (character) in your unique style. Multiple persons playing the same character in the same game should have opportunities to become the character in their own unique way).

When the first point speaks of the rules/norms of the game, the second is more interested on the dynamism. An effective game designing should be able to lead from norms to dynamism and vice-versa. When we have the rules of cricket, an innovator like Dhoni comes up with an innovative shot ‘helicopter shot’; probably after many years, it can become a normal short. So that interplay is very common. But Deleuze speaks of the effectiveness of a game if it is able to create such smooth spaces for innovation and playfulness.

This could be applicable to other fields like politics, religion, culture and others where there is need for rules and innovations, and a gentle balance (dynamic one) can make game, politics, culture and religion more productive.

[I am indebted to the book Media After Deleuze by Tauel Harper and David Savat for most of the ideas].

A Jesuit interested to think and write; Loves philosophy, spirituality, politics…. Believes in God & well-being of all humans… Open to difference & newness..

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store