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Zero-Player Games - What We Talk about When We Talk about Players

Conference contribution
Authors Staffan Björk
Jesper Juul
Published in The Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, Madrid 2012
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords games, zero-player games, players
Subject categories Other information technology


Do games need people? If so, what is it that makes people important to games? It can seem self-evident that games are artifacts designed to be used by players, but in this paper we will discuss the paradoxical idea of zero-player games. We do not wish to argue against the study of players, but we believe that many common conceptions of players are too vague to be useful. Based on the examination of zero-player games, we provide five subcomponents to help in the understanding of the player concept. Expressed as questions, these are: Is this a human player? Does the player have agency? Does the player play over time? Does the player appear to have intentionality? Does the player exhibit aesthetic preferences?

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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