I Fought the Law: Transgressive Play and The Implied Player

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This paper is an attempt to understand Game Studies through the contested notion of the “player” both inside and outside “the game object” – that is the object that game users perceive and respond to when they play. Building on Hans-Georg Gadamer’s notion of games as a subject that “masters the players”, the paper will go beyond the traditional split between the social sciences’ real players and the aesthetics/humanities critical author-as-player, and present a theory of the player and player studies that incorporates the complex tensions between the real, historical player and the game’s human components. Since games are both aesthetic and social phenomena, a theory of the player must combine both social and aesthetic perspectives to be successful. The tension between the humanities and the social sciences over who controls the idea of the player can be found mirrored also in the struggle between the player as individual and the “player function” of the game. Transgressive play, the struggle against the game’s ideal player, far from being a marginal, romanticized phenomenon, is the core expression of this struggle.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play
Publication date2007
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventDiGRA 2007 – “Situated Play” - University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 24 Sept 200728 Sept 2007


ConferenceDiGRA 2007 – “Situated Play”
LocationUniversity of Tokyo


  • Implied player
  • Transgressive play


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