Playing on the edge

Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Everything gets more interesting, challenging, or intense the closer it gets to the edge, and so does play. How edgy can play become and still be play? Based on Huizinga’s notion of play, this chapter discusses how a wide range of playful activities pushes the boundaries of play in different and specific ways. For instance, gambling for money, party and drinking games, professional play and show sports, art installations, violent and military propaganda computer games, pervasive/mobile gaming, live-action role playing, festivals, performances, and games such as Ghosting and Planking. It is argued that in concert with a number of characteristics that mark an activity as play, play is essentially a subjective perspective and individual decision of the player. Huizinga calls this attitude the play spirit, which informs a player’s actions and is in turn sustained by them. Edgy digital or mobile games do not challenge this position, but make it more obvious than traditional games that play is not only an activity, but a concept.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlayful Disruption of Digital Media
EditorsDaniel Cermak-Sassenrath
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-1889-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-1891-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018
SeriesGaming Media and Social Effects


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