The Activity of Play

Research output: Contribution to conference - NOT published in proceeding or journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


This paper presents Activity Theory as a framework for understanding the action of playing games with the intention of building a foundation for the creation of new game design tools and methods. Activity Theory, an epistemological framework rooted in Soviet psychology of the first half of the 20th century, has a long history and was only recently applied to HCI (Nardi 1996) and games (P. Barr et al. 2007), where Barr succeeded in situating play in the Activity Theory framework. Based on his work to establish a framework for analysing systems of values in games, this paper maps different levels of interaction with games to concepts of Activity Theory in order to be able to design gameplay on those levels more effectively. The authors think that Activity Theory can provide a foundation for a new theoretical framework for game design.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2 Aug 2016
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2016
EventDiGRA/FDG: The First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG - The School of Arts, Media and Computer Games, Abertay University, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Aug 20165 Aug 2016
Conference number: 1


LocationThe School of Arts, Media and Computer Games, Abertay University
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • activity theory
  • game design
  • games
  • videogames


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