Monday, July 16, 2007

The Game

Ultimately, Games are devices for communication. When we engage in a game with another player we are, in effect, having a conversation. The language varies, but through this language we may express such traits as reciprocity, dominance, cooperation, competitiveness, coercion, commitment, focus, intellectual engagement, and occasionally physical exercise. The brilliant thing about games is that communication can take place at a very basic level only having learned the language of the game in a very short amount of time. A game may be based on a very simple set of rules such as hitting a ball with a stick until it gets into a specific hole. Like etiquette, game rules construct a defining framework through which people find the proper means to interact. While the rules for the game might be simple, people use this as groundwork for communication which ultimately develops into a highly complex interaction between the players. Thus, the game becomes a construct or framework which allows for communication to take place at a very basic level between people.

The game also serves to level the playing field for the players to communicate with each other. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences, and the game is a device which allows us to transcend our individual perspectives and work toward or against a common goal.
The winner of the game is the person who walks away with something more than they entered the game with. That may be knowledge, experience, or simply a new way to think about their interactions with people. The idea is to affect peoples everyday perceptions of their normal interactions that they may begin to both question those normal conventions, and begin to explore new avenues of communication.

Games become a very important component of interactive architectural works. Recent publications such as 4D Space, Responsive Environments, ia#1, and GameSetandMatch II have set out to define these unique interactions between people and interactive objects and virtual spaces. Games both inspire play and allow the user to engage architecture at a different level than simple occupation. The occupant becomes the participant as they engage and converse with the interactive game space.

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