play

01
Dec
2010

Unstructured Play Journey: Part 2

Posted by Cha

Labeling a blog post 'Part 1' was really asking for trouble. My brain likes to rebel at anything resembling an obligation. I've also had a bit of time to reflect on writing, and I get frustrated at how much time it takes to get better. I want to write faster, more playfully and prettier. And while we're at it, I'll have a dancing pony, thanks.

In the end I settle down and just get on with things again.

So, in Part 1 of my unstructured play journey I wrote about bringing a little bit of unstructured play to many things I do, including highly structured computer games. It's taken me a while to work out how important that is, and to stop fighting myself about it.

There is a second journey to explore, as I search for how games explore and facilitate unstructured play in a more deliberate way.

24
Oct
2010

Unstructured Play Journey: Part 1

Posted by Cha

It's generally assumed that computer games are playful, yet highly structured experiences. That's certainly fair comment -- there are set rules, mission structures, or goals to achieve. Games are won or lost, and rules can rarely be changed. Stories and events are often highly scripted and pre-determined, with at least partly set pacing.

Googling unstructured play brings up a lot of articles about the importance of a freeform style of play for kids, and the need to have time away from structured play like video games. I don't disagree, but of course it's not really that simple. Structured vs. unstructured play isn't a true binary option, it's just one way of looking at a wide spectrum of play. Still, I'll run with the distinction for now, because I think it leads some interesting places.

10
Oct
2010

Play in Progress

Posted by Cha

I'm insecure about works-in-progress. Whenever I'm working on something, part of me is constantly waiting for someone to tell me it's crap, or that I'm going about it the wrong way. It seems safer to put finished products up for judgement, and leave the procesesses and failed attempts a mystery.

I honestly like constructive criticism (I struggle with praise far more, because I can't learn much from it and it's hard to see the point). But in the past I've received a lot of the other kind of cricicism. Harsh, thoughtless words, often targeting unfinished elements rather than genuine mistakes. I didn't like being attacked, so I built defence mechanisms, and hid many ideas.

Yes, it's a silly thing to worry about and I could often benefit from feedback at an earlier stage, but some habits are ridiculously hard to break. I'm working on it. In the meantime, this can cause unexpected issues.