Friendship, Intimacy, and Play-by-Post Roleplaying

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Earlier this year, Shawn Dorey (2017) wrote a piece for First Person Scholar on play-by-post roleplaying (PBPRP), which is broadly defined as a form of text-based online roleplaying. In this activity, participants take on the role of specific characters and take turns contributing to the creation of a fictional world through narrative storytelling. Sometimes the world and characters are based on existing media, but all the writing is expected to be original. In her article on Livejournal roleplaying, Sarah Wanenchak (2010) provides a detailed description of PBPRP and observes that this kind of activity “is not a ‘game’ by the most traditional definition: there is no ultimate goal and no system of points, and the focus is on the creation and development of an ongoing story” (para. 18). Since, as she states, “[g]ameplay takes the form of written narrative in the style of traditional fiction[,]” this activity is often thought of as “collaborative writing” rather than playing a game (para. 18). However, Dorey sees the socialization involved in this type of roleplaying “as a form of metagaming” and argues that navigating through the rules, plot, and social hierarchies “functioned a lot more like playing a game than simply participating in collaborative writing” (para. 3). In short, Dorey argues that PBPRP is a game and that the contributors are players. Continue Reading

In the Shadow of Tomorrow

Huizinga on play before Homo Ludens

Review - In the Shadow of Tomorrow

Although many play scholars are familiar with Homo Ludens, it is not the first time Huizinga explicitly takes on the subject of play. As a prolific historian Huizinga wrote a significant number of books before Homo Ludens and play pops up in many of them. But nowhere is play examined more closely in these pre Homo Ludens works than the little read talk-turned-book, In the Shadow of Tomorrow (1936). Although play only really appears in one odd little chapter, “Puerility,” this short chapter provides a revealing glimpse into Huizinga’s pre­-Homo Ludens thinking on play. Continue Reading