Virtual Bodies in Virtual Worlds

A phenomenology of play in video games

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s project in Phenomenology of Perception is to overcome what he calls the classical prejudices (1–93)—mostly, the belief in an objective world—by calling for a return to a proper description of phenomena. This can only be done by putting our unquestioned belief in an objective world aside. This leads to the discovery that the body, as an ambiguous and undetermined being, is our fundamental way of being in the world, and that all consciousness is perceptual. I will use this methodology to undergo a phenomenology of play, and describe the experience of playing a video game. Hopefully this will shed light on experiences of play considered marginal today. Continue Reading