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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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Chapter 3. Play

You can't design games if you don't understand play—and play is a complex and tricky human behavior. We dismiss it too readily as child's activity, and therefore something devoid of depth and richness, but in fact play extends far beyond the realm of the child and touches a wide range of human life. Appreciating the many facets of play is a vital first step in understanding game design.

The finest definition of play (and the most complete discussion of the subject) is to be found in Johan Huizinga's Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture (Beacon Press, 1986). Huizinga defines play as follows:

“A voluntary activity or occupation executed within certain fixed limits of time and place, according to rules freely accepted ...

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