The Performance of Digital Play

  • Emma Westecott University of Wales, Newport


To date, games studies (the academic field that analyses videogames from a humanities perspective) has drawn from the fields of play theory, psychology, sociology, film studies, cyber culture, literary and media theory as well as visual anthropology to map its roots. This paper adds the field of performance theory to this family of disciplines in order to better understand the emergent and interdisciplinary field of games studies. These disciplines have hinted at the connection between the discourses surrounding play and aspects of performance and performativity. However, scholars have been less forthcoming in acknowledging the role of performance in play as a subject in its own right, worthy of study.

As a starting point to frame the phenomenology of digital play it is useful to look to core elements of a play experience. On the highest level these can be understood as the game object (which consists the game world and its rules), the player subject and the play act (the unifying action that creates a particular performance).

How to Cite
Westecott, Emma. 2008. “The Performance of Digital Play”. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts, August.