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The player as hedonist: the problem of enjoyment

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Abstract:

This article discusses the potential for using old approaches in new ways in order to understand the pleasure of virtual worlds, particularly game-worlds. Discussing the common explanations of why we like games, the article attempts to show how these are mostly reductive and too simplistic to open up a deeper understanding of not only the seductive power of games, but also the potential ethical philosophy of gaming. Viewing the player as a person who plays for pleasure is almost banal, but acknowledging that this makes the inhabitant of the game-world a person with a particular ethical viewpoint activates the philosophy of hedonism, and perhaps most particularly the second-order desire. The debates around this philosophy are re-vitalized by the way people participate in constructed worlds from desire and not necessity and from the discussions around cheating and exploits, at the same time as they bring to game-world research a wider understanding of the complexity of player pleasure.

Keywords: attraction; flow; hedonism; multiplayer; players; pleasure

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jgvw.2.2.105_1

Affiliations: Volda University College.

Publication date: August 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds focuses on theoretical and applied, empirical, critical, rhetorical, creative, economic and professional approaches to the study of electronic games across platforms and genres as well as ludic and serious online environments.
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