Play, the message

16. In 1981 video game machines were banned in the Philippines; not banning content in particular, but banning the act of playing itself. This implies that games as a medium are a powerful source of influence.

23. From early to mid 20th century, boardgames were designed and used by woman’s suffrage promoters to prompt women into fighting for the vote, and also to teach them how to fund that struggle.

26. “It is possible to use ready-made commercial games for ‘serious’ educational purposes, even though they may not have been conceived as such.”

29. “aesthetics does also overlap with rhetorics, because beauty can also be used for communicating effectively.”

39. Games are a subset of play – where not all play is a game, but all games fit into the category of play. Alternatively, play is also of games, a facet of the larger picture and a primary method for understanding them.
In the first case, ‘game’ is an activity, and in the second it is an object.

55. “That balance between serious and trivial consequences may be behind the thrill experienced by players pushing themselves a bit beyond the comfort zone.”

121. “Verb sets” refer to the predesigned set of actions a player can make in a game. The trick of most games is to reduce the verb set as much as possible, as this is preferable to both the game designer and the player. This is made more apparent in the combination of the ‘go’ (movement) verb with verbs like ‘pick up’ or ‘open door’ – so the player picks up objects simply by walking over them. Within games, these verb sets are often what defines a charcter, introducing their strengths and limitations.

^ This is a different example of the game mechanic idea ‘depth vs. complexity’ where maximum depth is required with minimum complexity.

129. “From a systematic point of view, a game is a challenge that ‘must’ be solved.” Consequences of this mean that games “define an in-game moral system stating what is good and bad in terms of goals.”
Essentially, what will make you succeed is good, and what will cause you to fail is bad. If an action is inconsequential to winning then it is not given precedence as good or bad; it is simply an action one can do.”

133. “…interesting case of a game that is unwinnable but still uses unobtainable goals within the game in order to make a statement.”
Such as September 12th: A toy world (2003) which involves a war where you shoot missiles in order to kill all of the terrorists. However, the missiles are off-kilter and every time you hit a civilian (which is inevitable) the deceased’s family mourns them and then become terrorists themselves. In this way the terrorists increase exponentially until it gets to the point where the game is just impossible, for there are too many terrorists to even consider killing.

171. “Rules are not enough for understanding games; some aspects can only be learnt by doing it.”

177. Depending on your mindset, social status, personality etc. following the same set of rules can lead to entirely different game performances. i.e. the sexualisation of Twister.



REF: Frasca, G (2007). Play the Message: play, video game and the rhetoric. (Doctoral dissertation, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark). Retrieved from


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