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August 2007

Ultimate Game Player Survey

International Hobo Ltd is pleased to announce it's new study into patterns in the game playing audience. Following the success of the company's seminal DGD1 model, the subject of the acclaimed book 21st Century Game Design, we are now conducting a new survey in more detail than the original, from which we will develop a new DGD2 model of the gaming audience.

To take part in the survey, click here, or upon the Survey link in the site menu. As an added incentive, you could win the game of your choice (terms and conditions apply) just for taking part!

We encourage everyone to pass the relevant link onto anyone who might be interested. Thanks for your support!

Roger Caillois' Patterns of Play

First published on Chris Bateman’s blog, Only A Game on 26th May 2006

In his 1958 book Les Jeux et Les Hommes (usually translated as Man, Play and Games), the noted sociologist and intellectual Roger Caillois introduced a terminology for considering patterns in games. He used the term 'game' in a very wide manner, applying it to all play activities. This is a partial consequence of his native language, French, where the term 'jeux' and 'jouer' express the concepts of both play and game in English.

Caillois' interest in games was sociological: the second half of Les Jeux et Les Hommes is a fascinating account of how societies relate to the patterns of play he identified, and is fascinating reading. However, the principle value of Caillois' work for modern game design is that his framework for considering games provides us a unique perspective for examining play.

The term 'patterns of play' was not used by Caillois, but I have coined it to provide a means to refer to the system. Caillois was keen to observe that it is not intended as a taxonomy.

The elements of the system are as follows. Firstly, there are four patterns of play:

Additionally, Caillois suggests that games can be considered to lie at various points on an axis between free creativity and rule-bound complexity:

Caillois' built upon prior work by Johan Huizinga, considered one of the founders of modern cultural history.