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Beyond the digital divide: An ecological approach to gameplay

Conference paper
Authors Jonas Linderoth
Published in Think Design Play: The fifth international conference of the Digital Research Association (DIGRA)
Publication year 2011
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Keywords Gameplay, Ecological psychology, Affordances, Digital games, Non-digital games
Subject categories Psychology, Pedagogy, Sociology


This paper outlines a framework for understanding gameplay from the perspective of ecological psychology. According to this perspective, gameplay can be described in terms of perceiving, acting on and transforming the affordances that are related to a game system or to other players in a game. Challenges in games have an emphasis on perceiving suitable actions and/or performing suitable actions, often with emphasis on one aspect. For example, in many board games, strategy games and puzzle games, the challenge is to perceive appropriate affordances while in many sports, multiplayer shooter games, racing games, etc. the challenge is to use appropriate affordances. From this follows that the ecological approach to gameplay overrides the division of games as being digital and non-digital games.

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