Ludosity, Radical Contextualism And a New Games History: Pleasure, Truth and Deception in the Mid-20th Century London Arcade

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Abstract

This paper offers a social history of funfairs and arcades in mid-20th century urban England. Critiquing existing histories of games for often neglecting players and the specific locales in which games are played, it draws on both new cinema history and cultural studies’ conception of ‘radical contextualism’ to outline what the paper describes as a game’s ludosity. Ludosity, the paper proposes, condition or quality of game experience as shaped by a range of agents, institutions and contexts. Utilising mass observation records, it offers a detailed analysis of the ways in which social interactions influenced ludic experiences of pinball tables and crane machines and posits that games history needs to centre players in order to fully conceptualize games in history.
LanguageEnglish
JournalGames and Culture
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Aug 2019

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Pleasure
Cranes
Deception
History
Motion Pictures
Interpersonal Relations
history
England
Observation
social history
cultural studies
cinema
experience
Contextualism
Arcade
interaction

Cite this

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title = "Ludosity, Radical Contextualism And a New Games History: Pleasure, Truth and Deception in the Mid-20th Century London Arcade",
abstract = "This paper offers a social history of funfairs and arcades in mid-20th century urban England. Critiquing existing histories of games for often neglecting players and the specific locales in which games are played, it draws on both new cinema history and cultural studies’ conception of ‘radical contextualism’ to outline what the paper describes as a game’s ludosity. Ludosity, the paper proposes, condition or quality of game experience as shaped by a range of agents, institutions and contexts. Utilising mass observation records, it offers a detailed analysis of the ways in which social interactions influenced ludic experiences of pinball tables and crane machines and posits that games history needs to centre players in order to fully conceptualize games in history.",
keywords = "Games history, Social history, Arcades, Pinball, Cultural Studies",
author = "Benjamin Litherland",
year = "2019",
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day = "19",
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issn = "1555-4120",
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AB - This paper offers a social history of funfairs and arcades in mid-20th century urban England. Critiquing existing histories of games for often neglecting players and the specific locales in which games are played, it draws on both new cinema history and cultural studies’ conception of ‘radical contextualism’ to outline what the paper describes as a game’s ludosity. Ludosity, the paper proposes, condition or quality of game experience as shaped by a range of agents, institutions and contexts. Utilising mass observation records, it offers a detailed analysis of the ways in which social interactions influenced ludic experiences of pinball tables and crane machines and posits that games history needs to centre players in order to fully conceptualize games in history.

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