Play Anything

  • by Ian Bogost
  • Narrated by Jonathan Yen
  • 9 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities. The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games.
Play Anything reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations. Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of 11 players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal; Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning.
Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances - like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints - as sources for meaning and joy. We can "play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears. Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed - and enjoyed - when we first impose boundaries on ourselves.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great book, bad title

I did not find in this book what I was expecting from the title.
It's well written and interesting. I touches briefly on boredom and limits. Much of the time is passed criticizing irony. I would say that irony, instead of play, is the main focus of this book.
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- Denis Lebel

or become a monk

Being satisfied with everything for what it is and what we are may that the joy out of the things that matter and send it out in the darkness only to return to us as something else.
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- Michael logal

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-13-2016
  • Publisher: Recorded Books