The lusory attitude is the psychological attitude required of a player entering into the play of a game. To adopt a lusory attitude is to accept the arbitrary rules of a game in order to facilitate the resulting experience of play.
The term was coined by Bernard Suits in the book The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia, first published in 1978, in which Suits defines the playing of a game as “the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles”. He also offers a fuller definition:
- “To play a game is to attempt to achieve a specific state of affairs [prelusory goal], using only means permitted by rules [lusory means], where the rules prohibit use of more efficient in favour of less efficient means [constitutive rules], and where the rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity [lusory attitude].”
Games according to Raph Koster http://www.raphkoster.com/2013/04/16/playing-with-game/
Defining a game is more complex than it sounds. Raph Koster (ref Theory of Fun) contrasts the formal game, a construct that has a series of rules designed for others to follow, and…and play. However, he also suggests that ‘We cannot,ever say what a game is.., because it is different for everyone. To one, the stock market is a game. ….To another, a piece of interactive fiction, and to another, a game of chess. He suggests that most activities could be considered a game if they are approached with a lusory attitude. Bernard Suits called this “a lusory attitude.”
The term ‘Play’ can be defined as an ‘exercise or activity for amusement or recreation’ or however with the advent of serious games
Some people associate “play” with freedom, flexibility, lack of rules. But it is perhaps better to think of “unstructured play” as actually being about manyrules, tons and tons of them, many unstated, often changing on the fly; and “structured play” as being about fewer rules, clearly stated. Calvinball is unstructured; Nomic, funny enough, is highly structured. Both are fertile fields for play.
However some might consider life itself to be a ‘game’ with more complex rules and so the definition of a game and play is subjective.