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].”