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We Used to Win, We Used to Lose, We Used to Play: Simulacra, Hypo-Ludicity and the Lost Art of Losing

Author:

Steven Conway

Swinburne University of Technology
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Abstract

This article is concerned with the modern design of digital games, in particular their formulation as experiences for consumers rather than players. Utilizing Baudrillard’s concept of the simulacra as an analytical probe, this article discusses the simulations of winning, losing and playing evident in today’s digital game products. Building upon the author’s previous work, which introduced the twin concepts of hyper- and contra-ludicity to game studies, this article argues that the recent invasion of hypo-ludicity into game design sets a dangerous precedent for digital games as games as opposed to entertainment media. While hyper-ludicity empowers and contra-ludicity challenges, hypoludicity is characterized by its emptiness; of empowerment, of challenge, of agency. Anchoring the discussion in analyses of popular game systems, design features and mechanics, the article ultimately illustrates the prevalence of simulacra within today’s digital game products, and how this undermines the very notion of winning, losing and even playing.
Keywords: lose game hypo-ludicity play simulacra win 
How to Cite: Conway, S., (2012). We Used to Win, We Used to Lose, We Used to Play: Simulacra, Hypo-Ludicity and the Lost Art of Losing. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 9(1), pp.27–46. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.147
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Published on 01 Oct 2012.
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