The Player’s Power to Change the Game Book AUP

This book is published by Amsterdam University Press, as part of the Media Matters Series, in partnership with the University of Chicago Press.

The Player’s Power to Change the Game: Ludic Mutation (Summary)

In recent decades, what could be considered a gamification of the world has occurred, as the ties between games and activism, games and war, and games and the city grow ever stronger. In this book, Anne-Marie Schleiner explores a concept she calls ‘ludic mutation’, a transformative process in which the player, who is expected to engage in the preprogramed interactions of the game and accept its imposed subjective constraints, seizes back some of the power otherwise lost to the game itself. Crucially, this power grab is also relevant beyond the game because players then see the external world as material to be reconfigured, an approach with important ramifications for everything from social activism to contemporary warfare.


This book, and in an earlier version, doctoral dissertation, is the result of a few intersecting paths. I thank the artists, gamemakers, and activists around the globe, including former collaborators like Brody Condon, Joan Leandre, and Pierre Rahola, whose work originally inspired this project. And I am grateful to my insightful and intrepid supervisor, Prof. Dr. Mireille D. Rosello, who was ever able to discern the most salient points beneath the gamer-geek fixations and theoretical tangents, and for her offerings of new angles of analysis. I also thank my mother Roberta Louise Schleiner (nee Gittings) who taught me the value of critical thinking and feminism at a young age.


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