On Rules, Game Systems, and Practices

I keep getting back to the thematic of of rules and game systems (see Rules and Character Engagement in Role-play, Play and Its Role in the Mental Development of the Child (Vygotsky), Games and Philosophical Investigations).

I have started to read The logic of practice by Pierre Bourdieu, where he discusses difference of rules and practices. He sites Ziff who writes:

Consider the difference between saying “The trains is regularly two minutes late” and “As a rule, the train is two minutes late” … There is the suggestion in the latter case that that the train be two minutes late is as it were according with some policy or plan … Rules connect with plans and policies in a way that regularities do not … To argue that there must be rules in the natural language is like arguing that roads must be red if they correspond to red lines on a map[.] (p. 40.)

Bourdieu seem to be suggesting that practices are not rule governed (in a sense that
rules proceeds practices–one needs to build a theoretical model in order to construct an action). (I need to read the whole book before making more definitive judgment.)
Also, I have written in entry Games and Philosophical Investigations:

If the above premise is accepted, computer games do not have rules; mostly they implement systems that acts like the ‘natural laws’ (see also entry Are video games art). In this sense, there is qualitative difference between “rules” of, e.g., board and computer games[.]

These discussions makes me think that we need to think question about rules and their relatives more carefully. Especially, there might be different kinds of implications between categories of rules, implemented systems of computer games, and practices. E.g., Wittgenstein argues that rules are inseparable from possibility of breaking and following rules (1958).

Bourdieu, Pierre (1990). The logic of Practice. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Translated by Richard Nice.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1958) Philosophical investigations. Basil Blackwell & Mott, Ltd., 2nd edition. Translated by G.E.M. Anscombe.

Published by lankoski

Petri Lankoski, D.Arts, is a Associate Professor in Game Studies at the school of Communication, Media and IT at the Södertörn University, Sweden. His research focuses on game design, game characters, role-playing, and playing experience. Petri has been concentrating on single-player video games but researched also (multi-player) pnp and live-action role-playing games. This blog focuses on his research on games and related things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: