The Ontology of Gameplay: Toward a New Theory

Lasse Juel Larsen*, Bo Kampmann Walther

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The goal of the article is to present a new theory of the concept of gameplay, a term everybody uses without ample definitions and with little consistency. The aim is to provide an understanding of gameplay outlining the inherent complexities and convoluted layers of play and game which exist in the playing of a game. The theory is inspired by phenomenology and Martin Heidegger’s concept of Dasein. We do not intent to resolve the paradox that games are both objects and activities. Instead, we offer an analytical and methodological guide to the ontology of gameplay resting on an oscillating relationship between a double-layered structure of “here” and “there” in playing and gaming.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGames and Culture
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)609-631
    Publication statusPublished - 1. Sept 2020


    • gameplay
    • analysis
    • theory
    • play
    • computer game
    • phenomenology


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