10-1 | Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games

Book Review

Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games

Ian Bogost
New York, NY: Basic Books, 2016. Preface, acknowledgments, notes, and index. 266 pp. $26.99 cloth. ISBN: 9780465096503

by James D. Ivory

First Paragraph:

Ian Bogost, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and contribut-ing editor at the Atlantic, takes no half measures in his treatises on games and play. For several years, the multitalented Bogost has been a leading voice in the critique of game culture and the digital games industry through forums ranging from academic books to popular-press articles and interviews to keynote talks to his own digital game products. The latter have a reputation for making points by satirizing their subject matter with their mechanics, such as Bogost’s Cow Clicker, which lampooned the repetitive reward systems of popular social media-based games by structuring its play around the task of repeatedly clicking an image of a cow. Bogost’s academic and popular writings are both confrontational. His take in the Atlantic on the phenomenon of “gamification” (a term for adding game-like elements, such as points or competition tables, to nongame activities, particularly in a commercial context) was titled, “Gamification is Bullshit” (2011).