© 2018

Playful Disruption of Digital Media

  • Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath

Part of the Gaming Media and Social Effects book series (GMSE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Learning, Reflection and Identity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Tom Penney, Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller
      Pages 29-46
    3. Chris Crawford
      Pages 65-74
    4. Pedro Luis Cembranos
      Pages 75-83
  3. System, Society, Empowerment

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 85-85
    2. Michael Nitsche
      Pages 99-112
    3. Amani Naseem, William Drew, Viktor Bedö, Sidsel Hermansen
      Pages 113-139
    4. Eva Mattes, Franco Mattes
      Pages 141-147
  4. Mis-use, Struggle, Control

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 149-149
    2. Samuel Van Ransbeeck
      Pages 151-166
    3. Chad Habel, Andrew Hope
      Pages 167-180
    4. Mathias Fuchs
      Pages 181-191
  5. Place, Reality, Meaning

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 211-211
    2. Maggie Buxton
      Pages 213-222

About this book


This book starts with the proposition that digital media invite play and indeed need to be played by their everyday users. Play is probably one of the most visible and powerful ways to appropriate the digital world. The diverse, emerging practices of digital media appear to be essentially playful: Users are involved and active, produce form and content, spread, exchange and consume it, take risks, are conscious of their own goals and the possibilities of achieving them, are skilled and know how to acquire more skills. They share a perspective of can-do, a curiosity of what happens next? Play can be observed in social, economic, political, artistic, educational and criminal contexts and endeavours. It is employed as a (counter) strategy, for tacit or open resistance, as a method and productive practice, and something people do for fun.

The book aims to define a particular contemporary attitude, a playful approach to media. It identifies some common ground and key principles in this novel terrain. Instead of looking at play and how it branches into different disciplines like business and education, the phenomenon of play in digital media is approached unconstrained by disciplinary boundaries. The contributions in this book provide a glimpse of a playful technological revolution that is a joyful celebration of possibilities that new media afford. This book is not a practical guide on how to hack a system or to pirate music, but provides critical insights into the unintended, artistic, fun, subversive, and sometimes dodgy applications of digital media.

Contributions from Chris Crawford, Mathias Fuchs, Rilla Khaled, Sybille Lammes, Eva and Franco Mattes, Florian 'Floyd' Mueller, Michael Nitsche, Julian Oliver, and others cover and address topics such as reflective game design, identity and people's engagement in online media, conflicts and challenging opportunities for play, playing with cartographical interfaces, player-emergent production practices, the re-purposing of data, game creation as an educational approach, the ludification of society, the creation of meaning within and without play, the internalisation and subversion of roles through play, and the boundaries of play.


Cartographical Interfaces Entertainment Computing Interactive Environments Playful Subversion Political Art Game Reflective Game Design Technoculture Transformative Disruption Digital Mapping Game Design Ludification of Society Software Pirating

Editors and affiliations

  • Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Computer Games ResearchIT University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

About the editors

Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath is Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU), and member of the Center for Computer Games Research ( and the Pervasive Interaction Technology Lab (PitLab, Daniel writes, composes, codes, builds, performs and plays. He is interested in artistic, analytic, explorative, critical and subversive approaches to and practices of play. Discourses he is specifically interested in, are play and materiality, play and learning, and critical play.

Bibliographic information