Or pre-proofread version here on the blog.
Games borrow ceaselessly from the past to constitute themselves. This locates the medium at the heart of our contemporary obsession with how to engage the past and the “real.” In tethering digital hyperreality to the horizon of history, myth, and ritual, games generate a disavowed and subjunctive engagement with a sense of “real enough.” They thus resemble Victor Turner’s liminoids: autotelic, bounded experiences of leisure that cultivate accepting yet playful attitudes against the “real enough” on offer. This commercialized bricolage is not dismissible as inauthentic simulacrum. Rather, such games demonstrate the ways in which new media are recalibrating our modes of engagement with the real. This article analyzes three key aspects of liminoid games: (1) techniques of reappropriation during production, (2) rules and expectations of engagement with the past and the “real” that games offer, and (3) emergent ways in which player communities, discourses, and productions recalibrate those politics of engagement.