Do we play games or do games play us? Is non-human play a mere paradox or the future of gaming? And what do video games have to do with quantum theory? In my talk, I will engage with those and many more daunting questions, embarking on a ludic journey through a variety of play formats and practices, which require surprisingly little human action. The driving concept I want to introduce in the talk is that of distance or dis-play. It opens the possibility to rethink computer mediated play and challenge the common perception of video games as inherently interactive. And so, to play at a distance is to be at a distance from an active and direct moment of play, to delegate the immediate action towards the machine, participating in an algorithmic spectacle instead. To dis-play is also to participate as one of possible agents in a distributed algorithmic entanglement. Agency, as I will argue, is not a property a player has but a force distributed within and across the ludic entanglement.
Sonia Fizek is a digital wanderer and a ludic thinker; on a more formal note, a digital games and media theorist. She is also an associate editor of the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, a leading international journal publishing academic work in the field of game studies. Sonia is a professor at the Institute of Game Development and Research, Cologne.