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Last time on PlayTime, we trudged into the deep, dark void of boredom with resident professor-at-play, dr. Sybille Lammes! Our question: when was the last time you were bored playing a game? Our own answers spanned existential crises in AC: Valhalla, reciprocal tourism in Pokemon Go, leaving the paradise of build mode in the Sims 4, and the dreaded fishing mechanic in Valheim–proving that boredom can’t be restricted to just one genre or setting. 

Our text for this week’s stream, Interpassivity and the Joy of Delegated Play in Idle Games by Sonia Fizek, delved into the tensions and connections at work–at play?–in navigating playful behavior, the relationship between active and passive play, and various elements of gameplay that turn something fun into something boring. We talked about ChatGPT as interpassive actors, boredom as a consequences of “knowing too much”, and how game designers keep the balance between under- and overstimulating their audiences. To examine this balance (or lack thereof, perhaps), we played (the) Gnorp Apologue, a beautiful, meditative game that Angus found incredibly boring and that the rest of us treated like an ASMR-like guided relaxation experience. In between deeply grounded academic observations, we had to interrogate the game’s treatment of worker rights and industrialization, and got incredibly emotionally attached to the game’s “lil guys”. Curious to meet our gnorp-friends? Watch the highlight video below!

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