Freedom and the Value of Games, Draft of August 17, 2017


Please do not cite without permission; comments welcome!

ABSTRACT: This essay explores the features in virtue of which games are valuable or worthwhile to play. The difficulty view of games holds that the goodness of games lies in their difficulty: by making activities more complex or making them require greater effort, they structure easier activities into more difficult, therefore more worthwhile, activities. I argue that a further source of the value of games is that they provide players with an experience of freedom, which they provide both as paradigmatically unnecessary activities and by offering opportunities for relatively unconstrained choice inside the “lusory” world that players inhabit.