My personal definition
Posted on 03/04/2012playfulness is interacting with your environment in a way that provides fun (joyful expression) To engage in playful behaviour, one needs to be confronted with a ludic activity, and accept an invitation to join in. Play is voluntary, when it’s not, it ceases to be playful at once. When engaged in ludic activity a player will get more and more immersed in the playful behaviour, to the extreme of being totally immersed in the activity, which I’d like to call the ‘playful state’. In this playful state a player is receptive to everything in his surrounding, reacting to the impulses with the sole purpose of maintaining or increasing the pleasure of the activity. In this sense play clearly exists outside of ordinary life, and the activity aims to uphold itself. In my research I am curious to the phenomena of ‘transformative play’, meaning: to engage in playful behaviour within ludic activity (outside ordinary life) that influences your personal behaviour (inside ordinary life). I see different methods for achieving this effect. The first would be to simulate real-life encounters and activities within a ludic activity. By engaging with the ludic activity a player will show behaviour that might trigger a reflection on his behaviour within his ‘ordinary’ life. A second method to achieve transformative play would be to cross the boundaries, or magic circle, of the ludic activity and traverse into the realm of ordinary life. By fading the border between play and ordinary life a player might gain the insight that play is not only useful for it’s own sake, but is can also be applied to day-to-day activites to complete them with more joy than before, improving the quality of life.
I’m aware that the last few sentences contain some assumptions on the social value of playfulness. By stating this I see the need for asking the question: How can I test the (transformative) effects of any ludic activity?