Posted by: Montola | June 21, 2010

Toward a Ludic Architecture

Some more light summer reading. Toward a Ludic Architecture: The Space of Play and Games by Steffen P. Walz: basically an edited and revised version of his doctoral dissertation. Here’s what the book tells about itself:

Whether we think of a board game, an athletic competition in a stadium, a videogame, playful social networking on the World Wide Web, an Alternate Reality Game, a location-based mobile game, or any combination thereof: Ludic activities are, have, and take place in or at, spaces.

Toward a Ludic Architecture is a pioneering publication, architecturally framing play and games as human practices in and of space. Filling the gap in literature, Steffen P. Walz considers game design theory and practice alongside architectural theory and practice, asking: how are play and games architected? What kind of architecture do they produce and in what way does architecture program play and games? What kind of architecture could be produced by playing and gameplaying?

Toward a Ludic Architecture is a must-read for analyzing and designing play and games from an architectural standpoint. Such a contribution is particularly applicable in an era when games extend into physical, designed space that is increasingly permeated by devices, sensors, and information networks, allowing for rules and fictions to superimpose our everyday environments. Including a maze-like, episodic, and critical discussion of interweaving “play-grounds,” Toward a Ludic Architecture is a playful look at the conceptual space of play and games.

I still don’t have time to read pervasive games stuff at the very moment, but the book looks really, really thorough. Especially the beef section on archaeology of ludic architectures that analyzes some 35 kinds of playgrounds — ranging from campuses to outer space — looks intriguing. Certainly a discussion long overdue.

As a personal note, I’m happy to see that some things from the Nordic larp books have made their way to the bibliography as well.

Published by ETC-Press, the book is available online for free — but I recommend either downloading a free pdf or buying a paperback from

Steffen P. Walz coauthored the REXplorer case for Pervasive Games.


  1. […] The rest is here: Toward a Ludic Architecture « Pervasive Games: Theory and Design […]

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