The Twelve Propositions

The Twelve Propositions

Twelve Propositions from a Critical Play Perspective:

1. Values are everywhere,  designed into play and into games

2. The history of computed games has created certain types of interactions.

3. These technical constraints have limited what we think we can do today.

4. Innovation can come from prioritizing the human.

5. Unorthodox methods spur change.

6. Meaning in a game  comes from the feeling of responsibility.

7. A good game will teach you  one thing, so you can  learn another.  In educational circles,  ’far transfer’ is the holy grail  of learning technologies

8. Producing challenging work as an artist means that  you are willing to break the rules.

9. Games help those in a  polarized world take a  position and play out  the consequences.

10. Small change is good;  Grandiose promises do a lot of damage.

11. A lot of game design is about producing motivation:
proceed with caution.

12. Big shifts come from small incremental actions.  That’s systems thinking.

  • Brett Boessen
    Posted at 04:35h, 06 November

    Would you say a little more about the context in which these propositions arose?

  • mary
    Posted at 08:30h, 07 November

    Hi Brett,
    Sure! Since 2005, the lab has pursued a project called Values at Play. There are a bunch of publications on the project — check out the papers on and on A book on the project is forthcoming from MIT Press. Several of the propositions are more fully articulated in these documents. The propositions also come from research as documented in my book Critical Play.

    I recently gave talks in the US and in the Netherlands, outlining these 12 propositions. Video might appear online very soon. We’ll post a link here so you can get more context. Those who attended my talks asked me to post the propositions.

  • Pingback:This Week In Video Game Criticism: From Fumito Ueda To Skyrim Eating | Average Joe Gamers
    Posted at 14:30h, 08 November

    […] Flagnahan weblogs “The Twelve Propositions” about game titles at the Tilt Factor website. These “Twelve Propositions from a […]

  • Anna Lotko
    Posted at 21:56h, 03 December

    This is well articulated yet concise! Your propositions are particularly meaningful to me because they articulate a form of theory that is grounded in practice. Thank you for the inspiration.