The theme of this special issue, “Theories of Well-Played,” reflects a new and exciting point for both the journal and the field of game studies. While the journal and the three previous Well-Played volumes
(Davidson, 2009; Davidson, 2010; Davidson, 2011) have contributed to the body of principled analyses of how gaming experiences are shaped by the designed elements of games, there is still much work to do regarding its theoretical underpinnings. What does “well-played” mean? And who is “well-played” for? Game studies’ unique mixture of approaches — designer discourses, rhetorical analysis, textual analysis, cultural studies, and applications — makes it appealing to step back and understand the ways that we, as academics and designers, can attempt to understand how a game can craft unique experiences for its players.
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