Glass Bead Game - American Style


IVANHOE is a pedagogical environment for interpreting textual and other cultural materials. It is designed to foster critical awareness of the methods and perspectives through which we understand and study humanities documents. An online collaborative playspace, IVANHOE exposes the indeterminacy of humanities texts to role-play and performative intervention by students at all levels.
The game took on a certain allure when a posting to Humanist revealed some new possibilities for intellectual recreation ... This excerpt below from the description posted to Humanist reminds me of the Glass Bead Game, especially since in its latest version the Ivanhoe Game can incorporate multimedia.
The Ivanhoe Game can be played on any type of cultural object or topic. In Ivanhoe, players assume roles and generate criticism by pretending to be characters or voices relevant to their topic and making moves from those perspectives. We think of these moves as interventions — a text or work is not stable but, rather, dynamic and ever subject to interpretation by its readers. Furthermore, these interventions are reflective and deliberate: they are "self-conscious acts of interpretation," as Scott [Bailey] so concisely and perfectly puts it. Ivanhoe thus provides a way of delving into a subject while also maintaining a firm focus on the players themselves.
From a posting by Stephanie Kingsley to Humanist Discussion Group Vol. 27, No. 1009.

I was reminded of a passage in a book about games. The passage in question was about open games and the description nicely fits the activity of generating interpretations while role-playing.
[p. 135]
Precisely, Skepticus. I would define an open game generically as a system of reciprocally enabling moves whose purpose is the continued operation of the system. Then as you suggest, various species can be found within the larger class. Open athletic games, perhaps, would make up one such species, since all of the moves in such games would be bodily moves. Games of make-believe, then would make up another species, for in them all the moves would be dramatic performances. Heurschrecke thus correctly specified a game of make-believe as being 'a reciprocating system of role-performance maximization.'
From Bernard Suits The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia (Toronto: Univeristy of Toronto Press, 1978).

I remember a grade-school reader called Magic and Make-Believe. The Osborne Collection at the Toronto Public Library has a copy. I might just skip on down and see the copy there which is a gift donated by Myrna Levy.

And so for day 1164