Ludefaction: fracking of the radical imaginary

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This article presents the idea of ludefaction as the negative underside of ludification. The project of transforming human practices into games to ‘‘enhance’’ their performance is related to new management and technology design practices that have been dominant since the 1980s. Studies suggest that this is an ambivalent process through which work comes to seem more attractive even as it makes more intense and invasive demands on its human subject. Beyond this, however, ludefaction grasps the way in which gamifi- cation intensifies exploitation in the, probably unprecedented, development of allowing power to tap into the radical imaginary, that is, the facility we have for creating an alternative, better world. A comparison of games with relational art is presented to clarify the stakes and suggest negative principles for progressive game design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-524
Number of pages17
JournalGames and Culture
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • gamification
  • Neo-liberalism
  • new spirit of capitalism
  • computer games
  • technology
  • critical theory


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