Automation of play: theorizing self-playing games and post-human ludic agents

Sonia Fizek

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This article offers a critical reflection on automation of play and its significance for the theoretical inquiries into digital games and play. Automation has become an ever more noticeable phenomenon in the domain of video games, expressed by self-playing game worlds, self-acting characters, and non-human agents traversing multiplayer spaces. On the following pages, the author explores various instances of automated non-human play and proposes a post-human theoretical lens, which may help to create a new framework for the understanding of videogames, renegotiate the current theories of interaction prevalent in game studies, and rethink the relationship between human players and digital games.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-218
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Aesthetic of video games
  • Theory of video games
  • Automata
  • Automation of play
  • Self-playing games
  • Post-humanism


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