Tuesday, February 11, 2003
More evidence of playfulness on the web
Milk and Cookies, first in my "Blogs o'Fun," has a classification for certain forms of web-playfulness it calls "Time Wasters." "Time Wasters, in deed," I say in a tone of scoffish irony, I find this collection to be one of the most significant testimonials to the power of the Internet as a vehicle for nurturing new forms of playfulness.
Witness Kaleidoscope, a virtual, design-your-own kaleidoscope. There's no point to it (which, as you can see from my collection of "pointless games," is one of my central criteria for optimizing playfulness). But there's surprise and beauty available with almost every click and drag.
And then there's the Letter Project, similar in playful purposelessness (cf. "The Purpose of Purposelessness" in my "The Well-Played Game") to the Human Clock. The Human Clock displays the time with pictures of people-holding-numbers. With the Letter Project, you type in a word or phrase and see it displayed in a montage of images of people-holding-letters.
Not to mention the fine art of Money Oragami or the meditative wonders available to those who pop the Perpetual Bubblewrap. (Oops. Apparently, I did mention them.)
These things are silly, useless, but, in my view, not at all what I'd call "time-wasters." Rather, they are most accurately and inexplicably described as belonging to that special realm of human activities that we most clearly, consistently, and not necessarily rationally call "fun."