The Reality of Imagination

A moment that didn’t make it into the final video version of a microethological study of play across a Real-Time Strategy game (Age of Mythologies) and a paddling pool:

One of the children (J), on being told by me (S) that he couldn’t use a

footpump in the paddling pool to suck up and squirt water (as an analogue of the computer game’s ‘god powers’):

J: What are we supposed to use then?

S: Your imagination?

J: How are we meant to use our imagination on something that’s meant to be real?… We’re meant to try, we’re trying to do it so that it’s real.

Mini-games, monsters & Mr Happy: a video essay on virtual and actual play, Audio-Visual Thinking: a journal of academic video, no. 3 (The real, the virtual, and the fictional), Sept 2011.