Stasis and Stillness

Moments of Inaction in Games

  • Rainforest Scully-Blaker UC Irvine


This paper represents an initiatory investigation into moments of inaction in games. Two types of inaction are defined and discussed: stasis, which is inaction brought on by or through a game’s mechanics, and stillness, which is brought on by or through a game’s aesthetics. This paper uses gameplay examples from Until Dawn, Mario Party 2, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and World of Warcraft to demonstrate that moments of stasis and stillness can either be designed features of a game that produce a variety of affective experiences, or playful subversions that are injected into a game by the player. Identifying whether moments of stasis and stillness are designed or injected enables these two modes of inaction to be compared and positioned as part of a broader project that interrogates whether play can be a form of critique.

June 8, 2020