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The Third Place

Computer Games and Our Conception of the Real

About the project

Computer games constitute a major cultural and economic force in contemporary society.  Whether in the form of PC games, console games on machines such as PS3, Wii or XBox, Java games on the internet, or handheld games like Nintendo Gameboy, computer games make up a part of everyday life for a rapidly increasing number of people. Millions of individuals spend significant portions of their time playing massive-multiplayer games on the net, and the real economies of some such games equal those of small real-life countries.

Computer games calls for a collective research by a range of disciplines  and traditions. There are psychological questions concerning the impact of computer games on the mentality and behaviour of individual players; sociological and culture-theoretical questions about their impact on society and culture at large; literary questions about narrative structure; and ethical, legal and political questions concerning the production, distribution and consumption of games.
As with any other field, the study of computer games requires clarification of philosophical issues of particular relevance to the subject matter.


Drawing on the traditional topics in philosophy, the aim of the "Third Place" project is to provide the beginnings of a discussion of the basic concepts that are in need of elucidation in this field.

The title "The Third Place" is taken from David Lynch's famous commercial for the Playstation, which depicts computer games as a surreal world where the ordinary laws of reality are stretched or suspended. The notion that computer games are elusive and indeterminate places that do not quite fit the established categories of fiction and reality indicates the motivation for the project.


The project is a collaboration between Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo and Filosofisk Prosjektsenter, Oslo in association with the Department of Social, Cognitive and Quantitative Science at the University of Modena/Reggio Emilia and Center for Computer Game Research at the IT-University of Copenhagen.

Published Mar 31, 2010 11:01 AM - Last modified Feb 18, 2015 10:56 AM


Olav Asheim


Detailed list of participants