Alexander Pfeiffer

Alexander Pfeiffer is recipient of a Max Kade Fellowship awarded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences to work with The MIT Education Arcade. His research focus as a postdoctoral fellow is on blockchain technologies and their impact to society. Before joining MIT, Alexander headed the center for applied game studies at Danube-University Krems, Austria, for eight years. At the beginning of 2021, he will move back from MIT to Danube-University Krems with the aim to establish the new Emerging Technologies Lab at the University and assist with establishing the Space21Future Lab in Vienna.

Life as a magic circle. A reflection with special consideration of our situation during the Covid-19 crisis.

FROG 2020 – Poster Presentation

I justify this with the fact that a Magic Circle is basically a system with independent rules. It does not necessarily, but can of course, be a game environment. Magic Circles with game reference are (A) a clearly defined game (B) a hybrid game world, like Alternate Reality or Urban Games and (C) games that are experienced by one person as a game, even if it is not a game for the other persons. Typical Magic Circles would also be clearly marked places like the tennis court, the soccer field, the board game, the games app etc. But also places like the swimming pool or the streetcar are Magic Circles, because there are special rules which are accepted at the entry and end at leaving. One can go so far as to consider life itself as a big Magic Circle, which offers thousands of play and non-play related, closed, semi-open and open Magic Circles. In the context of the poster presentation and my book chapter I would like to go into more detail about the underlying reasons for this point of view and would like to further point out a particular look at magic circles that have arisen and will arise for us in the context of the Covid-19 situation with all its rules, laws, regulations, the lockdowns, family life, working life, media use and so forth.


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