A1 Journal article (refereed)
Aesthetics of Agency and the Rhythm of Gameplay (2023)

Kalmanlehto, J. (2023). Aesthetics of Agency and the Rhythm of Gameplay. Games and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media, OnlineFirst. https://doi.org/10.1177/15554120231185630

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsKalmanlehto, Johan

Journal or seriesGames and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media



Publication year2023

Publication date06/07/2023


PublisherSAGE Publications

Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/88838


In this study I investigate aesthetics of agency in games in terms of rhythm. Following C. Thi Nguyen's theory of agency as the aesthetic medium of games, I suggest that the aesthetic experience of agency can be interpreted in terms of rhythm. First, I provide an overview of Nguyen's theory of games as the art of agency. By focusing on Nguyen's characterization of the aesthetic experience of agency, I highlight a need for a more detailed description of agential aesthetics. Second, I introduce a philosophical interpretation of rhythm as a distinction between form and flow. Finally, by using Elden Ring as an example I argue that an understanding rhythm as form in continuous motion captures the transient and mutable character of agency as the object of the player's aesthetic experience. Rhythm provides insight into the temporal nature of Nguyen's process aesthetics and explains how agency can have nonconceptual meaning.

Keywordsrhythmaestheticshuman agencyplaying (games and sports)

Free keywordsagency; rhythm; gameplay; aesthetics

Fields of science:

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2023

JUFO rating3

Last updated on 2024-15-05 at 13:14