Freeplay is a creative and often spontaneous act of play, that sees players deviating from the primary objectives of a game and instantiating their own goals, rules, and game modes. From a literary standpoint, freeplay has been observed in children throughout the twentieth century, with many theorists resting upon generic definitions of play in order to conceptualise the phenomenon. This dissertation explores the role of freeplay in the context of videogames; encapsulating a plethora of examples and identifying key characteristics of the phenomenon. The primary intention of this study was to examine the phenomenon of freeplay as it occurs in the context of videogames by using an interpretive phenomenological approach. As a methodology, phenomenology and small-scale qualitative studies more generally cannot present statistically relevant results. However, the findings presented through many examples in this research justify formalisation of the construct of free play within the context of videogames. Building upon the findings presented here, future studies could deploy a qualitative focus group or quantitative survey as a means for furthering validity expanding meaning extracted from the study.

Year Manuscript Completed



Game Design


Video games; freeplay; videogames; phenomenology; play; games; flow theory.

Primary Language of Manuscript


01Front.pdf (153 kB)

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