Good news! I’m contributing to Gamecrate once again! Here’s my first article after a two-year hiatus:
“From Sapiens to Ludens” is a phrase plastered across the online homepage of Kojima’s company, Kojima Productions. Ludens refers to Homo Ludens, aka “man who plays,” and is an idea that is at the heart of his company’s mission. The company statement includes a phrase explaining that “playing is not simply a pastime. It’s the primordial basis of imagination and creation.”
There are a number of references to Homo Ludens within Death Stranding itself. The most direct is found in a letter from the character Heartman titled “Bridges Needs Homo Ludens.” In it, he writes: “Homo ludens – they who play. Be it deliberate or unintentional, Homo ludens unite people – creating culture, shaping the very world around them – not through violence, not through laws or proscriptions, but rather through metaphorical acts of play.”
Cultural theorist Johan Huizinga coined the phrase Homo Ludens in 1938 when he published Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. In it, Huizinga writes about the necessity of play for humans and its central role within human cultures.