Zuzanna Aleksandra Rucinska – There are no Virtual Actions

In this talk I will present a view of action in games from the perspective of enactivism. I will argue that action enters the topic of gameworld in two ways. First, action is part of perception of virtual affordances. Following the ecologgical-enactivist view of perception, perception is not “something that happens in us” but it is intimately linked with action. Thus, perception of game affordances is based on action, because perception and action are interlinked to begin with: action shapes perception, and perception shapes further action, as we are constantly probing the environment.

Then, our action co-constitutes the game-world. Following Varela, Thimpson & Rosch’ (1991) relationism, and my praxeological-enactivist take to pretense (Weichold & Rucińska 2022), I will propose that in VR we are neither dealing with fictions in the traditional sense of the term, nor with just a digital reality. Instead, virtual reality is enacted. It is just another kind of environment that we, sensorimotor beings, find ourselves in and actively make sense of. What follows from this view is that there are no two actions, fictional ones in the VR, and real ones in the real world, but only one action of the sensorimotor being. It is the gamer who is doing the perceiving and the acting in the virtual world, through incorporating (at times) her avatar. There are no virtual actions of the avatar that are caused by the gamer’s movements; instead, the gamer’s movements constitute the actions ascribed to the avatar. In short, there is only one action and only one perception taking place, as there is just one world, in which we play virtual games. The action is just different and more complex, as it takes place in a novel situation, and the perception is of virtual affordances.