Sunday, 11 March 2007

Magic Circle, Lusory Attitude and Manic Miner

The magic circle and lusory attittude is in games to what Grant Morrison proposes in his spherical model to real-life security in his writings on Pop Magic, inclusive of Spatial Awareness, context, agreement and acceptance.

The magic circle is a respite from the pressures of modern life, taking place around the games console. However, Mum agreed with Huizinga in the magic circle’s relation to normative values, hand-in-hand with time limits, room of play and sound level. Much of 1984-85 I estimate spending12 hrs+ per week on Manic Miner, mostly on the Commodore64 though also regularly on a pal’s ZX Spectrum. The Spectrum sessions occurred at a neighbour’s household were the contract was tighter, with games-day being allotted to Saturdays. There, games were more likely to fit Huizinga’s estimation of their inefficiency in relation to a private fee-paying education. They were seen as having no material benefit, and as a waste of energy, with plugs being pulled and sessions being cut short for homework on a regular frequency. Deciding to play a game of Manic Miner went with as most other games, a sense of intrepidation, and determination to succeed were failure occurred previously. The lusory attitude also existed very much in the physical realm from configured finger and wrist behaviour, to mimicking of the central figure’s walking style.

I climbed as far as the sixteenth level on my own initiative, and when I eventually got hold of a ‘poke’ for infinite lives, I completed the game losing only two extra lives. The authenticity and debated importance of the lusory attitude is interesting in that until I began this study, the memory of having completed Manic Miner had overwritten the memory that I cheated to do so. It wasn’t a huge betrayal given my large devotion of time, and ability. It does serve to illustrate how debatable theory is in belief systems.

Playing it recently online after a gap of 20yrs I returned to the 5th level, Eugene’s Lair, on my first attempt, with instant recall of key configurations, and directions for completing each level. I am not sure Magic Miner has considerably affected my life in entering the magic circle, other than putting off adulthood for a few years.

(Word count : 371)


Morrison, G. (2000) Pop Magic. Retrieved online on March 11th from

Järvinen, A., A Meaningful Read: Rules of Play by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmermann: A Review Retrieved online on March 10th from

Thorhauge, A.M. (2003) Player, reader and social actor, Retrieved online on March 11 at


Animated gif

Spectrum Level One Screencapture

Manic Miner - alive in my house! by ChopperKhan

Eugenes Lair. Screencapture taken from

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