There’s this lens from games studies that I keep coming back to, the “magic circle”.
All play moves and has its being within a playground marked off beforehand either materially or ideally, deliberately or as a matter of course. Just as there is no formal difference between play and ritual, so the “consecrated spot” cannot be formally distinguished from the playground. The arena, the card table, the magic circle, the temple, the stage, the screen, the tennis courts, the court of justice, etc, are all in form and function playgrounds, i.e. forbidden spots, isolated, hedged round, hallowed, within which special rules obtain. All are temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance of an act apart.
Johan Huizinga, 1938, “Homo Ludens”
So, a “magic circle” is a name for the space in which a game takes place. When we step into the magic circle, the we suspend the rules of ordinary life, and allow the rules of the game to mediate our interactions.
continues in source: Magic circles Gordon Brander Feb 7Magic circles – by Gordon Brander – Subconscious