Monday, February 24, 2014

Blips: Against "Rational" Play

Source: Videogames and the Spirit of Capitalism
Author: Paolo Pedercini
Site: Molleindustria

I find that when I speak of the whole of games, I often use the term "video game industry," though it's something I'm trying to extract from my vocabulary except in instances where I'm actually speaking about the industrial aspects of game development and publishing. It's no coincidence that "industry" has become such a go-to term when referencing the sphere of games, when games themselves often reinforce this capitalist mindset. This is one of my primary takeaway's from Paolo Pedercini's talk at Indiecade East 2014. I'd encourage you to give the whole talk a look, either in video or text form (via the "source" link) which elaborates on how games typically stand in support of capitalist ideals through their designs as rationalist pursuits. Rationalization runs counter to what it means to play.

The "game" in gamification is supposed to reference how otherwise normal activities can be turned into games, but it's actually just a meta-game on top of those activities –a means to an end that benefits upper management over the "players." If only gamified experiences actually incorporated video game mechanics, there might be an opportunity to transform them into something more engaging. We do this with our own imaginations when we're bored of something and want to shake things up. However, when the "game" part of gamification is about filling up a progress bar and receiving digital trinkets for doing so, labor itself is commodified and play is all but ignored.

No comments:

Post a Comment