Re: [-empyre-] PLAY Tlönic

Christian McCrea saccharinmetric at
Thu Mar 13 18:56:24 EST 2008

>  lest we fetishise the production
>  industry or the author (including the mod author) so much we re-westernise,
>  a constant temptation in media histories generally.  That said, the wafaa
>  Bilal tale should also point to the absurdities of a geopolitics that now
>  has a third world in the midst of every first

Very well said. Also interesting to think about gaming labour on the
San Diego / Tijuana border during 2001-2006 (dynamics have changed
now). On the US side, game companies flourished, including a
Electronic Arts studio, and the major hub of Microsoft's online gaming
networks. Software engineering PhDs in air conditioned offices and a
pinball room to relax between meetings with dozens of MBA graduates
jostling to install themselves in the game economy. On the Mexican
side, just a few miles away, factories produce modems, network
components, cases and small parts for the Microsoft X-Box console;
union trouble over one machine causing hand injuries and the company
decides to respond by shifting the factory to just outside Xian,
China. The Hardware / Software divide in this case is also a
geopolitical divide.. and becomes as farcical as any border politic in
the virtualities of UnCivilisation or Age of Empyre.

There is a great deal to say about the labour circumstances of games
(and especially Xian in China where the three game console companies
have a factory each in one valley). One generation of the family
manages factory labour (making the games) but when geopolitics shifts
again the source of income is much better by chipping iridium and
heavy metals off circuitboards which leech into the water producing
tumours (consuming the games.) Unreliable data and state secrecy don't
help research but similar studies of factory work around Xian,
including the famous yellow mercury lake sites around the country,
provide a powerful counterpoint to techno- and futurphilia,

The history of games concerning middle east conflict is specifically
interesting for reasons that are now very much apparent again. I may
point to a somewhat daft link from a very commercial, very dumb gaming
news site:  "Islamogaming: Looking for Videogames In the Muslim World"
It is neither insightful nor exhaustive, but as the only commercial
gaming publication to even hint at an articulation, it is worth
scanning over for any mentions of games you may have missed.

and also:

Eddo Stern's "Sheik Attack":

-Christian McCrea

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