[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 2 on -empyre: GAMES AND REPRESENTATION

TR thetalentedtenthrealized at gmail.com
Fri Apr 10 13:03:22 AEST 2015

One case in point: Ian Bogost’s regular contributions to The Atlantic
on games. While I do not intend to single out Bogost, he is a
designer/scholar who is very much in the public view and I think his
musings on games help shape the terms of engagement both within and
outside of the academy. In his March 13th column “Video Games Are
Better Without Characters,” Bogost argues that games (like simulation
games) that emphasize complex systems instead of dialogue, characters,
and identities better prepare us to analyze the changing social and
economic times. He explicitly links discussions about representation
in games with Gamergate reactionaries, arguing that the people who are
asking for more diverse representation and the gamers policing gamer
identity are operating essentially from the same ideological base. He
explains, “Maybe the obsession with personal identification and
representation in games is why identity politics has risen so
forcefully and naively in their service online, while essentially
failing to build upon prior theories and practices of social justice.
And perhaps it is why some gamers have become so attached to their
identity that they’ve been willing to burn down anything to defend
it.” I encourage other folks to check out Bogost’s entire post since I
can’t adequately summarize it all here. Anyhow, in my mind, this
evinces some of that resistance to having discussions about
representation remain central to game studies. Of course, I don’t
think examinations of “complex” systems and matters pertaining to
identity and self have to be mutually exclusive.

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