[-empyre-] Is green gaming an oxymoron?

Sonia Fizek fizek.sonia at gmail.com
Wed Mar 4 06:08:09 AEDT 2020

Hi Empyre, I am thrilled to be part of this week's discussion on green
gaming. Thank you for the invitation Alenda.

In his previous four posts Jeff has risen many crucial questions. Let me
pick up on the "cloud" and "attention" aspects.

In 1909 E.M.Forster's wrote a short story "The Machine Stops". He
envisioned a world, in which humanity lives below the earth's surface,
relying on a giant machine and surrounded by its ubiquitous presence. His
mechanic agent constantly operates in the background, its humming
accompanying humans day and night, and mediating in all conversational
exchanges. Forster's mechanic agent is a perfect allegory of today's 24/7
networked media. The World Wide Web and the ambient rhythms of the
networked computer medium pervade our daily rhythms in complex ways. This
ever-hungrier culture of non-stop connectivity and data generation needs a
new form of computing, the so called "ubiquitous computing", one that
illustrates a transformation from "computers we actively use to computing
resources acting in the background for us" (see Elgan, M. 2018, Ambient
Computing is in the Air). Videogames and digital play are also to a great
degree influences by this ubiquitous infrastructure. Not only huge MMOs
generate large amounts of data by operating constantly in real time, also
mobile games, which operate in the background ready for the player to come
back every now and then, rewarding them for the moments of absence. This
type of gameplay mechanics has of course a lot to do with what Jeff already
mentioned - attention economy. We are bombarded with content, having less
and less attention to spare. So, mobile gaming is "capitalising" on our
lack of time and compulsive behaviour, which makes us come back to the
phone's screen in small intervals.

Sonia Fizek
Digital Wanderer & Ludic Thinker
Associate Professor in Media and Games Studies
Cologne Game Lab, TH Köln
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