[-empyre-] Is green gaming an oxymoron?

Alenda Chang achang at filmandmedia.ucsb.edu
Thu Mar 5 16:04:07 AEDT 2020

I'm so glad that Lauren brought up the power of worldbuilding,
nonhuman gameplay, and good old-fashioned media content and influence,
because I don't want everyone to get the impression that we're
advocating for everyone to throw their PlayStations in the nearest
e-waste container or decamp to crossword puzzles with moral certitude.

Case in point, today my digital theory class played/watched Hideo
Kojima's Death Stranding, which has been mocked as a "walking/hiking
simulator" or a tale of post-apocalyptic Amazon Prime deliveries, but
has a real visceral impact as you watch the protagonist flee (always)
acid rain and trek across a planetary surface that is no longer
hospitable to humans.

Still, let's run the fun thought experiment of imagining how to
address what Sonia termed "play structure / gameplay mechanics which
foster data-heavy irresponsible entertainment consumption." What would
that look like?

To me this might resemble Kris De Decker's argument that we need a
"speed limit" for the internet
What about a return to text-only adventures? A cap on resolution or
polygon count? Single, not multiplayer or at least networked play?
Paper, and pencil? (Next week's guests on analog gaming, get ready!)

In the future, in the name of computational environmental justice,
will we observe, akin to Meatless Mondays... Text-Only Tuesdays? (Lo)
Framerate Fridays? Or are these merely "green nudges" when we're well
into needed "shove" territory?

One last thought, since Jeff usefully brought up both the Mills et al.
report and recent attempts to Netflix-ize gaming. Last week, a study
was published in Science declaring that data centers aren't quite as
naughty energy guzzlers as they were thought to be, due to increased
efficiencies. And although the authors note that such a trend is
unlikely to continue, the tenor of a lot of reporting on the study had
a dismaying head in the sand quality: "see--look! we're fine! it's not
so bad!"

keep calm and game on?


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