Review of McKenzie Wark’s “Gamer Theory”

10 05 2007

“Select difficulty: Normal / Realistic.”

This makes thousands of statements. Hundreds of them deal with the compartmentalization of pleasure: in the 1990s many American restaurants or eateries eliminated the “Small” drink, instead choosing only to serve “Medium, Large, and Extra Large”. Immediately, there were many progressive-minded individuals whose progressive minds, um, halted and decided to instead stop and stare and poke fun at the way things are in the world. Some of these people ran eateries of their own, and decided to call their own eateries’ drinks “Large” “Extra Large” and . . . “Jumbo”, or some word of equal weight expressing morbid size. I wouldn’t be surprised if, somewhere in the near-future, someone releases a game with the difficulty settings “Normal” “Realistic” and “Fatal”. It’d be funny. It’d be ironic. It’d be — well, it’d be poisonous.

The least terrorist-like game we could hope for, Gears of War — funny that is so heavily involves guns and killing and even lets you stomp foes in the back of the head when they’re down — a game about narrative and forward motion, with sparkling clean design concepts and rock-solid graphics, is not only so careful as to never feature a situation (outside multiplayer mass “accidental” suicides) where any one of the good guys attacks another good guy, is clean right down to its semantics. Its difficulty settings are “Casual” “Hardcore” and “Insane”.

“Normal” and “Realistic”, though! I’m sure there are other difficulty settings, like “Novice” in the final version, though man. “Normal” and “Realistic” really makes a boatload of statements. We can beat around the subject and say that this screenshot declares that realism is “weird”. This says a lot for the collective subconscious mind of the creators as people who would rather stay indoors and absorb falsified worlds in the name of cultured entertainment — or, better yet, as “pixelantes” (a word — meaning a game-addict — that I borrow from Jack Thomspon without permission). However, to address the issue as bluntly as possible, we can say that this screenshot is an understated (and simultaneously overstated) message from deep within the videogame itself, and it whispers to us that:

REALITY IS NOT NORMAL.

As you and I might have grown up playing with Super Mario and jumping on cartoon turtles, knowing full well, deep down, that this game had nothing to do with real life, so your children will grow up with first-person shooters that no one would hesitate to consider offensive because the context contained within dictates that the people getting shot deserve to get shot. They will be silently preached to that it is not the game that is not normal compared to real life — it is realism itself that, quite frankly, is not normal. Having not a single synapse connected in the name of realizing the faults in their logic, certain game creators obtain the keys to dramatic and renowned next-generation technology. Some of them do what they do; others imitate; others obtain power and responsibility at the same time and run, fast as they can, in cowardice.

- Tim Rogers,
“Are Videogames Terrorism?” aka
“The Insertcredit.com Fukubukuro 2006 Keynote Address”

One day a couple of months ago, I read two large texts - an entire day devoted to the task of reading about videogames as I prepared to finish my thesis. One of these texts was McKenzie Wark’s Gamer Theory (which I had seen parts of online), the other was Tim Rogers’ “Are Videogames Terrorism?”, a multi-page annual address that I think officially clocks it at 60,000 words.

Images in this review are from that article and are reproduced here without his permission. But he’s a nice guy and I’m sure he won’t mind.

Wark’s Virtual Geography was one of the texts that awoke me from undergraduate slumber and prompted me into some form of intellectual interest; much to the chargin of my Gay and Lesbian Studies tutor who had to read my essay on the appropriation of queer by terrorist groups using Virtual Geography as key text. (I almost failed.) Tim Rogers - well, I’m not entirely sure what role he’s played for me but in these yearly addresses, Rogers is poking around the raw facts of games - that aesthetics and politics are made incoherently whole. Game Studies, to date, has not been uninterested in this approach - but it is hardly as clear or lucid as Rogers.

Rogers’ address requires no comment. Only to be read. However, its a useful buoy for a wider ‘review and reconstruction’ of Wark’s Gamer Theory. Julian Kücklichs review on Gameology has been the site of some commentary between Wark, Kücklich and Ian Bogost in the last 48 hours. What follows is a blog-style review (intellectually formless) that addresses the text, wherever it is, and the concerns which it illuminates.

Gamer Theory is constituted by a series of analyses on games which collectively posit gamespace as a simulogy of a real world that is being made increasingly game-like. Games utopianise ideals from neo-liberalism such as level playing fields and meritocracy and make them quasi-real. By providing an experimental laboratory for these situations to evolve, gamespaces become complicit in the reorganisation of labour, the reforming of social liberties according to ‘rights’ and ‘powers’, and so on, endlessly. Under the formulation which becomes at least partially convincing by the text’s end, gamespaces are not too dissimilar to various philosophical situations of utopic political engagements (always encased in the reality of what utopia means - dissimulitude, control, fascism). If Gamer Theory can be said to do one thing, it is this turning on-of-the-hose on the dead tissue of futurphilic game research, net research and critical theory which confuses engagement and interactivity for agency and reconstitutive power.

The release of media theorist McKenzie Wark’s Gamer Theory I take Gamer Theory to be a strategy guide to possible action out of the encasing logics of gamespace and the material situations of capitalism to which they cohere. As far as I can determine, this is a wholly inaccurate reading of the text - but after three readings, I am doubly (triply?) determined by this assessment.

At least, a manual for rhetorical engagement given the gaming situation (to use an old familiar term.) The situations developed in each of the chapters share a typal range with the strategy guide; which is increasingly less a repository of impossible actions and more an eschatology of the possible. I think, for example, the narrative-as-target metaphor in the Rez / Battle chapter appeals to a style of play/labour/action and occasions it with the crown of material trace. And in Boredom / State of Emergency, the implicit critique in the quoting of Adorno’s assertion that sport is tightly regulated (it is, by form, not) gives another sense of ‘best practice’ (to abuse a term plucked straight from the sulfuric netherworld of bureau-geddon) but which coheres to this sensation of guided strategy. A path taken, mapped according to hope and revelatory discourse, as primary rhetorical device. It is this form I feel underpins (or not) a drive toward a simulogy of activity. “Simulation forces binary actions > forces binary interpretations of the world > what comes next?”. There is a ongoing sense that Wark is fearful what the encroachment of gamespaces may mean for potential ways of working against capitalism. Namely, that games offer escape but deliver us into the hands of the enemy. This is never explicit, but again, after three readings - this is a sense which is reinforced.

Which returns me to Tim Rogers’ assessment of “Normal / Realistic”:

On another corner of this cube-shaped world called the videogame industry, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas opens with a difficulty selection screen: “Difficulty select: Select the difficulty level of the game: NORMAL / REALISTIC”. Witness this and feel years of current events rip from the top of your skull to the soles of your feet, like rollercoaster g-forces. The War in Iraq, the grin of the current mongrel president of America, the shootings in Columbine, foaming media feeding frenzies smothering out the sparks of introspection that might have had the chance to fan into a bonfire of renaissance, Jack Thompson. “REALITY IS NOT NORMAL”, games are saying, in a sideways subliminal way.

- Tim Rogers, ActionButton.net
Review of Saints Row / Saints’ Row / Saint’s Row

Forget ‘complicit’, or ‘inductive’, or ‘contributing’. The door is open, the light streams in, we can read by the light of the obviousness of it all. A game in which you play counter-terrorism forces assaulting Las Vegas (of all places!) makes you choose between two states of difficulty - the normal and the real.

Making totality go away is not a task for thought. It doesn’t yield to a merely conceptual labor. Its an historical task. A remaking of the world.

- McKenzie Wark, commenting
“player hater”

Wark is responding here to Julian Kücklich’s review of Gamer Theory, and even as I am here quoting out of context, some interesting diversions open up. “‘Fun’ and ‘play’ seem to me just code words for the labor of validating the commodity.” (Wark, same page) is a startling statement; one entirely readable in the textual production of types of games which require purest labour and little leisure to complete. The distinction between labours and leisures now so thoroughly rescued, exploded and complicated by hundreds of years of critical thinking from Marx to Negri to Agamben to Wark, its probably safe to deploy again for a moment.

However, it is not coherently readable across games. Julian’s review of the book is that it fails to make a theory of games playable, both in content and form. (I will come to the book’s form in a bit - but there has been not enough said on the philosophy, so I will spend my time on such.)

Guide

I am more inclined to read Wark’s book in the mode of a playguide, FAQ or strategy guide. It represents a modal shift, not just an ontological one that attributes a good deal of critical leverage to actions that we do in games, but never being so quick as to call them ‘playful’. “…maybe there’s no outside. Maybe play is so thoroughly incorporated that it has to be abandoned, both as theory and practice. That’s why this book is called Gamer Theory, not Player Theory.” (Wark, same page)

This idea of ‘play’ being a coded way of validating the commodity is entirely accurate; that is, for some games, some of the time. Consider the method by which we play a game of Madden 06, or Supreme Commander or even a modern Final Fantasy game. The key term here is; “the occlusion of instances”. Many games are so weighted towards a process of commodity-validity that we have internatised an entire dictionary of business language to navigate them; ‘unlocking content’ for God’s sake.

If the novel, cinema or television can reveal through their particulars an allegory of the world that makes them possible, the game reveals something else. For the reader, the novel produces allegory as something textual. The world of possibility is the play of the linguistic sign. For the cineaste, the world of possibility is a play of light and shade. For the gamer, the game produces allegory as something algorithmic. The world of possibility is the world internal to the algorithm. So: a passage from the topic to the topographic, mediated by the novel; a passage from the topographic to the topological, mediated by television; a passage, mediated by the game, from the topological to as yet unknown spaces, a point where the gamer seems to be stuck. Is it really the case that the gamer merely revels in blood mischief and role playing? Or is there a deeper understanding of the cave that can be had from gaming within it?

- McKenzie Wark
Gamer Theory, Card 59 - America / Civilization II

Wark’s formulation of topological change is probably the most attuned in the entire work to how players experience things in games; in Manuel Delanda’s terminology, “phenomena of self-organisation”. I much prefer the term ‘psycholudology’, pinched from socialfiction.org, because we automatically register that this process is a continual internalising of external logic. Forget the ghosts of immanence and of inward being; excise all Deleuzian notions of retrieval and manifold becoming. If anything, this is Aliester Crowley’s anti-choronzon, the spirit or system of the world being ritualistically invited inward to transform the willful magicker. It is the swallower of possibility; the crematorium of pure play.

Two more Wark quotes open up the discussion: “Topology is experienced more as a gamespace than a cyberspace: full of restrictions and hierarchies, firewalls and passwords. It is more like a bounded game than a free space of play. Once again: if it is free, it is valueless. Those odd lines within topology where anything goes are the ones of no consequence.” and far later, in another chapter; “And just as the utopia points to what is lacking beyond the page; so too atopia points to what is lacking, beyond the game. Atopian space is a real enclave within imaginary social space. The possibility of atopian space is a result of the impossibility of adequate and effective spatial and social quantification and calculation.”

I would rather imagine Wark’s atopia as an imagined enclave within a real social space. Rules and border controls have been internalised via psycholudology / processes of playing with topology and considerably bear down from the infinite to the merely ongoing, like a falcon that got its hearing back and heard the falconer’s call; no blood-dimmed tide for you. The three chapters with which I find the most interesting philosophically, America - Analog - Atopia, are formed around these conceptual pins, creating leverage against a superstructure which seems to bear all the properties of a ‘phenomena of self-organisation’ but is in actuality (in the realm of the actual), everything but. Wark’s analysis invokes a considerable and singularly powerful fact; that the new forms of power are enjoined by gamespaces and have in fact made their biggest impression on the systems of control by selling power back to us, making us work for the privilege of seeing it through, and contorting our instincts to ask for more.

There is something entirely sympathetic about this reading when you fire up the types of games for which manipulation of vast hidden databases is required. Entire genres work on the premise of reformulating instincts into self-bound prisoner logics; people marching themselves willingly into a cohesion with the archives which they cannot abound. The gamespace Wark is talking about re-creates only enough of our actuality to make us continually imagine more. Read; buy more.

The Rule of Exceptions

Yes, I’m calling MMORPGs things for stupid people. Please don’t tell me I’m underestimating the players. I’m estimating exactly as much as I mean to, and exactly as much as I plan to. If you don’t agree with me, that’s quite alright — I don’t agree with you, either! Rather than gain levels in an imaginary world, I’d rather, I don’t know, do push-ups and sit-ups? Run a couple of miles a day? I’d rather sit down on the sofa after a shower after a run and think, “I think I ran a little farther before getting tired today.” I don’t carry a stopwatch and I don’t measure the distance of my run by anything except landmarks. When I want to “assemble a party” and go “challenge a quest”, I call some friends and we sit around a restaurant talking about things like philosophy or politics or art or — hey! — videogames. You know, videogames where you solve problems, test your reflexes, and come off feeling like you’ve wasted your time with maximum efficiency.

- Tim Rogers,
“Are Videogames Terrorism?” aka
“The Insertcredit.com Fukubukuro 2006 Keynote Address”

If we were to make a playful map of all of game studies’ semantics and collate them according to type, how many would we find conform to the formula “x is about y”? Theory so far has been really interested in what amounts to deconstructing the design process; creating programming-like statements which close off alternatives as closely as Commodore 64 instructions (10 go to ontology; 20 go to 10). I do not mean in the sense of exclusion, but perhaps in a more familiar way, they world-build. To each form and practice, the criticism is appropriately epistemelogically borne; games are no different. We can diagnose things ‘about’ games from the theory it inspires. Games are not about narratives or gameplay or players or people or politics - and certainly not about topology. Games are about ‘abouts’ ; they are voracious in their quest for principles, styles, meanings. “…critical theory, which becomes formally indistinguishable from pornography, a mere subset of gamespace, a hypocritical theory, with different specialists, playing by different rules – equally worthy of de Sade.” (Wark, card 151) McKenzie Wark, then, is intentionally a pornographer and hypocrite of the highest order - and probably very proudly so as he constructs another layer from which we cast doubts and abouts. Except from this one, hopefully, we examine power itself. “Making totality go away is not a task for thought. It doesn’t yield to a merely conceptual labor. Its an historical task. A remaking of the world.” (Wark, same comment on Gameology)

If I have a short review of Gamer Theory, it is that I have with each reading, gotten the strongest sensation that Wark is taking me on a tour of a disaster area via helicopter. I can see the sweat on his face, but his voice has to come through the headset to overcome the furious roaring above us. “This is where capitalism hit hardest… you can see the damage. People here are trying to build their lives up again… but there’s nothing left.” “WHAT?” “There’s nothing left!”

Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated

- Marx and Engels
The Communist Manifesto

Constant revolutionizing of seduction, uninterrupted disturbance of all consumer relations, everlasting uncertainty and distraction, distinguish the military entertainment complex from all earlier powers. It must stay one step ahead of boredom, with which it deludes and with which it colludes.

-McKenzie Wark
Gamer Theory, Card 155 - Boredom / State of Emergency

Is this reorganisation of power outlined by Wark convincing? Unequivocally. Everywhere that power asserts itself, the shadows of game topology, of similitude and design, become more and more present and prescient. CCTVs on the streets of London bark orders at the denuded citizenry, their right to peaceful life sacrificed before an altar of safety. People arrested for crimes their profiles suggest they could commit. And so Gamer Theory is a powerful toolkit for the types of metaphors that systems of power are being increasingly informed by. Reality is not normal.

Making Totality Go Away

As critical theory, the book is a playful and intelligent strategy guide for your upcoming conflict with the forces of neo-liberalism and the miltary industrial complex in general. To consider it part of games research or even research on games is disingenous; Wark is clear about his objects of study - games are not metaphors for power, they are petri dishes for methods by which power is reforming itself as we speak.

Which is probably why Gamer Theory is not entirely readable to those engaged with games as an academic field; still cracking the eggshell and working out how games could find ways to reorganise other cultural forms, or just attempting to deconstruct the design process, the last thing people want is another thing to worry about, even if it is the big picture. However…

The games referenced are becoming canonical in game studies. They are gentrified examples of respectable games design for an academic market. Katamari Damacy and Rez in particular have attracted widespread critical attention, if only to be the subject of strained analogies to works from various literary, cinematic and artistic canons. Are these games good because they are like great works elsewhere in other media? Has games academia split from journalism in its ability to critique games on their own terms with an internal sense of aesthetics, without such frequent recourse to ‘respectable’ media? Why these games, represented in this format?

- David Surman, In Conversation With Me
http://www.wolvesevolve.com/blog/?cat=5&paged=3

Gamer Theory is not designed to inform its readers about games more broadly, and certainly not game design - which if we can safely say is the fetish object of a good deal of contemporary game research, this book would find itself incompatible with. There is nothing irreconcilable about two styles or ideas, and certainly not as they are encased in languages’ game. Poetry is not a medium; its a method - and the very least we can do (I’ve gotten in trouble for using that phrase before) is have the decency of the commons to try and see what potential weird combinations we can come up with. Especially if we’re attempting to escape this continual utopia-atopian trick. Otherwise we end up with a cargo cult of revolutionary idioms.

Need for Speed (Cargo Cult)

by Brody Condon
November, 2005 Cast Polyurethane, 2’ wide x 6’ high x 11’ long

 

Need for Speed is a Lamborghini Countach from 1985 made from molded branches cast in polyurethane. The original 3D model for the car was extracted from the popular racing simulation Need for Speed. The term “cargo cult” refers to the history of low tech, ritualized simulation of military aircraft by indigenous South Pacific tribes in the mid 20th century.

Detaching theory from games for a moment, we have a seriously large body of work which has been and could be constituted in a study of games. I have never bought for an instant the idea that each media requires a total reworking of theory or that games requires a game theory detached from the empyrean; that is wholly inconsistent with media’s movements and anathema to thought itself. Or to cut to the chase, Gamer Theory is a totally necessary work considering how little game research touches on the material it wants to.

By the same token, Gamer Theory is not great game research - or even game research at all. It is not, to poach another term from the massive socialfiction.org archive of ideas, a ‘bonanza of origins’ but one of situations. The games chosen to develop these metaphors are odd, but obvious (State of Emergency?) - the style of play we can conclude from Wark’s analyses of them seems methodical rather than meditative. It cannot be said that someone who plays games much, or even researches them, will find much there to elucidate what they do in basic categorical terms of ‘this is what this game is about’. The chapter on Rez, for example, is the one I had the most to comment on by simple dint that my experience was almost totally incoherent with Wark’s - there again the presence of the commons and the material situations of style, gesture and yes, play over-rides even the systems of the game. But for those who are studying the political fabric of the present, or are looking to situating games inside this vast, noospheric demon called the dominion of dollars - it is a confronting look inside the cauldron of media.

“If You Need Help, Check the Book For Instructions”

It is for all these reasons that I find Gamer Theory to be quite like a methodological study of a successful playthrough of a game - a strategy guide or FAQ - a ‘best way’ through the scenarios offered by a particular game. It is a min-max operation by which you can detect precisely what you need to get where you need to go; and to do so it is quite open about its stacking of the decks towards its own idiomatic construction.

The formal construction of the book, which is comparable to similar projects such as The Electronic Book Project and even texts such as the New Media Reader, or ye olde Film Art - is I would argue, a subset of this formula - a kind of ‘pataphysical dovetail necessitated by the strategy formulation. To ‘open up the text’ a la forum necessarily forces roles to occur and creates audience/author situations for us to ironically inhabit while guffawing with incredulity at Barthes.

I have suggested elsewhere that this constitutes a kind of automatic lynching by which I meant first that the form invites critique (and by critique I mean the type of binary assault described above) but more importantly that sense of continual inward-forming. The poetics of lynching are such that they generate mass activity and continually form new possible targets; so there’s a fit for my reading of the text, at least. In the forum, Wark said that the book was intended to be in “as open and generous a way as you can” and that “people pick up the vibe and take it from there. “

Which is probably true of any academic text but probably especially in regard to games, at this time. Game studies is hysterical about its origins, and doubly hysterical about its borders; which is perfect and natural, I think, for a study of border action, origin manipulation and mass hysteria. playthrough, and wants to act as guide for a reiteration, reformulation, re-address. Like the guide, we pick it up and take it from there.

The call out for possible responses perhaps wasn’t so much in the forum - I know the parts of the book I liked most never got commented on. Rather, in the implicit act of ensorcelling a reading of actions in specific games which provoke more material, contextual and situational gravities than general, typical ones. What can we say about Rez that can practically be said of other games? (Panzer Dragoon and Space Harrier nonewithstanding.) Can we read Rez without reading mid-90s rave, or ecstasy, or masturbation practices of the digitally-aware Japanese game afficiando?

So the book provokes. Inspires, but also provokes. Julian Kücklich’s inability to review is totally coherent to me as a response to the book; I share some element of the instinct just by dint of the way I arrived to the text. Julian made a comment here which is so very important for all study, not just games and not just this book - “the book does not render these rules manipulable, and it does not explicate how such manipulability could be achieved.”

That is a great aim for us to have as scholars; to make what exists as law, communal force or assumptive election totally manipulable. That is how a theory-through-games would be, if it ever will. An enactment of games’s other tendency aside from the construction of systems which control us by selling to us the control of systems (which I think Wark’s focus in this book). That is, the farming of doubt; the forming of situations in which doubt gains the properties of a force and reigns over even law. I don’t even know how possible it is, but glancing at my bookshelf I can see its been done before, at other times, in different ways. It has been suggested that this kind of doubt is acutely covered by the Deleuzian fold.

What can be said is that it does occur in and because of games. Flight and acceleration outside of control systems happens because of games. It is only sometimes, but it occurs.

Whatever the processes, knowing another method of how and how not to find my way through this particular maze has been some tremendous food for thought - as is Julian’s critique of the formal properties of the book.

The power of theory falters on the theory of power. It’s not that theory, even a gamer theory, can achieve all that much when confronted with the digital indifference of gamespace. It might aspire at least to describe what being now is.

-McKenzie Wark
Gamer Theory, Card 125 - Atopia / Grand Theft Auto: Vice City


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5 responses to “Review of McKenzie Wark’s “Gamer Theory””

11 05 2007
glen (00:45:25) :

but more importantly, are any of my ideas in the book? :P

the problem with the julian kücklich’s nonreview is that he laments the absence of certain bits of argument that — going from my understanding of the books and work of wark i have read — would not actually be in any wark text, or at least not in any positive sense, such as ‘totality’, ‘kernel of truth’ etc.

wark’s distinction between player theory and gamer theory is a bit disingeneous. I like your call about min/max. wark talks about the playing of games like foucault talked about the production of madhouses. foucault got his info from accounts of this process from those in charge. so he ends up producing an account of the ‘normal’ and not ‘reality’. similarly, wark’s book (the 1.1 version) dealt with the ‘normal’ of game playing, and not the reality of the playing of games per se.

an obvious example of this is that ‘boredom’ is not merely a negative resource in the affective economy of post-industrial capitalism to get people to play games, it is also what has to be warded off by the algorithms of the game _while_ playing. I got no sense from his book of gamer’s getting bored. ie the subsumption of analogue (of the body) to the digital (of the algorithm) happens in ‘real’ time (and ‘real’ time here is precisely the heterogeneous materiality of duration). maybe gamers don’t get bored? i know i have been excited about certain games coming out and played them for 14-16 hour binges, days in a row. HOwever I have also been extremely depressed and unable to face the world, wanting to forget about my actual work and other bullshit.


but wait
there’s more
!!!

11 05 2007
Christian McCrea (13:10:39) :

Glen - don’t know about your comments… I haven’t got my hands on the paper version yet. I will update here! (or perhaps on Gamer Theory… or Gameology… christ… all these semantic layers…. which is the final fantasy?).

Boredom is an amazingly complex topic, and I think Wark approaches some of its more alientating dimensions. I am very very partial to Agamben’s reading of meloncholy as a situation that presents itself to though as action approach and lays claim to the activity of thought - sensations of change and biopolitic. This is why PlaySTATION and x-BOX games are stylisitically interested in mechanisation and Wii games are all childlike. The more physical bioactivity that is required, the further away the game interface resembles Durer’s Meloncholia, hand on head, grumpy angel with a gameboard at his feet and a ladder nearby. This is a massively generalistic call to make, a total blanket statement but I’m convinced there’s something to it.

Your comment on boredom is excellent - its not a negative resource at all - perhaps for capitalism (that is, us - ohhh I’m being cheeky) perhaps its a positive one - something which we spend, usually on rubbish. My favourite element of games is when they become so self-narrativising. The fog of war, which Wark calls the ‘inky shroud’, is The Virtual writ large. Its where we imagine bad shit to be, and we pull back the shroud as the first act of boredom-depletion. Tim Rogers called it ” feeling like you’ve wasted your time with maximum efficiency.” - you may as well call it the mechanisation of free time.

“‘real’ time here is precisely the heterogeneous materiality of duration”

Now THATS a useful idea. Real time is spatially constructed in games; the world the system can draw, segmentalised into task areas. Reality is not normal. This is why I suspect so much damage is being done to perceptions of time and space by games and gamers; I don’t buy internalisation as the primary shift occuring. (This isn’t Wark, though - its an idea that’s been sitting around since the days of anti-arcade hysteria.)

11 05 2007
Christian McCrea (13:14:59) :

Also, thanks for that quote from Logic of Sense on battle, I had forgotten it and have been trying to write my theory and methodology chapter without addressing event properly.

15 05 2007
glen (13:06:32) :

me now eating above words (with a peanut sauce) regarding boredom as Wark quotes me directly on this point. lol

fuck what a classic…

18 05 2007
McKenzie Wark (00:31:33) :

{phew} It’s going to take me a while to digest this. But in the meantime thanks for this bit: “If I have a short review of Gamer Theory, it is that I have with each reading, gotten the strongest sensation that Wark is taking me on a tour of a disaster area via helicopter. I can see the sweat on his face, but his voice has to come through the headset to overcome the furious roaring above us.” Wish it had that on the back cover! Christian, yr copy of the hardback is in the mail. Glen, i owe you a copy. Send me yr 1st life address.

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