Gaming Paper Abstract

Below is title and abstract I submitted to the journal Refractory for their upcoming games and new media special issue. I am currently writing the paper. (The paper was originally going to be called “I am in ur Theories killin ur Spaces”.)

gamers pwned: gaming as contingency, phantasm and event

“Games need the empty square, without which nothing would move forward or function.” – Gilles Deleuze

If games are the art of producing contingency, then let gaming be defined by contingency. The event of gaming is punctuated by contingencies that cascade into ‘action’ through a transversal co-determination across different machinic registers. This is a reconfiguration of perspective on gaming away from the naked phenomenological. ‘Action’ is, following Gilles Deleuze, the ‘object = x’ of gaming on two levels: the pure passage of gaming (actually playing games) and within the discourse of the gaming culture scene.

First, ‘action’ is the location where the repeated materiality of the ‘game’ happens as a movement of incorporeal materialism. ‘Action’ is not merely what happens. The event of gaming exists on a multiplicity of registers, but these can be reduced to two series derived from the architectures of contingency that are produced and programmed into the game, but which rely on the collective cultural memory of the ‘player’ habitus. The two series are constituted by 1) the programmed allegorithms of the game and 2) the phantasms of the playing population’s libidinal apparatus. This is the positive task: to rescue the event of gaming.

Second, this locates gaming in a different cultural space to the spectacle; ‘celebrity’, not ‘action’, is the ‘object = x’ of the spectacle. The structure of gaming culture subsumes and incorporates the politics of the spectacle: the production of contingency and the insertion of action into the spectacle. The sabot is now a turtle shell. Thus, ‘gaming’ is distributed across the mass-media apparatus and is not solely located in the traditionally conceived gaming machines or computers. The art of media production has become to find new forms of action and contingency. Beyond this, the event of gaming is an assemblage. A virtual gaming-machine roams across other milieus; the employee /welfare recipient/consumer ‘incentive program’ is a structural allegorithm. (Deleuze did not mention the ‘control society’ being fun.) If the virtual gaming-machine therefore operates as an apparatus of action-capture, and one wants to produce political action, does this therefore lead to a politics of gaming; a game of political production?

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