McKenzie Wark – Gamer Theory

McKenzie Wark

Harvard University Press – ISBN 0674025199
After remixing ‘The Capital’ with genuine hacker culture (in the ‘A Hacker Manifesto‘), McKenzie Wark felt the urge to shift to another hotbed for the current media culture debate: computer games. Instead of getting stuck in the established currents of theory, here he considers games as a utopian version of the world, through his own style of short witty and sharp paragraphs. This player centric approach subverts the usual assumption that games have to be studied from their structure. This is meant to prove that games are also means of propaganda for the reorganisation of labour and the redefinition of social liberties, for example. His analysis focuses on nine different games, in as many chapters that stress their building concept. He goes deep into many subtle mechanisms, aiming to raise the gamer’s awareness of established processes, like seducing him and capturing while feeding his desires’ flow, so finally trying to build a critical theory of gaming. Results are controversial as any Wark effort, but they are provocative and sometimes really inspiring, so often opening new possible paths for interpreting games and even different other digital environments. Supported by the Institute for the Future of the Book, the text fells in the very tradition of network-enhanced theory (nettime style) so an early version of this text was submitted online, soliciting for comments and discussions. This led to this final static version in print form (including a comment’s history) and to the open hyperlinked and (hyper) visually interpreted structures available online.