Posts Tagged ‘Games’
Once upon a time, there were people who liked to dress up as orcs and wizards and things and go out into the woods and shout a bit and play fight dragons with swords. And there were the historical re-enactors, who did similar things, but without the orcs and with authentic chain mail and swords.
People laughed a bit, and saw it as a bit geeky.
There were also the gamers. And first they would stay in their darkened bedrooms that perhaps smelt of Lynx and socks, on their own, or perhaps with friends. And then came the internet, and despite issues of lag, the gamers could play with and talk to anyone in the world, even if it was mostly about lag.
People worried a bit about violence and too much time indoors, and thought it was a bit geeky.
The zombie walk phenomenon has by this time spread throughout the world, with one day a year being dedicated to the celebration of the undead. On this day, people dress like rotting corpses and wander through major cities, horrifying the general public by threatening to eat their brains. The increasing popularity of zombies over the last ten years has undoubtedly been examined far better than I can do here, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see the zombie as a metaphor for the unthinking consumer culture, and the brain-dead powerlessness of the masses against the corruption of media and government.
All of these things were good, and fun.
And then, one day, someone thought, ‘why are we sitting inside being chased by zombies?’
‘Why don’t we all go outside, and play a massive zombie chase game? But without computers, just a map of the city and some fake blood.’
And this was a brilliant idea.
So, that’s what they did. And every year more and more people came to play, and they thought it was brilliant too.
People began to think this is normal.
With igfest, Hide & Seek, Slingshot and others, grown adults running around the streets being chased by other grown-ups has become an acceptable and practically mainstream activity.
I’m part of a generation who doesn’t remember a world without computers. My dad used to programme games for me and my sister on our ZX Spectrum.
It seems that this is part of a wider ‘ludic turn’, where we’ve become much more interested in the idea of play. It’s not just a way of extending ‘kidulthood’, but has wider implications. It’s probably not surprising that ideas of play and game theory are getting into everyday life.
Cold War game theory politics and Cold War military technology are programmed into us and into computer games; the first Gulf War is viewed in night-vision simulation; terrorism obsesses real-life and game-worlds.
So, is this ludic turn just another form of escapism, or could it be used as a powerful tool for collaboration? Technology separates, according to Guy Debord, and prevents any action against the dominant power. Is this a mass detournement where playful situationism becomes part of the everyday? Are games like 2.8 Hours Later a pre-cursor to the gamification of activism?