Game time may be either geological, biological or sociological, but it is no longer historical. History is history. Or rather, a certain conception and a certain practice is history. History can no longer be a storyline about free agency constructing its own conditions of existence. Fredric Jameson: “History is what hurts, it is what refuses desire and sets inexorable limits to individual as well as collective praxis…”. In gamespace, history is where random variation meets necessary selection. The game is what grinds. It shapes its gamers, not in its own image, but according to its algorithms. The passage from topography to topology is the passage from storyline to gamespace, from analog control of the digital to digital control of the analog, from the diachronic sequence of events to the synchronic inter-communications of space. Perhaps history reappears, but at a more synthetic, even photosynthetic level. Perhaps there is never any history without the installation of a game. Events have to mesh in causal chains, bouncing off given limits, to be something more than the subject of mere chronicles.
History is history, but there may be a history to its passing, to its transformation into another form. Here again (with amendments) George Lukács: “[The military entertainment complex] destroyed both the spatio-temporal boundaries between different lands and territories and also the legal partitions between the estates. In its [topology] there is a formal equality for all [gamers]; the economic relations which directly determined the metabolic exchange between men and nature progressively disappear. Man becomes, in the true sense, a [gamer] being. [Gamespace] becomes the reality for man. Thus the recognition that [gamespace] is reality becomes possible only under [the military entertainment complex], in [topology]. But the [military entertainment complex] which carried out this revolution did so without consciousness of its own function; the [agonistic] forces it unleashed, the very forces that carried it to supremacy seemed to be opposed to it like a second nature, but a more soulless, impenetrable nature than [topography] ever was.” SimEarth prompts a surprising theoretical conclusion: history is back with a vengeance, and where least expected, the historicization of nature. History on earth becomes history of earth. History becomes total history.
The final question for a gamer theory might be to move beyond the phenomena of gaming as experienced by the gamer to conceive of gaming from the point of view of the game. K-Punk: “What do we look like from [game]space? What do we look like to [game]space? Surely we resemble a Beckettian assemblage of abstracted functions more than we do a holistic organism connected to a great chain of being. As games players, we are merely a set of directional impulses (up, down, left, right); as mobile phone users, we take instructions from recorded, far distant voices; as users of SMS or IM, we exchange a minimalized language often communicating little beyond the fact of communication itself (txts for nothing?).” Gamespace becomes an end in itself.
The gamer might still be tempted to try to leave The Cave™, to substitute for its artificial sun an order held in place by one that really burns in a visible sky. But here is the paradox: you only know the value of that sun, its energy, the consequences of turning it into this or that allocation or resources, because there is a game. Only by going further and further into gamespace might one come out the other side of it, to realize a topology beyond the limiting forms of the game. Deleuze and Guattari: “… one can never go far enough in the direction of [topology]: you haven’t seen anything yet — an irreversible process. And when we consider what there is of a profoundly artificial nature… we cry out, ‘More perversion! More artifice!’ — to a point where the earth becomes so artificial that the movement of [topology] creates of necessity and by itself a new earth.” The method for so doing may now be apparent: pressing against the limits of the game from within, to find the contrary terms behind the agon. Contrary terms which may open toward a paranoid complex (Debord) or a schizoid complexity (Deleuze).
Guy Debord: “No vital eras were ever engendered by a theory; they began with a game, or a conflict, or a journey.” And perhaps now by a conflict within the game, and a journey deeper into it.