GAMERTHEORY/McKenzieWark/Version2.0[Note:thistextiscompleteexceptforsomecorrectionsandadditionsmadetothefinalpageproof.]"Theunrealityofgamesgivesnoticethatrealityisnotyetreal.Unconsciouslytheyrehearsetherightlife."--TheodorAdorno"Thereisanabsoluteinthemomentofthegame;andthisabsolute,likeeveryrealityormomenttakentotheabsolute,representsaspecificformofalienation."--HenriLefebvreForFelix(andhisplaymates)LudeFeliciterGAMERTHEORY/McKenzieWark/Version2.0AcknowledgementsAgony(onTheCave(tm))Allegory(onTheSims)America(onCivilizationIII)Analog(onKatamariDamacy)Atopia(onViceCity)Battle(onRez)Boredom(onStateofEmergency)Complex(onDeusEx)Conclusions(onSimEarth)Cuts(listofsamples)AcknowledgementsFirstly,ImustthankalloftheparticipantsinGAM3R7H30RY,a'networkedbook'whichpresentedversion1.1ofthistextasapretextforcommentsanddiscussion.Forversion2.0,Imademanychangestothetextonthebasisofthecommentsofferedtherebygamers,theoryheads,mediahackersandother'organicintellectuals'ofthedigitalage.Aneditedselectionofthecommentspertainingdirectlytothetextareincludedamongthenotesattheend.Secondly,IwouldalsoliketothankTheInstitutefortheFutureoftheBookforhostingGAM3R7H30RYversion1.1,andformanystimulatingdiscussions.ItwouldnothavebeenhalfasmuchfunwithoutBobStein,BenVershbow,RayCha,DanViselandJesseWilbur.Thirdly,IwouldliketothankmystudentsatEugeneLangCollege.Computergamesareakeypartofthesharedculturefromwhichonecanbegintheprocess-aslaboriousasitisplayful-ofcreatingareflectiveandcrit
icalapproachtothetimes.MystudentsatLanghavebeenactiveparticipantsintheshapingoftheideasinthisbook.Anyremainingactsoffollyinthisbookaretobechargeddirectlytomyownaccount.Agony(onTheCave(tm))Fig.1001.Evergetthefeelingyouareplayingsomevastanduselessgametowhichyoudon'tknowthegoal,andcan'tremembertherules?Evergetthefiercedesiretoquit,toresign,toforfeit,onlytodiscoverthere'snoumpire,noreferee,noregulator,towhomtoannounceyourcapitulation?Evergetthevaguedreadthatwhileyouhavenochoicebuttoplaythegame,youcan'twinit,can'tevenknowthescore,orwhokeepsit?Eversuspectthatyoudon'tevenknowwhoyourrealopponentmightbe?Evergetmadovertheobviousfactthatthediceareloaded,thedeckstacked,thetablerigged,andthefix-in?Welcometogamespace.It'severywhere,thisatopianarena,thisspeculationsport.Nopainnogain.Nogutsnoglory.Giveityourbestshot.There'snosecondplace.Winnertakeall.Here'saheadsup:Ingamespace,evenifyouknowthedeal,areaplayer,havegotgame,youwillnotice,allthesame,thatthegamehasgotyou.Welcometothethunderdome.Welcometotheterrordome.Welcometothegreatestgameofall.Welcometotheplayoffs,thebigleague,themasters,theonlygameintown.Youareagamerwhetheryoulikeitornot,nowthatweallliveinagamespacethatiseverywhereandnowhere.AsMicrosoftsays:Wheredoyouwanttogotoday?Youcangoanywhereyouwantingamespacebutneverleaveit.002.SupposethereisabusinessinyourneighborhoodcalledTheCave(tm).Itoffers,foranhourlyfee,accesstogameconsolesinadarkenedroom.Supposeitispartofachain.Theconsolesformalocalareanetwork,andal
solinktoothersuchnetworkselsewhereinthechain.SupposeyouareagamerinTheCave(tm).Youtestyourskillsagainstothergamers.YouhaveplayedinTheCave(tm)sincechildhood.Youreyesseeonlythemonitorbeforeyou.Yourearshearonlythroughtheheadphonesthatencasethem.Yourhandsclutchonlythecontrollerwithwhichyoublastawayatthedigitalfigureswhoshootbackatyouonthescreen.Heregamersseetheimagesandhearthesoundsandsaytoeachother:"Why,theseimagesarejustshadows!Thesesoundsarejustechoes!Therealworldisouttheresomewhere."Theexistenceofanother,morerealworldofwhichTheCave(tm)providesmerecopiesisassumed,butnobodythinksmuchofit.HerereignsthewisdomofPlaystation:Liveinyourworld,playinours.003.Perhapsyouarenotjustanygamer.Perhapsyouwanttobreakwiththestereotype.Youaretheonewhodecidestoinvestigatetheassumptionofarealworldbeyondthegame.Youturnawayfromthescreenandunplugtheheadphones.Yougetupandstaggeroutofthedarkenedroom,towardthelightoutside.YouaresodazzledbythelightthatthepeopleandthingsoutthereinthebrightworldseemlessrealthantheimagesandsoundsofTheCave(tm).Youturnawayfromthisblindingnewworld,whichseems,strangely,unreal.YoureturntothescreenandtheheadphonesandthedarknessofbeingagamerinTheCave(tm).004.Supposesomeone,aparentmaybe,ateacherorsomeotherguardian,dragsyoubackoutintothelightandmakesyoustaythere.Itwouldstillbeblinding.Youcouldnotlookdirectlyatthings.Maybetheguardianprintsoutsomepicsofyourfamilyormaybeamapoftheneighborhood,toacclimatizeyou,beforeyoucanlookatthings.Graduallyyouseethepeopl
earoundyou,andwhatitisthattheydo.Thenperhapsyouremembertheimmense,immersivegamesofTheCave(tm),andwhatpassesforwisdomamongstthosestillstuckthere.AndsoyoureturntoTheCave(tm),totalkortexttotheothergamersaboutthisworldoutside.005.YoucommunicatetofellowgamersinTheCave(tm)abouttheoutsideworldofwhichTheCave(tm)isjustashadow.Ortryto.Plato:"Andifthecave-dwellershadestablished,downthereinthecave,certainprizesanddistinctionsforthosewhoweremostkeen-sightedinseeingthepassingshadows,andwhowerebestabletorememberwhatcamebefore,andafter,andsimultaneouslywithwhat,thusbestabletopredictfutureappearancesintheshadow-world,willourreleasedprisonerhankeraftertheseprizesorenvythispowerorhonor?"Youbet!TheCave(tm)isaworldofpureagon,ofcompetitivestrivingafterdistinction.Butsupposeyouarethatrare,stray,thoughtfulgamerwhodecidestotrythisnewgameofgettingbeyondthegameagain?SupposeyouemergefromTheCave(tm)anddecidetotakestockoftheworldbeyond?YoufindthatthisotherworldisinsomecuriouswaysratherlikeTheCave(tm).Thepicsoffamily,themapofthe'hood,seemmadeofthesamedigitalstuffasyourfavoritesgamesinsideTheCave(tm).Ifthereisadifference,itmaynotbequitewhatitseems.006.HereiswhatyouobserveabouttheworldoutsideTheCave(tm):Thewholeoflifeappearsasavastaccumulationofcommoditiesandspectacles,ofthingswrappedinimagesandimagessoldasthings.Buthowaretheseimagesandthingsorganized,andwhatroledotheycallforanyoneandeveryonetoadopttowardsthem?Imagesappealasprizes,andcallustoplaythegameinwhichtheyareallthatisa
tstake.Youobservethatworldafterworld,caveaftercave,whatprevailsisthesameagon,thesamedigitallogicofoneversustheother,endinginvictoryordefeat.Agonyrules!Everythinghasvalueonlywhenrankedagainstanother;everyonehasvalueonlywhenrankedagainstanother.Everysituationiswin-lose,unlessitiswin-win-asituationwhereplayersarefreetocollaborateonlybecausetheyseekprizesindifferentgames.Therealworldappearsasavideoarcadiadividedintomanyandvariedgames.Workisaratrace.Politicsisahorserace.Theeconomyisacasino.Eventheutopianjusticetocomeintheafterlifeisforeclosed:Hewhodieswiththemosttoyswins.Gamesarenolongerapastime,outsideoralongsideoflife.Theyarenowtheveryformoflife,anddeath,andtime,itself.Thesegamesarenojoke.Whenthescreenflashesthelegendgameover,youareeitherdead,ordefeated,oratbestoutofquarters.007.Thegamehascolonizeditsrivalswithintheculturalrealm,fromthespectacleofcinematothesimulationsoftelevision.Storiesnolongeropiateuswithimaginaryreconciliationsofrealproblems.Thestoryjustrecountsthestepsbywhichsomeonebeatsomeoneelse-arealvictoryforimaginarystakes.Theonlyoriginalscreengenreoftheearly21stcenturyisnotcalled'realityTV'fornothing.Brenton&Cohen:"Bysigningtheirreleaseforms,contestantsagreetoendupasstatistics,eachplayer'sfeelingsandactionsmanipulated…leadingtoinfidelity,tears,perhapsheartbreak."Sure,realityTVdoesn'tlooklikereality,butthenneitherdoesreality.Bothlooklikegames.Bothbecomeaseamlessspaceinwhichgamerstesttheirabilitieswithincontrivedscenarios.Thesituationsmay
beartificial,thedialoguelessthanspontaneous,andthegamersmaymerelybedoingwhattheproducerstellthem.Allthisisperfectlyofapiecewitharealitywhichisitselfanartificialarena,whereeveryoneisalreadyagamer,waitingfortheirturn.008.Thegamehasnotjustcolonizedreality,itisalsothesoleremainingideal.Gamespaceproclaimsitslegitimacythroughvictoryoverallrivals.Thereigningideologyimaginestheworldasalevelplayingfield,uponwhichallmenareequalbeforeGod,thegreatgamedesigner.History,politics,culture-gamespacedynamiteseverythingwhichisnotinthegame,likeanout-datedVegascasino.Everythingisevacuatedfromanemptyspaceandtimewhichnowappearsnatural,neutralandwithoutqualities-agamespace.Thelinesareclearlymarked.Everyactionisjustameanstoanend.Allthatcountsisthescore.Asforwhoownstheteamsandwhorunstheleague,bestnottoask.Asforwhoisexcludedfromthebigleaguesandhighscores,bestnottoask.Asforwhokeepsthescoreandwhomakestherules,bestnottoask.Asforwhatrulingbodydoesthehandicappingandonwhatbasis,bestnottoask.Allisforthebestinthebest-andonly-possibleworld.Thereis-togiveitaname-amilitaryentertainmentcomplex,anditrules.Itstriumphsaffirmnotjusttherulesofthegamebuttheruleofthegame.009.Everythingthemilitaryentertainmentcomplextoucheswithitsgoldplatedoutputjacksturnstodigits.Everythingisdigitalandyetthedigitalisasnothing.Nohumancantouchit,smellit,tasteit.Itjustbeepsandblinksandreportsitselfinglowingalphanumerics,spoutingstockquotesonyourcellphone.Sure,theremaybevivid3Dgraphics.Theremaybepiechartsandbar
graphs.Theremaybeswirlsandwhorlsofbrightlycoloredpolygonsblazingfromscreentoscreen.Butthesearejustdecoration.Thejitterofyourthumbonthebuttonortheflickerofyourwristonthemouseconnectdirectlytoaninvisible,intangiblegamespaceofpurecontest,pureagon.Itdoesn'tmatterifyourcavecomesequippedwithaPlaystationorBloombergterminal.Itdoesn'tmatterwhetheryouthinkyouareplayingthebondmarketorGrandTheftAuto.Itisalljustanalgorithmwithenoughunknownstomakeagameofit.010.Oncegamesrequiredanactualplacetoplaythem,whetheronthechessboardorthetenniscourt.Evenwarshadbattlefields.Nowglobalpositioningsatellitesgridthewholeearthandputallofspaceandtimeinplay.Warfare,theysay,nowlookslikevideogames.Welldon'tkidyourself.Warisavideogame-forthemilitaryentertainmentcomplex.Tothemitdoesn'tmatterwhathappens'ontheground'.Theground-theold-fashionedbattlefielditself-isjustanecessaryexternalitytothegame.SlavojZizek:"Itisthusnotthefantasyofapurelyasepticwarrunasavideogamebehindcomputerscreensthatprotectsusfromtherealityofthefacetofacekillingofanotherperson;onthecontraryitisthisfantasyoffacetofaceencounterwithanenemykilledbloodilythatweconstructinordertoescapetheRealofthedepersonalizedwarturnedintoananonymoustechnologicaloperation."Eventhesoldierwhoseinadequatearmorfailedhim,shotdeadinanalleybyasniper,hashisdeath,likehislife,managedbyacomputerinablipoflogistics.011.Theoldclassantagonismshavenotgoneaway,butarehiddenbeneathlevelsofrank,whereeachagonizesovertheirworthagainstothersasmeasuredbythe
priceoftheirhouse,thesizeoftheirvehicleandwhere,perversely,workinglongerandlongerhoursisasignofwinningthegame.Workbecomesplay.Workdemandsnotjustone'smindandbodybutalsoone'ssoul.Youhavetobeateamplayer.Yourworkhastobecreative,inventive,playful-ludic,butnotludicrous.Workbecomesagamespace,butnogamesarefreelychosenanymore.Notleastforchildren,whoiftheyaretobethewinsomeoffspringofwin-allparents,findthemselvesdraftedintoendlesseveningshiftsofteamsport.Thepurposeofwhichistobuildcharacter.Whichcharacter?Thecharacterofthegoodsport.Characterforwhat?Fortheworkplace,withitsteamcamaraderieandpeerenforceddiscipline.Forothers,workisstilljustdull,repetitivework,butthedreamistoescapeintothecommerceofplay-tomakeitintothemajorleagues,orcompeteforrecorddealsasadivaoraplayaintherapgame.Andforstillothers,thereisonlythegameofsurvival.Biggie:"Eitheryou'reslingin'crackrockoryougotawickedjumpshot."Playbecomeseverythingtowhichitwasonceopposed.Itiswork,itisserious,itismorality,itisnecessity.012.Theoldidentitiesfadeaway.Nobodyhasthetime.Thegamerisnotinterestedinplayingthecitizen.ThelawisfineasaspectatorsportonCourtTV,butbeingacitizenjustinvolvesyouinendlessattemptstogetoutofjuryduty.Gotaproblem?TellittoJudgeJudy.Thegamerelectstochoosesidesonlyforthepurposeofthegame.ThisweekitmightbeastheGermansvs.theAmericans.Nextweekitmightbeasagangsteragainstthelaw.Ifthegamerchoosestobeasoldierandplaywithrealweapons,itisasanArmyofOne,testingandrefiningpersonalskillpoints.Theshrillandconsta
ntpatrioticnoiseyouhearthroughthespeakersmaskstheslowerosionofanycoherentfellowfeelingwithintheremnantsofnationalborders.Thisgamespaceescapesallcheckpoints.ItisanAmericawithoutqualities,foreveryoneandnobody.Allthatisleftofthenationisaneverywherethatisnowhere,anatopiaofnoisy,righteousvictoriesandquiet,sinisterfailures.Manifestdestiny-therighttorulethroughvirtue-giveswaytoitslatentdestiny-thevirtueofrightthroughrule.Civicvirtuedrownsinahurricaneofmeresurvivalism.013.Thegamerisnotreallyinterestedinfaith,althoughaheightenedrhetoricoffaithmayfillthevoidcarvedoutofthesoulbytheinsinuationsofgamespace.Thegamer'sGodisagamedesigner.Heimplantsineverythingahiddenalgorithm.Faithisamatteroftheintelligencetointuittheparametersofthisgeekdesignandscoreaccordingly.Allthatisrighteouswins;allthatwinsisrighteous.Tobealoseroralameristhemarkofdamnation.Whenyouareagamer,youareleftwithnothingtobelieveinbutyourownGod-givenabilities.Gamersconfronteachotheringamesofskillwhichrevealwhohasbeenchosenbythegameastheonewhohasmostfullyinternalizeditsalgorithm.Forthosewhodespairoftheirabilities,therearegamesofchance,wheregracerevealsitselfintherollofthedice.RogerCaillois:"Chanceiscourtedbecausehardworkandpersonalqualificationsarepowerlesstobringsuchsuccessabout."Thegamblermayknowwhatthegamer'sfaithrefusestocountenance.014.Outsideeachcaveisanothercave;beyondthegameisanothergame.Eachhasitsparticularrules;eachhasitsranksofhighscores.Isthatallthereis?Thegamerwholiftsaneyefromthetarge
trisksaparalyzingboredom.PaoloVirno:"Atthebaseofcontemporarycynicismisthefactthatmenandwomenlearnbyexperiencingrulesratherthan'facts'...Learningtherules,however,alsomeansrecognizingtheirunfoundednessandconventionality….Wenowfaceseveraldifferent'games',eachdevoidofallobviousnessandseriousness,onlythesiteofanimmediateself-affirmation--anaffirmationthatismuchmorebrutalandarrogant,muchmorecynical,themoreweemploy,withnoillusionsbutwithperfectmomentaryadherence,thoseveryruleswhoseconventionalityandmutabilitywehaveperceived."Eachgameendsinasummarydecision:That'sHot!Orifnot,You'reFired!GotquestionsaboutqualitiesofBeing?Whatever.015.Sothisistheworldasitappearstothegamer:amatrixofendlesslyvaryinggames-agamespace-allreducibletothesameprinciples,allproducingthesamekindofsubjectwhobelongstothisgamespaceinthesameway-asagamertoagame.Whatwoulditmeantoliftone'seyefromthetarget,topauseonthetrigger,tounclenchone'sever-clickingfinger?IsitevenpossibletothinkoutsideTheCave(tm)?Perhapswiththetriumphofgamespace,whatthegamerastheoristneedsistoreconstructthedeletedfilesonthosewhothoughtpureplaycouldbearadicaloption,whoopposedgamespacewiththeirrevolutionaryplaydates.TheSituationists,forexample.RaoulVaneigem:"Subversion…isanallembracingreinsertionofthingsintoplay.Itistheactwherebyplaygraspsandreunitesbeingsandthingshithertofrozensolidinahierarchyoffragments."Play,yes,butthegame-no.GuyDebord:"IhavescarcelybeguntomakeyouunderstandthatIdon'tintendtoplaythegame."Nowtherewasap
layerunconcernedwithanexitstrategy.016.'Play'wasonceagreatsloganofliberation.RichardNeville:"Thenewbeautifulfreakswillteachusallhowtoplayagain(andthey'llsuffersociety'spenal
ty)."PlaywasoncethebatteringramtobreakdowntheChinesewallsofalienatedwork,ofdividedlabor.Onlylookatwhathasbecomeofplay.Playisnolongeracountertowork.Playbecomeswork;workbecomesplay.Playoutsideofworkfounditselfcapturedbytheriseofthedigitalgame,whichrespondstotheboredomoftheplayerwithendlessroundsofrepetition,levelafterlevelofdifferenceasmoreofthesame.Playnolongerfunctionsasafoilforacriticaltheory.Theutopiandreamofliberatingplayfromthegame,ofapureplaybeyondthegame,merelyopenedthewayfortheextensionofgamespaceintoeveryaspectofeverydaylife.Whilethecounter-culturewantedworldsofplayoutsidethegame;themilitaryentertainmentcomplexcounteredinturnbyexpandingthegametothewholeworld,containingplayforeverwithinit.017.Evencriticaltheory,whichoncetookitsdistancefromdamagedlife,becomesanothergame.Applytotoprankedschools.Findagoodcoach.Pickarisingsubfield.Proveyourabilities.Getyourselfpublished.Getsomegrants.Getajob.Getanotherjoboffertoestablishyourlevelandbargainwithyourcurrentemployer.Keepyournosecleanandgettenure.Youwon!Nowyoucanplay!Nowyoucandowhatyouwanted,secretly,allthoseyearsago…Onlynowyoucan'tremember.Youbecameawin-winSituationist.Yourcriticaltheorybecamehypocriticaltheory.Itisagainsteverythinginthewholewideworldexceptthegamespacethatmadeitpossible.Butgamespaceisnowtheveryformoftheworld,
andthisworldeludedyourthoughtevenasitbroughthometheglitteringprizes.Itisgamespacethatwon.Thehypocriticaltheorist,inanagonyoffitfulsleep,dreamsofmeetingtheghostofGuyDebord,andproudlycitesalistofachievements:IvyLeaguejob,bookdeals,grants,promotion,tenure,recognitionwithinthehighestranksofthedisciplinaryguild.TheghostofDebordsighs:"Solittleambitioninonesoyoung."018.Whatthenhasthegamerseeninthatbrightworld,thatgamespace,beyondTheCave(tm)?Youseepeoplehunchedoverscreens,theirhandscompulsivelyjerkingcontrollers.Eachsitsalone,andtalksortextstounseenothers,dazzledbyimagesthatseemtocomefromnowhere,awashinpulsingandbeepingsounds.Nooneouthereinthe'realworld'reallylooksallthatdifferenttothestereotypicalgamer,thumbjitteringonthecontroller.Nowyouareanenlightenedgamer,youseehowtheworldbeyondthegamesofTheCave(tm)seemslikeanarrayofmoreorlesssimilarcaves,alldigital,eachanagonwithitsownrules,somearbitraryblendofchanceandcompetition.Andbeyondthat?Notmuch.Therealhasbecomeamereepiphenomenonwithoutwhichgamespacecannotexist,butwhichislosing,bitbybit,anyformorsubstanceorspiritorhistorythatisnotsuckedintoandtransformedbygamespace.Beyondgamespaceappearonlythespentfragmentsofnamelessforms.019.GamertheorystartswiththesuspensionoftheassumptionsofTheCave(tm),thatthereisamorerealworldbeyondit,somewhere,andthatsomeone-somepriestorprofessor-knowswhereitis.Thegamerarrivesatthebeginningsofareflectivelife,agamertheory,bysteppingoutofTheCave(tm)--andreturningtoit.(SeeFig.1)Ifthegame
ristoholdgamespacetoaccountintermsofsomethingotherthanitself,itmightnotbethatmereshadowofashadowofthereal,murky,formless,thatlurkslikearesidueinthecorners.Itmightinsteadbethegameproper,asitisplayedinTheCave.(tm)GrandTheftAuto,maybe,orDeusEx.Hereatleastthegameshadowstheidealformofthealgorithm.Hereatleastthedigitallogictowhichgamespacemerelyaspiresisactuallyrealized.Thechallengeis-ah,buteventophraseitthusistoacknowledgethegame-toplayatplayitself,butfromwithinthegame.Thegamerastheoristhastochoosebetweentwostrategiesforplayingagainstgamespace.Oneistoplayforthereal.(Taketheredpill).Buttherealseemsnothingbutaheapofbrokenimages.Theotheristoplayforthegame(Takethebluepill).Playwithinthegame,butagainstgamespace.Beludic,butalsolucid.020.Foragamertobeatheoristmightnotrequiretheabilitytoplayanyparticulargameespeciallywell.Theprizeshavenothingtodowiththinkingthegame.Normightitbetheabilitytodismissthegameasunrealinthenameofsomesupposedlymoresolidlygroundedoutside.What?Theseluminouspixelsarenotreal,yousay?Thenneitherisyourworld.Ifanything,TheCave(tm)seemstobewheretheforms,theideas,theabstractionsbehindthemereappearanceofthingsintheoutsideworldcanbefound.Whethergamespaceismorerealornotthansomeotherworldisnotthequestion.Thateveninitsunrealityitmayhaverealeffectsonotherworlds-is.Gamesarenotrepresentationsofthisworld.Theyaremorelikeallegoriesofaworldmadeoverasgamespace.Theyencodetheabstractprinciplesuponwhichdecisionsabouttherealnessofthisorthatworldaredecided.021
.Hereistheguidingprincipleofafutureutopia,nowlongpast:"Toeachaccordingtohisneeds;fromeachaccordingtohisabilities."Ingamespace,whatdowehave?Anatopia,aplaceless,senselessrealm,wherequiteadifferentmaximrules:"Fromeachaccordingtotheirabilities-toeacharankandscore."Needsnolongerenterintoit.Notevendesirematters.Uncriticalgamersdonotwinwhattheydesire;theydesirewhattheywin.Thescoreisthething.Therestisagony.Thegamerastheoristatfirstsightseemstohaveacquiredanabilitythatcountsfornothingingamespace.Thegamerastheoristmightbeginwithanindifferencetodistinction,toallthatthegamespaceprizes.Youdoesnotplaythegametowin(ornotjusttowin).Youtriflewithit-playingwithstyletounderstandthegameasaform.Youtriflewiththegametounderstandthenatureofgamespaceasaworld-astheworld.Youtriflewiththegametodiscoverinwhatwaygamespacefallsshortofitsself-proclaimedperfection.Thedigitalgameplaysupeverythingthatgamespacemerelypretendstobe:afairfight,alevelplayingfield,freecompetition.022.Nowonderdigitalgamesaretheemergentculturalformofthetimes.Thetimeshavethemselvesbecomejustaseriesoflessandlessperfectgames.TheCave(tm)presentsgamesinapurestate,asarealmwherejustice-ofasort-reigns.Thebeginningsofacriticaltheoryofgames-agamertheory-mightlienotinholdinggamesaccountableasfailedrepresentationsoftheworld,butquitethereverse.Theworldoutsideisagamespacethatappearsasanimperfectformofthecomputergame.ThegamerisanarcheologistofTheCave(tm).Thecomputergamesthegamerfindstherearetheruins,notofalostpast,butof
alostfuture.Gamespaceisbuiltontheruinsofafutureitproclaimsintheoryyetdisavowsinpractice.Totheextentthatthegamerastheoristwantstohackor'mod'thegame,itistoplayevenmoreintimatelywithinit.Thegamerastheoristisnotouttobreakthegame.Thepointisnottoreducethegametotheleveloftheimperfectworldoutsideit.Likeanyarcheologist,thegamerastheoristtreatstheseruinsofthefuturewithobsessivecareandattentiontotheirpreservation,nottheirdestruction.023.Gamespaceneedstheorists-butalsoanewkindofpractice.Onethatcanbreakdownthelinethatdividesgamerfromdesigner,toredeploythedigitalsothatitmakesthisverydistinctionarbitrary.Itisacharacteristicofgamestorenderdigitaldecisionsonallshadesofdifference.Oneeitherwinsorloses.Oneeitherhitsormisses.Thepracticeofthegamerastheoristmightbetoreinstallwhatisundecidablebackintothegamespacewhoseprimaryviolencehasnothingtodowithbrightlycoloredexplosionsormountingdeathcounts,butwiththedecisionbydigitalfiatonwhereeverythingbelongsandhowitisranked.LarsSvendsen:"Howboringlifewouldbewithoutviolence!"Therealviolenceofgamespaceisitsdicingofeverythinganalogintothedigital,cuttingcontinuumsintobits.Thatgamespresentthedigitalinitsmostpureformarereasonenoughtoembracethem,forhereviolenceisatitsmostextreme-anditsmostharmless.024.Ofallthekindsofbelongingthatcontendforallegiance-asworkersagainsttheboss,ascitizensagainsttheenemy,asbelieversagainsttheinfidel-allnowhavetocompetewithonewhichmakesagonitsfirstandonlyprinciple.Gamespacewantsusalltobelievewearenothingbu
tgamersnow,competingnotagainstenemiesofclassorfaithornation,butonlyagainstothergamers.Anewhistoricalpersonastalkstheearth.Alloftheprevioussuchpersonahadmanybreviariesandmanuals,andsothislittlebookseekstoofferguidanceforthinkingwithinthisnewpersona.AnABCoftheoryforgamers.Notastrategyguide,acheatsheetorawalk-throughforhowtoimproveone'sscoreorhoneone'striggerfinger.Aprimer,rather,inthinkingaboutaworldmadeoverasagamespace,madeoverasanimperfectcopyofthegame.Thegamemightnotbeutopia,butitmightbetheonlythingleftwithwhichtoplayagainstgamespace.025.NowondergamerschoosetospendtheirtimeholedupinTheCave(tm).Hereatleastthetargetsreallyareonlypolygons,andtheprizesreallyareworthless,merecolorsandnumbers.Thesearenottheleastofitsmerits.AndyetTheCave(tm)isaworldyoucanneitherownnorcontrol.Eventhissubstituteforutopiaisinsomeoneelse'spossession.Thedigitalgameisbothanalmostutopianalternativetogamespaceanditsmostpureproduct.Orwas.Perhapsthegameiscollapsingbackintobusinessasusual.Perhapsthesingle-playergamewillbecomeananachronism,supercededbymultiplayerworldsasvenalandbenightedastherestofgamespace.Perhaps,likesilentcinema,thestand-alonegamewillbeanorphanedform.PerhapsgamedesignerssuchasWillWrightandTetsuyaMizogushiwillbetheSergeiEisensteinsandDzigaVertovsofalostart.Perhaps,inthismomentofeclipse,theclassicgameshavesomethingtoshowus.Sobyallmeansnecessary,beagamer,butbeagamerwhothinks-andacts-withaviewtorealizingtherealpotentialsofthegame,inandagainstthisworldmadeoverasag
amespace.Onemightstartwiththecuriousgapbetweenthegamesonelovesandaneverydaylifewhich,bythelightofthegame,seemscuriouslysimilar,andyetsomehowlacking.Allegory(onTheSims)Fig.2026.Benjamingetsupinthemorning.Hegoestothetoilet.Heleavestheseatup.Heshowersandfixesbreakfast.Hereadsthepaper.Hefindsajob-asaTestSubject-startingtomorrow.It'snotmuch,buttimesarehard.Hereadsabook,andthenanother.Hefixeslunch,naps,readsagain.Hegoestobed.Hegetsup.Toilet,shower,breakfastagain.Hedoesnotmakehisbed.Hegoestowork.Hecomeshome,preparesanothermeal.HetalkstohisroommateBertabit.Hannahdropsby.Heflirtswithhersome.Hegoestobed,getsup,doesthewholethingalloveragain.027.Daysgoby.Notmuchchanges.Hiscookingimproves.Hemakesnewfriends-Ted,Gersholm,Asja.Theydropbysometimes;sometimeshevisits.Thereisthenewfurniture.Thatmakeshimabithappier,butnotmuch.HegetsapromotiontoLabAssistant.It'sthenightshift,butthepayisbetter.ThenhemakesFieldResearcherandisbackworkingregularhours.AfterawhilehebecomesaScholar.Heissocreative,butithelpstohavefriendsifyouwanttogetahead.HeaspirestobeingaTheorist.Thepayisbetter.Andthehours.HedreamsofyachtsandbigscreenTVs.BenjaminisaSim,acharacterinagamecalledTheSims.Onecouldbeforgivenforimaginingthiswassomebody'slife.028.InTheSims,youcreatecharacterslikeBenjamin,buildandfurnishhomesforthem,findthemjobsandfriends.Allinaworldwithoutasky.PerhapsagamelikeTheSimscouldbeaparodyofeverydaylifein'consumersociety'.Benjaminandhisfriendsdreamofthings.Thingsmakethemhappy.Theyfindanice
sofasomuchmorerelaxingthanacheapone.Asthegame'sdesignerWillWrightsays:"Ifyousitthereandbuildabigmansionthat'sallfullofstuff,withoutcheating,yourealizethatalltheseobjectsendupsuckingupallyourtime,whenalltheseobjectshadbeenpromisingtosaveyoutime.…Andit'sactuallykindofaparodyofconsumerism,inwhichatsomepointyourstufftakesoveryourlife."Othersdisagree.GamescholarGonzaloFrasca:"Certainly,thegamemaybemakingfunofsuburbanAmericans,butsinceitrewardstheplayereverytimeshebuysnewstuff,Idonotthinkthiscouldbeconsideredparody."InTheSims,characterscanhavelotsofdifferentjobs,butasFredricJamesonsays:"parodyfindsitselfwithoutavocation"029.PerhapsagamelikeTheSimscouldbeanallegoryforeverydaylifeingamespace.Intheallegoricalmode,saysWalterBenjamin:"Anyperson,anyobject,anyrelationshipcanmeanabsolutelyanythingelse.Withthispossibilityadestructivebutjustverdictcanbepassedontheprofaneworld:itischaracterizedasaworldinwhichthedetailisofnogreatimportance."ForBenjamin,thefragmentingofthemodernworldbytechnique,theprofusionofcommoditiesthatwellupintheabsenceofacoherentwhole,findsitsexpressioninallegory,whichfragmentsthingsstillfurther,shatteringtheillusionofbourgeoisorder,revealingthemeansbywhichitismade."Whatresiststhemendacioustransfigurationofthecommodityworldisitsdistortionintoallegory."Andyetthispossibilitytooseemsexhausted.ThefragmentingofthefragmentedseemsroutinetoaSim.Nootherworldseemspossible.030.PerhapsagamelikeTheSimsisnotjustanallegorybutalsoan'allegorithm.'Tobeagamer
isaslightlydifferentpersonatobeingareaderoraviewer.LevManovich:"Astheplayerproceedsthroughthegame,shegraduallydiscoverstherulesthatoperateintheuniverseconstructedbythisgame."AlexGalloway:"Toplaythegamemeanstoplaythecodeofthegame.Towinmeanstoknowthesystem.Andthustointerpretagamemeanstointerpretitsalgorithm(todiscoveritsparallelallegorithm)."Whatisdistinctiveaboutgamesisthattheyproduceforthegameranintuitiverelationtothealgorithm.Theintuitiveexperienceandtheorganizingalgorithmtogetherareanallegorithmforafuturethatingamespaceisforeverpromisedbutnevercomestopass.Theallegorithmbywhichthegamerrelatestothealgorithmproducesaquiteparticularallegorybywhichgamerandalgorithmtogetherrelatetogamespace.Inagameanycharacter,anyobject,anyrelationshipcanbegivenavalue,andthatvaluecanbediscovered.Withthispossibilityachallengingbutfairverdictcanbepassedontheprofaneworld:itischaracterizedasaworldinwhichanyvalueisarbitrary,yetitsvalueanditsrelationtoothervaluescanbediscoveredthroughtrialanderror.031.Analgorithm-forcurrentpurposes-isafinitesetofinstructionsforaccomplishingsometask,whichtransformsaninitialstartingconditionintoarecognizableendcondition.GregCostikyan:"Algorithmicgamesareonesinwhichunderlyingcalculationsorrulesdeterminethegame'sresponsetotheplayer'sinput."TherecipesthatBenjaminandotherSimslearnfromthecookbooksontheirbookshelvesarealgorithms.Benjamin'scareerasaTheoristisalsoanalgorithm.Thereisastartcondition:hemusthave8friends,4charismapoints,a7increativity,
andsoon.Ithasendconditions,too.With10friends,5charismapointsand10forcreativity,theTheoristcareercanend,andanotherbegin.Thegamerselectsonesequenceafteranother,andgraduallylearnswhattheydo-that'salgorithm.Thegamerdiscoversarelationshipbetweenappearancesandalgorithminthegamewhichisadoubleoftherelationbetweenappearancesandaputativealgorithmingamespace-that'sallegorithm.(SeeFig.2)Butthereisalwaysagapbetweentheintuitivelyknowablealgorithmofthegameandthepassing,uneven,unfairsemblanceofanalgorithmintheeverydaylifeofgamespace-thisistheformthatallegorynowtakes.032.Theimagesandstoriesthatpopulategamesaremostlycribbedfromsomeothermedia,fromnovels,filmsortelevision.Gamesmostlyjustrecycle,or'remediate',bitsofrepresentationfromothermedia.Bolter&Grusin:"remediationisadefiningcharacteristicofthenewdigitalmedia."Andhencenotspecifictogames.Fromthepointofviewofrepresentation,thegameisalwaysinadequatetoeverydaylife.ASiminTheSimsisasimpleanimatedcharacter,withfewfacialfeaturesorexpressions.InTheSims2theyseemalittlemorelifelike,buttheimprovementoftherepresentationinsomeparticularwaysonlyraisesthestandardsbywhichitappearstofallshortinothers.Fromthepointofviewofallegorithm,itallseemsmoretheotherwayaround.Everydaylifeingamespaceseemsanimperfectversionofthegame.Thegamespaceofeverydaylifemaybemorecomplexandvariegated,butitseemsmuchlessconsistent,coherentandfair.Perhapsthiswasalwaystheatopianpromiseofthedigital-arealofabsolute,impersonalequityandequanimity.Thegameopensacri
ticalgapbetweenwhatgamespacepromisesandwhatitdelivers.Whatistrueisnotreal;whatisrealisnottrue.Thisiswhatthedoublemovementofallegorithmandallegoryhavetoreport.Thegameistrueinthatitsalgorithmisconsistent,butthisveryconsistencynegatesaworldthatisnot.033.ImaginethatBenjamin,ourcharacterinTheSims,makesittothepenultimatelevelandbecomesaTheorist.Perhapsthenyoubuyhimacomputerbecauseheseemsboredwithreading.Whatwouldhedowithit?PlayTheSims,ofcourse.BeingaTheorist,perhapshestartstothinkaboutit.Perhapshejotssomethinglikethisinhisnotebook:"Thegamerwhoselistlessgazefallsonthecontrollerinhishandisreadyfortheallegorithm.Boredomisthebasisoftheallegorithmicinsightintotheworld.Boredomlayswastetotheappealofthegameasgame,andcallsattentiontotheambiguousrelationofgametogamespace.Allegorithmicperceptionisn-dimensional,itintuitsbehindappearancesinteractionsofmanyvariables.Theallegorithmicmodeofapprehensionisalwaysbuiltonanevaluativerelationtotheworldofappearances.Moreandmorerelentlessly,theeverydaylifeofgamersiscomingtoweartheexpressionofgamespace.Atthesametime,gamespaceseekstodisguisetheungamelikecharacterofthings.Whatheightensthemendacioustransformationofgamespaceisitsappearanceinanundistortedforminthegame.Still,gamespacewantstolookitselfintheface.Itcelebratesitsincarnationinthegamer."034.Inthegamer,Benjaminmightsay,isrebornthesortofidlerthatSocratespickedoutfromtheAthenianmarketplacetobehisinterlocutor."Only,thereisnolongeraSocrates,sothereisnoonetoaddresstheidler.An
dtheslavelaborthatguaranteedhimhisleisurehaslikewiseceasedtoexist."InTheSims,asingamespace,onewondersiftheidlerhasdisappearedalso.ThereisnoidletimeinTheSims,orinthegamespaceofwhichitisthemoreperfectdouble.ThequartzheartofthecomputeronwhichTheSimsrunsticksoverremorselessly.Allofitsmomentsareequivalent,andsotoo,inaway,areallmomentsinTheSims.Sleeping,napping,conversationorreadingalladvanceone'sscores.Benjaminhastogotobedtogetupagaintogotoworktoearntherighttosleep,anddream,again.035.Tobeagameristocometounderstandingthroughquantifiablefailure.ThebargraphsmeasuringBenjamin'sbeingtrendnegativeandrefusetobudge.YouaretoobusyelsewheretogetBenjamintothetoiletontime,andhepeeshimself.Heneedssleep,heneedslove,heneedsanewkitchen.Heturnstofaceyou,thegamer,andgestureswildly,asifcursinghisGod.Whenthingsweregoingwell,youforgottosavethegame,sothereisnobettertimetogobackto.Nothingforitbuttoworkwithwhatyouhave,orquitandstartagain.Thegameisaknowablealgorithmfromwhichyouknowyoucanescape;gamespaceisanunknownalgorithmfromwhichthereisnoescape.Thegameisjustlikethegamespaceofeverydaylife,exceptthatthegamecanovercometheviolenceoftime.Thegametiesupthatonelooseendwithwhichgamespacestruggles-themortalflawofanirreversibletime.NowondertheSimturnsinvaintothegamerasaGod,foritisthegamerwhohasturnedtowardthegameasamessianic,reversibletime.036.GamersarenotalwaysgoodGods.It'ssuchatemptationtosetupaSimtosuffer.Deprivethemofaknowledgeofcookingandprettysoontheysetfiretothemselves.Buildah
ousewithoutdoorsorwindowsandtheys
tarve.Watchasthealgorithmworksitselfouttoitsterminalstate,thebargraphsslidingdowntonothing.Thisviolenceisnot'real'.Simsarenotpeople.Theyareimages.Theyareimagesinaworldwhichappearsasavastaccumulationofimages.Hencethepleasureindestroyingimages,todemonstrateagainandagaintheirworthlessness.Theycanmeananythingandnothing.Theyhavenosavingpower.Buteventhoughtheimagesaremeaningless,thealgorithmstillfunctions.Itassigns,ifnotmeaning,ifnotveracity,ifnotnecessity,thenatleastascoretorepresentations.InTheSimstheworldofgamespaceisredeemedbyprovidingforitsmyriadthingsthealgorithmthattheylacktoformconsistentrelations.037.TheSimwhosuffersturnstofaceitsgamer,lookingouttowardanabsentsky,appealingdirectly,beyondtheframeofthegameitself.Thegamermaynotanswer,ormaynotbeabletoanswer.ThegamerasGodsuffersfromanapparentlysimilaralgorithmiclogicastheSim.TheSimscomeswiththeologicaloptions.Turnon'freewill'andSimsstrayfromthepowersoftheirmaker.Turnitoffandtheiractionsarepredestined,butevenso,thegamer-godquicklyfindsthatthealgorithmisahigherpowerthatthepoweronecommands.ShouldthegamebegoingbadlyfortheSim,itturnstofacethegamer;shouldthegamebegoingbadlyforthegamer,thereisnooneforthegamertoturnawayandface.TheSimwhoaddressesahelpless,hopelessorlostGodlivesouttheallegoryofgamespaceitself.AtleasttheSimhassomeonetoturnto.Whocanthegamerturnto?Perhapsyoucanseenowthereasonforthepopularity,amongthosetroubledbygamespacebutlackingaconcepttoaccountforit,ofapers
onalGodwhocanperformmiracles,wh
ocanbreaktherulesofHisownalgorithm.038.Asagameryoucanhavenosenseofworthandnofaithinsalvationotherthanthroughyourownefforts.Butthoseeffortsarefraught,andyouaresoonlostinthemazeofthegame.Thegamerachievesworththroughvictoriesofcharacter;butthatcharacterinevitablyfacesdefeatinturn.Orworse.Theonlythingworsethanbeingdefeatedisbeingundefeated.Forthenthereisnothingagainstwhichtosecuretheworthofthegamerotherthantofindanothergame.Onegameleadstothenext.It'sthesameforBenjamin.AfterTheoristcomesMadScientistandafterthat-nothing.Startover.Pickanewcareer.Getanexpansionpack.Trysomenewlives.StartasaPlaygroundMonitor,becomeaTeacher,aProfessor,gettenure,risetoDean,thefinally,MinisterofEducation.StartasaNobody,workingfortips.BecomeanInsider,aNameDropper,aSellOut,aPlayer,aCelebrity,thenfinally,aSuperstar.Butthesearejustarbitrarynamesforseriesoflevels.Anyqualitativedifferencebetweenlevelsisjustaneffectofanunderlyingquantity.Ahigherlevelisessentiallymorethanalowerlevel.Andsothere'snowheretogobuttomore,andmore,untilthereisnomore,andthegamer,likethecharacter,isleftwithnothing.Thefruitofthedigitalistheexpulsionofqualityfromtheworld.That'sgamespace.Theconsolationofthegameisthatatleastthisexpulsionisabsolute.039.OriginalSimscanbeanymixoftwogendersandthreecolors.InTheSims2youstartwithpresettemplates(Caucasian,AfricanAmerican,Chinese,Persian-andElf)alterableviaalotofsub-sliders.Youchoosegender,age,color,hairstyleandcolor,eyecolor,weight,height,
glasses,hats,accessories,clothe
s,andsoon,buttheseexternalattributesaremerelyaskin.Theydonotreallyaffectthegame.Theslidingvariablesofcharacter,however,doprograminadvancewhatcareersaSimcanexcelat,andwhichpasttimesrestorefaculties.InSims2,theymaybestraightorgay.Again,itmakesnodifference.Eitherwaytheiroffspringmixthe'genetic'characterqualitiesoftheirparents.Theexternalrepresentationsareofnoaccount;theinternalvariablesdeterminepotential.The'skin'isarbitrary,adifferencewithoutadistinction,meredecoration.Underneathitliesacodewhichisall.TheSims2iscommittedbothtoageneticviewofintrinsicnatureandaliberalviewoftheequality,andhenceindifference,ofextrinsicappearances.040.InTheSims,thingsproliferate.Orrather,theskinsofthings.Youcanhavemanydifferentkindsofsofa,orcoffeetable,orlampshade,butthemeterisrunning,sotospeak.Youhavetomakemoremoneytobuymorethings.ButsomegamerswhoplayTheSimstriflewiththegameratherthanplayit.Thesegamersarenotinterestedin'winning'thegame,theyareinterestedindetails,infurniture,ortellingstories,orcreatinginterestingworlds.Ifacheatissomeonewhoignoresthespaceofagametocutstraighttoitsobjective,thenthetriflerissomeonewhoignorestheobjectivetolingerwithinitsspace.BernardSuits:"Triflersrecognizerulesbutnotgoals,cheatsrecognizegoalsbutnotrules."TheSimslendsitselftoplaythattransformsitfromaworldofnumberbacktoaworldofmeaning.Algorithmbecomesamorestableplatformthanthevicissitudesofgamespaceforcreatingasuburbanworldofprettythings.Butintriflingwiththegam
e,thegamerstrugglestoescapebored
omandproducedifference-andfindsthatthistoohaslimits.StevenPoole:"Youmustlearnthesequencestheprogrammershavebuiltintothegame-and,okay,therearehundredsofthem,butthatdoesnotconstitutefreedom."Gamesredeemgamespacebyofferingaperfectunfreedom,aconsistentsetofconstraints.041.Allegoryisabouttherelationofsigntosign;allegorithmisabouttherelationofsigntonumber.Signsdon'topentorevealchainsofothersigns,pointinginalldirections.Orrather,itisnolongerofanyimportancewhatsignsreveal.Theybillowandfloat,poolandgather,arbitraryanduseless.Thereisnowaytoredeemthem.Butsignsnowpointtosomethingelse.Theypointtonumber.Andnumberinturnpointstothealgorithm,whichtransformsonenumberintoanother.Outofthebitrotofsigns,gamesmakeallegorithms.Thesignspointtonumbers,thenumberstoalgorithms,thealgorithmstoallegorithmsofeverydaylifeingamespace,wheresignslikewisearedevalued,arbitrary,butcanstillstandasallegoriesoftheonethingthatstillmakessense,forthelogicofthedigital.042.Allegorybecomesadoublerelation:ontheoneside,thereistherelationofgamertoalgorithminthegame,itsallegorithm;ontheother,thereistherelationofallegorithmtoeverydaylifeingamespace.Inrelationtogamespace,thegameitselfworksasanescapefromtheagonyofeverydaylife,wherethestakesarerealanduncertain,totheunrealstakesofapuregame.Butthegamecanalsoworkasacritique,inturn,oftheunrealityofthestakesofgamespaceitself.WhenSimsdevoteesassignvaluestonon-existentfurniture,trulytheideaofeconomic'utility'haslostallmeanin
g.Thegamecanalsoworkasanatopia,wh
ereplayisfreefromwork,fromnecessity,fromseriousness,frommorality.KillyourSims,ifyouwantto.Playherehasnolawbutthealgorithm.Andyetthereisatensionbetweenthegameandgamespace.Therelationbetweenthemisatonceanaloganddigital,bothacontinuumandasharpbreak.Thegamerstrugglestomakeofthegameaseparateworld,forescape,forcritique,foratopianplay,andyetgamespaceinsinuatesitselfintothegame.043.Startover:BenjaminbeginsasaBetaTester,becomesaHacker,andfinallyaGameDesigner.AfterthatyouaresupposedtoleveluptoVentureCapitalistthenfinallyInformationOverlord.Butsomethinggoeswrongalongtheway.Benjamin'sgamedesigncompanygoesbroke.Thewholeindustryisconsolidating.SoBenjamingoestoworkforamuchbiggergamecompany.Hestartswork.It'samildsortof'crunch'time-normalwhenthere'saprojectwithadeadline.Benjaminisworkingeighthours,sixdaysaweek.Theprojectisonschedule,soitsnotsobad.It'stemporary.HecomplainsabittoAsja.Thedeadlineforendingthecrunchcomesandgoes.Andanother.Thenthehoursgetlonger.Benjaminisworkingtwelvehours,sixdaysaweek.Benjamin'sbargraphsslideintothered.Thentherealcrunchtimebegins.Benjaminisworkingsevendaysaweek,"withtheoccasionalSaturdayeveningoffforgoodbehavior."044.Youcouldbeforgivenforthinkingthisisjustagame,butitissomebody'slife-asreportedinawidelycirculatedtextwrittenbyEASpouse.EA,orElectronicArts,isagamecompanybestknownforitsMaddensportsgames,butwhichalsowhichownsMaxis,whichmakesTheSims.EA'sslogan:ChallengeEverything-everythingexceptEA,ofcourse
-orthegapbetweengameandgamespace.In
thegamespaceofcontemporarylabor,thingsarenotlikethemeasuredprogressionuptheranksofTheSims.InTheSims,BenjamincouldworkhiswayfromGameDesignertoInformationOverlordmuchthesamewayashehadworkedupthelevelsbelow.AtElectronicArts,thingsaredifferent.BeinganInformationOverlordlikeEA'sLarryProbstrequiresanarmyofBenjaminswithnothingtoworkwithbuttheirskillsasgamedesignersandnowheretogothantoanotherfirmwhichmayormaynotcrunchitsworkersjustashard.Asthemilitaryentertainmentcomplexconsolidatesintoahandfulofbigfirms,itsqueezesoutallbutafewnicheplayers.Gamespaceishereapoorimitationofitsowngame.045.Startoveragain:ThistimeBenjaminbeginsasaBucketRunner.HequicklyworkshimselfuptoColtanMiner.Coltan?Whatiscoltan?QuitTheSimsforamoment.PopthecoveroffyourPlaystationoryourlaptoporcellphone.Youarelookingatstuffthathascomefromallovertheworld-broughttogetherbyagloballogistics.InthegutsofyourmachineyoumayspotsomecapacitorsmadebyKemet,ormaybesemiconductorsfromIntel.Theseprobablycontaintantalum,amarvelousconductorofelectricity,alsoverygoodwithheat.Theywerequitepossiblymadewithcoltan(shortforcolumbite-tantalite)dugoutofthegroundintheCongo,wherethere'splentyofcoltan,fromwhichtantalumisrefined.TheOkapiFaunalReserveintheCongoishometogorillas,monkeysandelephantsaswellastheokapi,ararerelativeofthegiraffe.ThousandsofMbuti,orpygmies,alsolivethere.Theirlivelihoodiscompromisedbythecoltanminers,whodigwhatonejournalistcalled"SUV-sizedholes"inthemud,outofwhich
theycanextractaboutakiloofcoltanaday.
Akiloofcoltanwasworth$80duringthetechnologyboom.Therewasaworldshortageofthestuff,whichevendelayedthereleaseoftheSonyPlaystation2.046.TheCongoisarguablytheregioninwhichthe'greatgame'ofcolonialexploitationhasdonethemostharmandconferredtheleastbenefits.TheCongo'sfirstdemocraticleader,PatriceLumumba,wasoustedinaCIAsponsoredcoupthatbroughttopowerthenotoriousMobutuSeseSeku.WiththecollapseoftheMobuturegime,therewascivilwar,andlittleelse.Oneofthethingsthatkeptthecivilwargoingwasthecoltan.Coltanbothfueledthewar,andacceleratedthedestructionofwildlifehabitats.Andsothemilitaryentertainmentcomplex,withpreciousbrandstoprotect,didn'twantprotestmovementssullyingtheirreputationsbycallingattentiontoallthegorillascoltankills,ortheguerrillasitfeeds.Themilitaryentertainmentcomplexwouldliketobelieve,andwouldlikeyoutobelieve,thatgamespaceisnotaNietzschianstruggleofnakedforces,beyondgoodandevil,butaclean,welllighted,rule-governedgame.047."KemetrequiresitssupplierstocertifythattheircoltanoredoesnotoriginatefromCongoorborderingcountries."Motorolasaysmuchthesame:"Webelievewehavedoneasmuchasanyreasonablecompanycoulddobymandatingcompliancefromoursuppliersonthisimportantissue."OutiMikkonen,communicationsmanagerforenvironmentalaffairsatNokiaisalittlemoresanguine:"Allyoucandoisask,andiftheysayno,webelieveit."ThebadpublicityaroundCongocoltanisgoodnewsfortheAustraliancompanySonsofGwalia,whichprovidesmuchoftheworldsupply.ThedestructionofAustr
alianhabitatsseemssomehowlesspicturesque.Nogorillasorgiraffesareinvolved.Thisisthewayitsplayedingamespace.It'sallseparatecaves,withdimreportsofeachother.Byallmeans,savethegorillasandokapi,butitdoesn'tchangetheequation.048.Thelinetha
tconnectsgamespacetogamealsodividesonefromtheother.There'snogettingawayfromthematerialsthatmakeitpossibletoownaPlaystationconsoleoracomputerwithIntelInside.There'snogettingawayfromthelaborthatmakesitpossibletorunTheSimsonyourmachine.Benjamin:"Thereisnodocumentofculturewhichisnotatthesametimeadocumentofbarbarism."Benjamin(theSim):"Thereisnorealmofthepuredigitwhichdoesnotbetraythehandmarkedwithmuckandblood,somewhere."Andyetthewholepointofagameisitsseparation,thelinedividingitfromgamespaceandenclosingitinaselfcontained,algorithmicworldofitsown.ToBenjamin-theBenjaminwhoisaSim-everythingoutsideTheSimsisjustmetaphysics.Thedoublerelationofallegoryandallegorithmisanintimatelinealternatelyconnectingandseparatinggamefromgamespace.049.TheSimsisaverypeculiarkindofgame,inwhicheverydaylifeisthesubjectofplay,butwhereplayisnothingbutwork.Andyetthere'sadifferencebetweenplayingameandgamespace,whichpermitstheformertoofferanallegoryforthelatter,anallegorywhichmayfunctionasescapeandcritiqueofgamespace,perhapsevenasanalmostutopianalternative.Inthegame,unlikeingamespace,thecontestbetweengamerandgameisovernothing.Therearenopreciousminerals.Thereisnolaborcontractindispute.Thedifferencebetweenplayanditsothermayhavecollapsed,butthereisstilladi
fferencebetweenplaywithintheboundsofanalgorithmthatworksimpersonally,thesameforeverybody,andagamespacethatappearsasnothingbutanagonforthewilltopower-whetherofguerrilla'sgraspingtheirgunstocks,orLarryProbstgraspinghisstockoptions.Ifi
tisachoiceonlybetweenTheSimsasarealgameandgamespaceasagameofthereal,thegamerchoosetostayinTheCave(tm)andplaygames.Thecontradictionisthatfortheretobeagamethatisfairandrationalthereisstillagamespacewhichisneither.050.Thegameiswhatgamespaceisn't,particularlyforthoseforwhomitisthedominantculturalform.EASpousewrites:"Webothhavebeensteepedinessentiallygameculturefromanearlyage,andwewatchedthat'culture'gainlegitimacyaswegottothepointofthinkingaboutourfuturecareers."Thegamespaceofmakinggamesascommoditiescannotliveuptothegamesthemselves.OnEASpouse'swebsite,someforlorngamerhaswritten,andperhapsagaininvain:"Onthesimesbustenoutpleasedonotmakeameterfortheitemsyoubuy.Samewithwallsoraninythingeles.Sobottomlinenometterinanyofthesimesgameseveragainplease.Thankyouifyoudoit."But,sadly,themeterisalwaysrunning.Itisintegraltogamespace,ifnotnecessarilytowhatmakesgamespacepossible.Beyondthecritiqueofactuallyexistinggamespace,gamescanpointalsotoanalmostutopianpromise,inwhichgamesaresomethingelseagain.Butwhilethegameopenstowardnewworlds,gamespaceforeclosesanythingbutitsownrelentlessagon.America(onCivilizationIII)Fig.3051.Ofwhatuseisthepasttoagamer?PeterLunenfeld:"Forthemostpart,itsblood,mischiefandroleplayingthatgamersrevelin.Theyliveinanalte
rnativeuniverse,asolipsisticonescriptedbydesignerswhoseframeofreferenceextendsnofurtherbackthanPong,Pac-ManandDungeonsandDragons.Thevisualandstorylinetropesthatmostofusbringwithusasculturalbaggageare…allbutforgottenancestralmemorie
s,thrownoff,onpurpose,toocumbersometobeofanyuse."Inthisnewworldthatappearsindifferenttohistory,withonlyhallsoffameforitschampions,chroniclesofitsbigbattlesandchartsofitsgreatesthits,accountingforhowthisdigitalgamespacecameintobeingpresentssomethingofachallenge.Perhapsitisbesttoapproachitinitsownstyle,asaseriesoflevels,eachofwhichappearstothegameronbattlingthroughtotheendofthelast.Ifoneisdefeated,onestartsover.Butremember:thesearethegrindlevels.Thegoingishardhere,evenalittleboring.Youmayneedtoattemptitmorethanonce.Ingamespace,timeismeasuredindiscreteandconstantunits,andwhileonecannotalwayswinalevel,onecanalwaysstartoveranddoitagain.052.Clicktostart.Hereisanewworld.Thefirstlevelopensontoatopic(fromtheGreek'topos',orplace).Hereatopicisaplacebothonthegroundandwithinlanguage.JacquesDerrida:"Thethemes,thetopics,the(common-)places,inarhetoricalsense,arestrictlyinscribed,comprehendedeachtimewithinasignificantsite."Onecanplaceone'sfootonatopicbecauseonecanplaceone'stongueonit.Oronecanpointtowarditandsay:"thereitis…".Allaroundthetopicitisdark,unknown,unmapped,withoutstories.Movearoundabitandyoubumpintoothers,fromothertribes,othersettlements.Viaothersonelearnsofstillothers.Thetopicsstarttoconnect.Amapforms.Oncethereisamap,therei
sthetopographic,whichtraceslinesthatconnectthetopics,andwhichdoublesthetopicalwiththespaceofmapsandtexts.Theseoutlinethecontoursinspaceandtimeofwhatwasthetopical,redrawingandrewritingitasacontinuousandhomogenousplane.Thelinesofthet
opicaretracedintothepage;thelinesonthepagearetracedbackontotheearthastopography.Historyisastoryandgeographyanimageofthistopography,inwhichtheboundariesareforeverbeingexpandedandredrawn.Thisplaybetweenthetopicalandtopographicisthefirstlevel.053.Inthefirstlevel,everytopicalfeaturethatresistsinscriptionasacontinuousspaceiserasedandreplaced.Impassablemountainsyieldtheirpassages,joiningonceseparatetopics.Everyrecalcitrantpeoplewithitsownindigenoustoposisexterminatedandforgotten.JamesFenimoreCooper:"Inashorttimetherewillbenoremainsoftheseextraordinarypeople,inthoseregionsinwhichtheydweltforcenturies,buttheirnames."Thenamespersist,onmaps,orinbookswithtitleslikeTheLastoftheMohicans.Thefirstlevelisthisdissolutionofthetopicalintothetopographic,whereanoralloreiserasedandreplacedbyinscription:Linesonmaps,linesonpages;linesthatevolvefromtrailtorail.Thefirstleveliswherethetopographicunfoldsasthelinebetweenwhatischartedandwhatisuncharted.(SeeFig.3)Thestorylinedwellsbetweentheautonomyofthetopicalandtheauthorityofthetopographical,alwayslaggingbehind.054.Inthecinema,mappingandwritingmeet.Theemergenceofthetopographicanditsstruggletosubsumethetopicalbecomesthegreatthemeofwesterngenre,aboveallofthedirectorJohnFord.JimmyStewart,thefrontier
lawyer,bringingthewildwesttobook,runsupagainsttheoutlawgunslingerLeeMarvin.WhenStewartshootshiminashowdown,Stewartbecomesalegend,andasenator.OnlyitwasJohnWayne,thehonorableoutlaw,whoreallyfiredthefatalshot.InTheManWhoShotLibertyVale
nce,cinemafunctionsastheformthatcanrevealretrospectivelytheworkingsoftopography,itscreationofastorylinethatjustifiestheimpositionofthethinbluelineofthelaw.Thecompletionofthetopographicisthesubjectoffilmnoir.Herethetopographichasconnectedallofspaceinaloosenetwork,andonecannotrunbeyondthefrontiertoescapeit.Oneescapeswithin,lookingforill-lit,interstitialtopics,liketherailyardsandwholesalemarketsofJulesDassin'sThievesHighway.Here,onthe'wrongsideofthetracks'thereisstillaspaceforillicitdesire,andanescapefromboredom.055.Whatclosesthefrontierforfreeactionistheenclosureofthespaceofmovementwithinaspaceofcommunication.Thelinesplits,intoonethatmovesobjectsandsubjects,andanother,fasteronethatmovesinformation,thelineoftelesthesia,ofthetelegraphthentelephone.InHighNoon,SheriffGaryCooperlearnsthroughthetelegraphthathislawlessnemesisarrivesonthemiddaytrain.InTheNakedCity,thispoweroftelesthesia-perceptionatadistance-iseverywhere.Thepolice,forensics,thecoronerareallbroughttogetherviatheswitchboardoperator,enablingandovercomingadivisionoflaborwiththetelephone,andcompactingspaceintoatemporalevent.Weseethepolicemanmakeacall,theoperatormakingtheconnection,andthecallbeinganswered.Telesthesiaallowsthespeedingupandcoordinationofmovementalonga
llotherlines,settingtherailwaytimetablesbywhichvastarmiesofgoodsorsoldiersmaybemobilized.Telesthesiamakespossiblethecompletionoftopographicspace,wherevastterritoriesarecoordinatedwithintheboundsoftheline.Astelesthesiadevelops,fromte
legraphtotelephonetotelevisiontotelecommunications,topographicspacedeepensandhardens,butalwayswithgapsandexclusions.FilmNoirdwellsinagapbetweenthefreeactinanunmarkedspaceandtheimpositionoftheline.Youcanrunbutyoucan'thide.056.Eventually,eventheoutofthewaytopicwithinthetopographicismappedandstoried.InDassin'sNightandtheCity,madeinpoliticalexileinLondon,thewholeofspacehasbecometelegraphic.Thereisnoescape.Thiscompletesthefirstlevel.Topologybeginswhenthetopicalceasestohaveanyautonomy,whenthelinealongwhichcommunicationflowsclosesthegapbetweenmapandterritory.Theopenfrontierisenclosedinafieldofcalculation.Historyandgeographyceasetodwellbetweenthetopicalandthetopographical,alwaysrushingtokeepup.Historyandgeographyaresubsumedwithinatopology,whichtendstowardsacontinuousfieldofequivalentandexchangeablevalues,instantlycommunicableeverywhere.Wherethetopicalwasonceboundedwithinthelinesofthetopographical,itisnowconnectedalongthelinesofthetopological.Thefixedgeometryoftopographygiveswaytothevariableformsoftopology,inwhichthelinesconnectingpointstogetherlendthemselvestotransformationwithoutrupturefromoneshapetoanother.Thestorylineofoutwardmovementiscomplete;thegamespaceofinteriorplaycommences.Welcometothesecondlevel.057.FilmNoircomest
oanendwhenitisnolongerpossibletoimagineanythinggreatbutevillurkingoutofbounds.Ifsomethingpassesundetectedforanylengthoftimeitisbecauseithasnovalue.Theeraofthegreatopenlydeclaredvillainsisover.Intopologicaltimes,thebadguyspassasnorma
lorcorruptthelaw.Cinemaasthemachineforimaginingtheopenspaceoutsidethelineisconsignedtothepast.Topologyannouncesitsnewambitionsthroughradioandparticularlytelevision,asignalforeverywhereandnowhere,potentiallyinterestedinanyoneoranywhere,aCandidCamera.Thekeygenresforworkingoutthesubsumptionofthetopographicintothetopologicalarethesituationcomedyandthegameshow.Onagameshow,anyonecanbetakenoutofeverydaylifeandbroughtintothemagiccircleoftelevision;onasitcom,televisioncanextenditselftotheeverydaylifefamiliartotheaverageviewer,anywhere.Sitcomandgameshowannouncethecomingofatopologyinwhichallofspacemightbedoubledsimultaneously,withoutlag,bylinesofimage,linesofsound,whichasyetstillbroadcastoutofcentralnodes.Thelinesrunonlyonewayandindiscriminately,butincorporatesanyoneandanythingofvalue.Whatisexcluded,fromitspointofview,hasnovalue.Theromanceoftheoutsiderisdead.058.Whatcompletestopologyandpreparesitforthenext-unknown-leveliswhenthelinesplitsagain,intoanaloganddigital.Theanaloglinesofradioandtelephoneandtelevisiongivewaytodigitallines,whichreachbacktotheprecedentofthetelegraph,butextenditsdigitalcodetoanincreasinglyflexibleandallembracingwebofcommunicationlines.Gradually,thedigitalextendsandexpandstothewholeoftelesthesia.Theinterne
tincorporatestext,sound,images,thenmovingimages.Thecyberspaceoftheinternetbecomesmobileandportableandturnsintothecellspaceofmobiletelephony.Thiscombinationofthespeedoftelesthesiawiththedigitalcodeiswhatmakespossibleavastandinclusive
topologyofgamespace.Thisisthethirdlevel:TheworldoftopologyistheworldofTheCave(tm).Anyandeveryspaceisanetworkoflines,pulsingwithdigitaldata,onwhichplayersactandreact.Inworkandplay,itisnotthenovel,notcinema,nottelevisionthatoffersthelinewithinwhichtograsptheformofeverydaylife,itisthegame.JulianDibbell:"…inthestrangenewworldofimmaterialitytowardwhichtheenginesofproductionhavelongbeendrivingus,wecannowatlastmakeoutthecontoursofamorefamiliarrealmoftheinsubstantial--therealmofgamesandmakebelieve."059.Ifthenovel,cinemaortelevisioncanrevealthroughtheirparticularsanallegoryoftheworldthatmakesthempossible,thegamerevealssomethingelse.Forthereader,thenovelproducesallegoryassomethingtextual.Theworldofpossibilityistheplayofthelinguisticsign.Forthecineaste,theworldofpossibilityisaplayoflightandshade.Forthegamer,thegameproducesallegoryassomethingalgorithmic.Theworldofpossibilityistheworldinternaltothealgorithm.So:apassagefromthetopictothetopographic,mediatedbythenovel;apassagefromthetopographictothetopological,mediatedbytelevision;apassage,mediatedbythegame,fromthetopologicaltoasyetunknownspaces,apointwherethegamerseemstobestuck.Isitreallythecasethatthegamermerelyrevelsinbloodmischiefandroleplaying?Oristhereadeeperunderstandingofthe
cavethatcanbehadfromgamingwithinit?060.Startoverwithanothernewworld.(Thistimewithalittlegamertheory.)Welcometothefirstlevel:Thenovelisalineofacertaintype,whichopenstowardscertainpossibilities,astoryline.Itarisesatthemomentwhentopicg
iveswaytotopography.ForGeorgLuk‡cs,whatistobevaluedisthehistoricalnovelanditsabilitytotracealineacrossanhistoricalmomentandrevealtheforcesatworkinit."Itistheportrayalofthebroadlivingbasisofhistoricaleventsintheirintricacyandcomplexity,intheirmanifoldinteractionwithactingindividuals."Thehistoricalnovelshowshistoricaleventsthroughsecondarycharacters,perhapsnotunlikethereader,andanhistoricaleventasbeingatthesametimeatransformationofeverydaylife.Andyetthenovelsuffersfromthisparadox:Toilluminatethetopographic,thenovelhastohideitsownform.Ifitexploresthepossibilitiesofthelinewithinitspagesitopensitselftoa'formalism'thatleavesthereaderbehind.061.Thefirstlevelcontinues:Cinemaisalineofacertaintype,whichopenstowardscertainpossibilities,anilluminationofthedarkcornersoftopography.ForWalterBenjamin,whatistobevaluedisthe'opticalunconscious',cinema'smachinicvisionofaworldthatisitselfmachinedwithadensegridoflines.Cinemacanexpandorshrinkspace,extendorcompresstime,itcancuttogetherimagesofdiversescalesorforms-intimationsoftopology.Itcreatesa'Spielraum',aplayroom,fordividingupthemachineworldotherwise.ContraLuk‡cs,Benjaminopenstowardstheformalpropertiesofthelineattheexpenseofitsrepresentationofanhistoricalsituationasatotality.Butwhatdoesn
'tchangeisthatthespectator,likethereader,isexternaltothelineitself.Cinemacanshowhowtheworldismadethroughitscutsandmontages,anindustrialprocesswiththeuniquequalityofshowingitselfasworks.Yetthereisstillaseparationbetweenthosemakingthe
cinemaandthosewatchingit.062.Thefirstlevelends:Thenovellanguishes.Cinemafailstorealizeitsallegoricalpotential.GuyDebord:"Butthislifeandthiscinemaarebothequallypaltry;andthatiswhyyoucouldactuallyexchangeonefortheotherwithindifference."Boredomreigns.063.Thesecondlevelbegins:Radioisalineofacertaintype,whichopenstowardscertainpossibilities.ForBrecht,whatistobevaluedinitisacertainunrealizedpotentialforthelinetopointbothways:"Radioisone-sidedanditshouldbetwo.Itispurelyanapparatusfordistribution,formeresharingout.Sohereisapositivesuggestion:changethisapparatusoverfromdistributiontocommunication.Theradiowouldbethefinestpossiblecommunicationapparatusinpubliclife,avastnetworkofpipes.Thatistosay,itwouldbeifitknewhowtoreceiveaswellastransmit,howtoletthelistenerspeakaswellashear,howtobringhimintoarelationshipinsteadofisolatinghim."Radiocouldbelikeapublictelephony.Butitisallanalogflow;itlacksadigitalcode.Itradiatesfromonepointtoeveryother,withoutdistinction.Itlacksthetransformationalgeometryoftopology,whereanythreespecificpointscouldbeconnected,anywhere,andstillmakethesame'triangle'connectingsenderandreceiverandthethird'line'-telesthesiaitself.064.Thesecondlevelcontinues.Televisionexpandsthelineofradio,butdoesitaddmuchtoit?Doesity
ieldmuchbywayofaspaceofpossibility?FredricJameson:"Theblockageoffreshthinkingbeforethissolidlittlewindowagainstwhichwestrikeourheadsbeingnotunrelatedtopreciselythatwholeortotalflowweobservethroughit."Televisiongeneralizesthelineofcommunicati
onasananalogflow.Thedigitalhasnotyetprevailed.065.Thesecondlevelends:Thetensionbetweenthetopographicandtopologicalisalsoonebetweenadecliningsphereofrepresentation,willandinterest,andoneofanewtoposthatisstatistical,digital,simulated-algorithmic.Thetopographicisincomplete.Itcanprojectitslinesacrossspaceandannihilatetime,butitcannoteffectivelymarkormeasureoutthespaceitencloses.Ithassomefeeblemechanisms-theopinionpoll,forexample.Throughthelaboriousmeansofseekingoutandrecordingopinion,topologicalspacecanbegiventheappearanceofagency.JeanBaudrillard:"Itis,paradoxically,asagamethattheopinionpollsrecoverasortoflegitimacy.Agameoftheundecideable;agameofchance…PerhapswecanseeheretheapparitionofoneofthesecollectiveformsofthegamethatCailloiscalledalea-anirruptionintothepollsthemselvesofaludic,aleatoryprocess,anironicmirrorfortheuseofthemasses."066.Thethirdlevelbegins.Wherethetopographicdevelopsonedimensionoftelegraphy-itsflowofinformationacrossspace-thetopologicaldevelopstheother-itsintricatecodingandaddressing.Wherethetopographicisananalogflow;thetopologicalisthedigitaldivide.Itisalineofaanothertype.Itisalinethat,forabrief,burningmoment,reignitedthedreamsofanewtopos.Butthecycleaccelerates.IfittooktwentyyearstogetfromBrec
htorBenjamin'soptimismtoDebord'sboredom,thesamecycleinnettimetookperhapsfiveyears.GeertLovink:"Cyberspaceatthedawnofthe21stcenturycannolongerpositionitselfinautopianvoidofseamlesspossibilities."Whattopologyyieldsisnotacyberspacebutagamespace
.Theideaofcyberspaceisstilltoolinkedtoimagesfromtheworldofradioandtelevision,offlowand'seamless'movement,ofaccessandexcess,oflinesrunninganywhereandeverywhere.Topologyisexperiencedmoreasagamespacethanacyberspace:fullofrestrictionsandhierarchies,firewallsandpasswords.Itismorelikeaboundedgamethanafreespaceofplay.Onceagain:ifitisfree,itisvalueless.Thoseoddlineswithintopologywhereanythinggoesaretheonesofnoconsequence.067.Thethirdlevelcontinues.Gameshavestorylineslikethehistoricalnovel,whicharcfrombeginningtoend.Gameshavecinematiccutscenes,puremontagesofattraction.Gamessubsumethelinesoftelevisionjustastelevisionsubsumedcinemaandcinemathenovel.Buttheyaresomethingelseaswell.Theyarenotjustanallegorybutadoubleform,anallegoryandanallegorithm.Appearanceswithinthegamedoubleanalgorithmwhichinturnsimulatesanunknownalgorithmwhichproducesappearancesoutsidethegame.068.Stuckagain.Startover.Anothernewworld.Welcometothefirstlevel.Let'sloopbacktoLuk‡cs,andask:ratherthatinsistonthepossibilitiesofthetechnicityofthelineitself,perhapsthere'ssomethingtobesaidforthepossibilitiesofacertaingenrethatmakesuseofit?Bonuspoints!Skipstraighttothethirdlevel:Thestrategygameisagenreofacertaintypewithinalineofacertaintype,whichopenstowardscertain
possibilities.ClickontheGovernmentpulldownmenuandchooseRevolution.YourRepublicturnstoAnarchy.Certainparametersshift.YouareplayingSidMeier'sCivilizationIII.Itisnotsomuchanallegoryforworldhistoryasanallegorithmforgamespaceitself.Everythinghere
isarelationbetweenquantifiableprocesses.Everythingisaquestionoftheallocationofresources.There'saperversesenseofbaseandsuperstructure.YoucanchangetheformofGovernmentbutthere'snotmuchyoucandotochangetheunderlyingformofproduction.Investinscienceandqualitativetechnicalchangesaccumulate,whichinturnexpandmilitary,culturalandpoliticalpossibilities.Investinculturetokeeptheplebsfromrevolting.Interestingly,civildisordercomesfrombelow,butrevolutionscomefromabove,butthesearejusttwofunctionswithinanalgorithm:asmallvariablewithabigeffect;abigvariablewithasmalleffect.069.Gamespaceturnsdescriptionsintoadatabase,andstorylineintonavigation.SidMeier,knownasavoraciousreader,turnshistoryandanthropologybooksintostrategygames.CivilizationIIIevencomeswithitsownCivilopedia,areferenceworkfortoaparallelworld.Butthisismorethantheremediationofoldformsintonew.Rather,thealgorithmconsumesthetopographicandturnsitintothetopological.Inthedatabase,alldescriptionisnumerical,equivalentinform.Inprincipleeverythingwithinitcanberelatedtoortransformedintoeverythingelse.Anewkindofsymmetryoperates.Thenavigationofthedatabasereplacesanarrationviadescription.Thedatabaseexpandsexponentially.Ratherthanapoliticsofallegory,aneconomicsofallegorithmoperates,se
lectingandreducingpossibilities.070.ThisishowtheworldappearstoagamerplayingCivilizationIII:Therearedependentandindependentvariables.Gamers,throughtrialanderror,willworkoutwhicharewhich.Theychangeovertime.Inthefirststage,youexplore,pushingbac
ktheinkyblackshroudtomakeamap.Thenyougrowthepopulation,avastarmyoffarmersandminers.Youhavetomaximizeuseablespace.Onceyourcontinentfillsupwithcitiesandtheirhinterlands,expansionbecomesqualitativeratherthanquantitative.It'sallaboutknowledgeandtechnology.Thequalityofwarfarechangesalongtheway.Itexpandsinspace,digsdeeperintoreservesofresources,thenbecomesaqualitativeraceforbiggerandbetterlinesalongwhichpowercanreticulate.Thegamerisamanager,confrontinguncertainlywithaninventoryofresources.It'sahardgametowinatfirst,butafteryouhavebeatenit,youplayitagain,andagain.GlenFuller:"Ithasacomplexarrayoflogicsforwardingoffboredom."Itdrawsthegamer'sattentionnottothestorylinebuttothecombinationsofelementsfromwhichanygivenstorylinemightbeselected.071.InCivilizationIII,timeisessentiallyofapiece.Itishomogenous,empty,butitcanbedividedintoequivalentunits,justlikespace.Thustimecanbeconfiguredandreconfigured,producingendlessvariationsonthecascadingsequencesofcauseandeffect.Historyisindeedabsentfromthegame,absentassomethingfinished,asastorylineinthepasttense.Whatreplacesitisahistoryworkshop,amodelofhistoryastheintuitionofalgorithmsandtheirconsequences.Thegamerisadesigner.Designers,likeallmanagers,operatewithingivenlimits.Thisishowthew
orldappearstothegamedesigner:Therearedependentandindependentvariables.Designers,throughtrialanderror,willworkoutwhicharewhich.Theywillchoosecultural,businessandtechnicaloptionsthatmaximizelongtermadvantages.Ifitdoesn'tworkout,theywilldoitove
r.Timeisessentiallyofapiece.Itishomogenous,butitcanbedividedintoequivalentunits,justlikespace.CivilizationIIImodelsnotsomuch'civilization',asthegamedesignbusiness,whichinturnmodelsgamespace,ortopologyasitpresentlyexists.072.Thisishowtheworldappearstogamertheory:Seenfromthepointofviewoftopology,withitsdensedatabasesandnavigatingtools,thetopicalworldwithitslooselyconnectedtopicswasaworldoflimiteddataandfewpossibilities.Transformationsofonethingintoanotherwerepurelymagical.Thetopographic-andtelegraphic-flattenedoutthedifferencesbetweentopicswhiledescribingtheminmuchmoredetail.Atensionarisesbetweenenricheddescriptionandthepovertyofstoryline,burstingtocontainit.Theexpansionofdescriptionneverthelessopenedtowardsallegory.Accumulationsofimagesburstoutoftheirstorylinebounds.Itopenedtowardsapoliticsofallegory,ofthewritingandmappingoftheworld,andalsotowardsutopia,arrestingthefluxoftheworldinidealform.Topologyclosesthefrontiersofspacewithinitslines,andexpandsthedatasetagain,butbyreducingdatatoequivalentcalculablepoints,itisabletobreakwithstorylineasprincipleoftemporalorder,replacingitwiththealgorithm.Storylinebecomesgamespace.073.StrategygamessuchasCivilizationIIIpresentsanallegorithmoftopologyasgamespaceandthegamerasit
smanager.Itsubsumesthetext,audio,imagesandmoviesintothedatabase,whilethealgorithmcalculatesthemovesofallitselementsrelativetothegamer.Itcollapsesthedifferencebetweentheeverydayandtheutopian.Itembracesalldifferencesbyrenderingallofspaceandtim
easbeingquantifiable.Topicaltimesresoundwiththemythofthetactician.Topographictimesinscribestoriesofgranddirectorsofstrategy.Topologicaltimescallformanagersofstrategy.Historyappears,retrospectively,asnotonlytheexpandingfrontierofwar'stheatre,butalsoitsqualitativetransformation.Itistheunwindingofalinewhichdivideseverythingintomanageablechunksofdata.Theactualdispositionofresourcesisdoubledbyadatabasewhichmapsnotfixedlocationsbutmeasuresoffungibility.Thealgorithmcanproduceeverypossiblecombinationoftheresourcesmappedinthedatabase-andafewimpossibleonesaswell.Thepossibleandtheactualreversepositions.Itisthepossiblethatisreal.Ifthealgorithmcanproduceitasanoutcomefromthedatabase,itexists.Themysteryiswhytherecalcitrantdebristhatlitterstheactualsometimesrefusestogetoutoftheway.Thisinsistenceontherealityofthepossible,onwhatresideswithinresources,istheAmericandream.074.Finally,thenextlevelappears:theexpansionoftopologyoutwards,beyondAmerica,tomakeAmericaequivalenttoalloftimeandspace.Americaitself,asaconstruct,asastructureoffeeling,isalwaysonlyavailableviaparticularmediatinglines,whichmaydomorethanmerelyrepresentapre-existingAmerica.TheformofthelinemayitselfparticipateinthecreationofAmerica.TheremaywellbeanAmericathatresid
essuccessivelyinthenovel,inthecinema,intelevisionandthegame,andisshapedbyeach.Each,inturn,presentshistoryitselfasapassingonofmemoryfromoneformtoanother.CivilizationIIIrecapitulatesnotonlyworldhistorybutmediahistory.It'sambitionisnotonlytoemb
racetherecordingoftheworldbuttheworldofrecording.InCivilizationIII,thetransformationofspaceandtime,fromtopictotopographytotopology,isaneffectofthedevelopmentofthelineswithwhichtomarkandmanageit.Thisdoubledevelopment,whichatoneandthesametimedeepensandproliferateslinesofthepossibleandtheactual,canbecalledAmerica.Itiswhatisbothdesiredandfearedundertherubricofthatname,whichnolongermarksaparticulartopic,butstandsfortheverycapacitytomarkandmanagespaceitself,astopology.075.Thelinemakesitswayacrosstheworld,makingitbymarkingit.Thelinepassesacrossvalleys,pages,mountains,rivers,tracingtrails,roads,railways,highways,doublingitselfwithtelegraph,television,telecommunications,doublingitselfagainasthecodeofthelettermigratesfromtexttotelegraphandexplodesintothemyriadlinesofthedigital.Thelinemakestopics,mapsthemintothetopographic,thenfoldsthetopographicintoadigitaltopology.Thelinedoessomethingelseaswell.Foreverylinedrawnareaninfinitenumberundrawn.Everylineisanallegoryofthepossibilitiesforalineofitstype.Thelinemayalsointimatethepossibilitiesoflinesofanothertype.Butthepossibilitiesofagiventypeoflinearenotinfinite.Allegoryalwaystouchesthevirtual-whichonemightdefineasthepossibilityofpossibility-viaaparticularline.Ateachlevelofthe
actualunfoldingofthelineacrosstheworld,itoffersaglimpseofthevirtualinitsownimage.Thisisthel
imittoallegory.Ifallegoryyearnsforsomethingahistorical,atoposbeyondallparticulars,itdoessooverandoverinthemostparticularandmediatedway.Analog(onKatamariDamacy)Fig.4076.Sisyphus,founderofCorinth,fatherofOdysseus,founderoftheIsmithianGames,isbestknowforamostcruelandunusualpunishment,metedouttohimbytheGods.Hewastorollahugestoneupthemountainside,watchhelplesslyasitrolledbackdownagain,andthenstartalloveragain.Nobodyknowswhathedidthatrequiredsuchapunishment.PerhapsitwasforrevealingthedesignsoftheGodstomortals.Revealingtheformsbeyondthemereparticularsofmortallifewould,intopicaltimes,beaseriouscrime.Orperhaps,moreprosaically,itwasforhishabitofmurderingseafarersandtravelers.Topicalspace,whereeachlaw,eachGod,isborderedbyzonesofindifference,wouldsurelybetroubledbysuchatransgressionoftherulesof'xenia',ofthegiftoneowestostrangers.AnneCarson:"Thecharacteristicfeaturesofxenia,namelyitsbasisinreciprocationanditsassumptionofperpetuity,seemtohavewovenatextureofpersonalalliancesthatheldtheancientworldtogether."Orsoitwasintopicaltimes.077.Intopographictimes,Sisyphusisahero.HerevelsinthisnewworldfromwhichtheGodsandtheirintangibleformshavefledandagreatindustrialengineusurpstheirplace.ThetaskofSisyphusbecomeseveryone'slabor:pointless,repetitive,endless,shouldertothewheeloffortune.Therearenolongeranylawlessspaces.Therearenogapsbetweentopics.Allofspaceiswithinthelaw.Therearenomor
eborderzoneswhereindifferenceprevails.Certainlyitgetsmuchhardertogetawaywithmurderingtrave
lers.Butintopographictimes,itistimeitselfthatisnotquitesocompletelysubordinatedtorules,toends,topurposes.Thereisalimittotheworkingday,andevenwithintheworkingday,noteverysecondiscalledtoaccount.AlbertCamus:"IleaveSisyphusatthefootofthemountain!Onealwaysfindsone'sburdenagain.ButSisyphusteachesthehigherfidelitythatnegatesthegodsandraisesrocks.Hetooconcludesthatalliswell.Thisuniversehenceforthwithoutamasterseemstohimneithersterilenorfutile.Eachatomofthatstone,eachmineralflakeofthatnightfilledmountain,initselfformsaworld."ThetopicalSisyphusplayedfastandloosewiththegapsofspace,betweenthetopics;thetopographicSisyphusplayedinthegapsoftime,andexploitedthosegapstoturneverythingtoaccountforhimselfalone.078.WhereisSisyphusnow?Usingtheanalogsticksonthegamecontroller,youmovealittlecharacterwhorollsaballcalledaKatamari.ThegameiscalledKatamariDamacy.(seefig.4)Thenametranslatesroughlyas'clumpspirit',whichmightinturntranslateas'analog'.AstheKatamariballrolls,thingssticktoit.Atfirstitissmallthingsthatstick,householditemspickedupoffthelivingroomfloor.Theballgetsbiggerasthingsstick,andsoitcanpickupbiggerthings.Onceyourballisbigenough,youmoveoutofthehouseandintotheworld.Tomovetheball,youtwizzlethelittleanalogjoysticks.Pushthesticksforward,andthecharacterrollstheballforward.Pullthesticksbackandthecharacterrollstheballback.Turnleft,turnright-itfeelsasthoughthevariablepressureonth
estickstranslatesintovariablemovements.Thisisanalog-arelationofcontinuousvariation.Onlyiti
sn'treally.Itisadigitalgame.Thegameconvertsthecontinuousmovementofyourthumbsonthesticksintoadigitalcode.Itturnsmovementsintodecisions-back/forwards,left/right,stop/start.Analgorithmcalculatestheoutcomeofeachmovement.Ifyourollyourballoverasmallobject,youpickitup.Ifyourollyourballoveronethatistoobig,youcollidewithit,throwingoffafewthingsyouhavealreadygathered.Analogspiritbecomesdigitalcode.079.Allgamesaredigital.Withoutexception.Theyallcomedowntoastrictdecision:outorin,offsideoronside,goalornogoal.Anythingelseisjust'play'.GamestudiesscholarJesperJuul:"Theaffinitybetweencomputersandgamesisoneoftheironiesofhumanhistory."Butnotatallsurprising.Fromthestart,gameswereaproto-computer-machinesassembledoutofhumanmotion,inanimatematerialsandtheoccasionaldubiouscallbythereferee-tomakeadecision,ayesorano.Sisyphus-founderoftheIsmithiangames-iscondemnedtoauselesslaborwhichisatthesametimeuselessplay,inthatitcannotbringaboutadecision.Therockherollsnevercrossesaline.Itrollsrightpastthenotionaltopofthemountain,andovershootsthebottomofitsownmomentum.ButinKatamariDamacy,thingsaredifferent.Ratherthantherollingoftheballbeingentirelyuseless,nowitisentirelypurposeful.Time,likespace,nolongerharborsindifference.BrendaLaurel:"…eventhesmallestfragmentsofyouridletimehavebeencolonized...".Asyourollyourballaround,makingitbiggerandbigger,aniconinthecornerofthescreenshowsyourprogress.Theico
nshowsyourballasacircleinsidealargerone,whichisthesizeitmustgrowtoifyouaretowinthisleve
l.Itgrows,gradually,incrementally,butatsomepoint-adecision.Bigenough!Ananalogprogressionstopsatthedigitalthreshold.080.HereisaversionoftheKatamarimyth:YouareaPrincesenddowntoearthbyacarelessKingwhoinamomentofboredomgotdrunkanddestroyedtheheavens.TheKatamariballsyourollupareofferingstohim.Ifyourballisbigenoughhereplacesoneofthestarsintheskyhetrashedwithit.TheKingthensetsforthePrincethetaskofrollingupabiggerone.Perhapsthisstorylineisanallegoryfortherelationthatholdsnowbetweentheanalogandthedigital.Thetwizzlingofthesticksonthecontroller,therollingupoftheballsonthescreen,isthetaskdemandedbygamespace,andwhichgamespacecanonlyrecognizebyrewardingthegamerwithascore.Topology,withitsendless,intricatelines-wireless,satellite,fiberoptic-turnsanythingandeverythingintoameaninglesssmearofdata.Gamespaceinstallsitselfintopologytoreducethatsmeartoadecision,ayes,ano,astraightline,andtoconveybacktothegamertheresultofthegamer'sactions.Theanalogisnowjustawayofexperiencingthedigital.Thedecisiononwhethersomethingcanappearornotappearisdigital.YouandyourcharacterthePrinceareconfinedtotheanalog,rollingfromtopictotopic.TheKingcommandsthedigitalheavens.Hedecideswhatpointintheskyeachballistooccupy.081.InthemythofSisyphusthetaskistorolltheballtothetopwithoutquiteknowingwherethetopis.There'snomark,nopoint,nocode.Sisyphuspushestheballup,butiteitherfallsshortorfallsovertheunmarkedpeak,androll
sbackdownagain.InthemythofKatamarithereisnosuchambiguity.Eachthresholdisclearlymarked.Theanalogmovementofrollingtheball,continuouslyincreasingitssize,takesplacewithinthegivenlimitsofthedigital.Thereisanexactmarkatwhichitflipsfrombeingtoosmalltojusttherightsize.Thereignoftopologysubordinatestheanalogtothedigital.Whereonceanaloganddigitalmaintainedanambiguousandcontinuous-analog-relationtoeachotherandtotheworld,thedigitalnowdistinguishesitselfsharplyfromtheanalog,subsumingtheanalogdifferenceunderthedigitaldistinction.Thisisatransformationnotmerelyinformsofcommunicationorentertainment,noteveninformsofpoweroroftopos,butachangeinbeingitself.Thedigitalappears,finally,toinstalltopologyintheworld-onlyintheprocessithasinstalledtheworldwithintopology.InKatamariDamacy,theworldisjuststuff,therefortheclumping.ItisKingDigital'sdecisiononitsname,sizeandplaceintheheavensthatgivesitbeing.082.ThescreeninKatamariDamacyshowsaclockinthecorner,anold-fashionedanalogclockwithasweepinghand.Thegameisanallegorithmofadoubleprocess,bywhichtheanalogmovementsofthegameraretransformedintothedigital,butalsoofhowthedigitaldecisionsofthegameareexpressedtothegamerinafamiliaranalogform.Gamespacesubordinatesalloftimeandspacetothedigital.PaulVirilio:"...spacehadbeenmeasured,mapped,timehasbecomeclocktime,thediversityofrelief,oftopography,gavewaytotopology...".Intopographictimestheclocktowershoweditsfacetothetownoverwhichitpresided;nowtimeisblinkingdigits,seenanywhereandeverywhere.Just
checkyourcellphone.Thehandsoftheanalogclockturntimeintomovementinspace,reducingittolinethatrotatesonaplane.Thedigitalclocksubstitutesonecodedsignforanother,atfixedintervals,drawingeachfromanabstractspacewhereallthesignsofthecodeexistsimultaneously.Alloftimebecomesaseriesofdiscrete,equivalentandinterchangeableunits.Ateachinterval,timecanbearrestedandmadetoyieldanumber.Wheretheanalogtemporalizedspace,nowthedigitalspatializestime.083.TwistthesticksonthecontrollerandonthescreenthePrinceturnstheball.Rolltheballanditgraduallygrowsasitpicksupthings.Theiconinthecornergrowsastheballgrows.Onemovementdoublesanother.Theiconrecords,inthismeasuringcontinuum,howseveralmovements,operatingtogether,produceatransformation.Ittracksthemovementofrollingtheball,amovementthatcontinuouslytransformsitselfoutofitself.Theanalogisallaboutrelations.Thedigitalisallaboutboundaries.Thedigitaldoesnotfollowamovingline,itimposesagridoflineswhichfunctionasthresholds.ThelineatwhichtheballisdeemedbigenoughisimposedbyKingDigital.Intheanalog,differenceisaproductivityinexcessofitself;inthedigital,distinctionisanegationthatcomesfromwithout.Rolltheballasmuchasyoulike,butunlessisreachesthesizeKingDigitaldemandswithinthetimeHeallows,youfail-andaresubjectedtoHisloftydisdain.Thisisthelimittomovementthatappearstimeandtimeagain.084.Theanalogisvariationalongaline,adifferenceofmore-andless.Thedigitalisdividedbyaline,adistinctionbetweeneither/or.Eithertheballclumpsenoughstuffbeastaroritdoesn't.Th
eanalogmayvaryalongmorethanonelineatonce,producingtheappearanceofaqualitativedifference.Thedigitalintroducesacode,whichmayproducecomplexrelationsamongitsterms,butallthetermsareseparatedbythesamelineofabsolutedistinction.AlltheKatamariballsthatarebigenoughbecomestars,eachwithitsownnameandlocation,butallarepointsinthesameheavens.Inthisdigitalcosmos,everythingisofthesamesubstance.Nothingisreallyqualitativelydifferent.Acow,acar,yourcousin:eachhasitsshapeandcolor,butintheenditsallthesame,juststuff.InKatamariDamacyitismostlyconsumerstuff,butthisgoesfarbeyondacritiqueofthecommodity.Topologycanmakeinfinitedigitaldistinctions.Itisalljustbitsandallbitsareequivalent.Thedigitalseparateseverythingintodiscretesegmentsbyimposingauniversalcodethatallowsanythingtobeconnectedtoanythingelse-topology-butpreventsanythingfromeverbeingdifferent.ThecosmosofdifferenceiswhatKingDigitalhaslost,andwhathecommandshisgamerPrincetoreplacewithacosmoscomposedofdistinctions.085.Theanalogmaymovebackwardsorforwardsalongaline,oreventrackmovementacrossthreeormoredimensions,butonlywiththeimpositionofthedigitalcodeisitpossibletocutthetermsboundedbythedigitallineandrearrangethem.Ratherthanananalogmovementthroughspaceandtime,thedigitalopensthepossibilityofjumpingbetweenpointsinathreedimensionalspaceinwhichtermsarearrayedalongdifferentaxesandaredrawntogetherviathecode.Ratherthanacontinuouslinemovingoutfromapointintoathreedimensionalspace,oneimaginesratherathreedimensionalspaceoffixedpoin
ts,whichcanbecalleduponbythecodetomakeupastraightlineofdistinctunits.Becauseitisdigital,thegamecanbe'saved'.Afteryouhavesuccessfullyrolledaball,youcansaveit.Savingtakesplaceatthedigitalthreshold.Thedigitalcreatesatimethatcanbesavedbymakingalloftimeequivalent.Itisatimewithoutviolence.Whatissaveddoesnotsufferfromerosionordecompositionordecay.Italwayscomesbackasthesame-unlessthesystemcrashes,andthedigitalcannolongerimposeitscode-inwhichcaseitmaynevercomebackatall.Thedigitalcosmosismoreperfect,yetsomuchmorefragile.086.AsthePrincerollsbiggerandbiggerballs,hegetstoplayinabiggerandbiggertopos.Thegamestartsinsideanapartment,thenmovesontothetownandfinallytotheworld.Thissteppingupthroughbiggerandbiggerscalesrepeatsthesteppingupthroughthescalesofthetopical,thetopographicandthetopologicalofwhichthegameisanallegorithm.Whatgivesthegameitscharmistheseeminglyridiculousideathataballofhouseholditemscouldbeastar.Evenmoreodd:thelastandlargestballreplacesthesmallestheavenlybody-ameremoon.Butthisisofapiecewiththewaysoftopology.Intopologicaltimes,itisnotjustthatthedigitalnowoperatesonaplanetaryscale.Itisthatitoperatesacrossscales,connectingtheinfinitesimaltothegigantic.Thetiniestswitchofelectriccurrentcanlaunchacruisemissile.087.KingDigitaldestroyedtheheavens,inamomentofboredom,inafitofindifference.Thisisthedangeroftopology.Indifferenceisnolongersomethingthatlurksmerelyinthemarginsofspaceortime.Havingbeensqueezedmoreandmoretothemarginofbothspaceandtime,ratherthandisa
ppearing,indifferencethreatenstobecometotal,pervasive,immanent.ThePrinceiswhatthePrincehasachieved-alevel,anumber,andnothingbut.JulianStallabrass:"…emotionalattachmenttothegameisestablishedthroughlabor,emergingoutoftheSisypheannatureoftheplayer'stask."Forallhislaidbackstyle,KingDigitalmakesaterribledemand,asappallingasthatmadeofSisyphusbytheGods.Hecommandsthegamertothegame,butpromisesnothingbutvictoryuntildefeat.Theonlyrewardisthattheverytimeitselfthatthegamercommitstothetaskwillmakethetaskworthwhile.Thedigitalobjectexistsinaspacewhichchunksitintobits,eachofequivalentvalue.Thedigitalsubjectexistsinatimewhichchunksitintobits,eachofequivalentvalue.088.Digitalobject,digitalsubject-thesearebyproductsofaboredomthat,seekingrespitefromnothingness,projectsitslinesacrossallspaceandtime,turningitintocommodityspaceandmilitaryspace.ThisistherecklessactofcreationwithwhichKatamariDamacybegins-theKing'sdestructionofthemythicheavenoftheoldGods,andtheprojectofreplacingitbycommandingthetransformationofahuman,analogmovementintoanairlessmatrixofmachinecode.ThisisthenewtaskofSisyphus.Gamespaceisalwaysandeverywheretheimpositionofthedigitalasawayoflayinganinvisiblehandontheworld-oranalltoovisiblefist.Wheretheinvisiblehandopensitsdigitstocalculatewhatitmaygain,theinvisiblefistclosesthemtocalculatewhatitmayclaim.089.Themilitaryindustrialcomplexdevelopedphotography,radar,radio-allthelinesofanalogtelesthesia-asthemeansofmeasuringandcontrollingitsforces.Thisdevelopmentrea
chedalimit,anditsforcesexceededitscapacitytomanagethem.Digitaltelesthesia-startingperhapswiththeSAGEcomputersystemofthe1950s-emergedasthemeansofcommand,controlandcommunication.PaulEdwards:"ForSAGEsetthekeypatternforotherhigh-technologyweaponsystems,anestedsetofincreasinglycomprehensivemilitaryenclosuresforglobaloversightandcontrol."Thetheoryofthedigital,andofitsdistinctionfromtheanalog,emergesasabyproductofthisattemptatself-controlbythemilitaryindustrialcomplex,butittransformedthecomplexintosomethingelse.Theexpansivemovementofthemilitarymachinecallsintobeingacodethatcanmonitorandmanageit.Theanalogbegetsthedigital,butonlyproducestheconceptoftheanalogafterthefact.AnthonyWilden:"Obviously,withoutthedigital,wecouldnotspeakoftheanalog."Withouttherecognitionoftheballasaputativestar,itcannotbenamed.Themilitaryentertainmentcomplexemergesoutofthecontroloftheanalogbythedigital,ofthemilitaryandindustrialproductionlinesbythedigitallinesofcommand,andbytheextensionofthedigitaltoallaspectsofeverydaylife.090.Withouttheanalog,playleavesnotrace.Withoutthedigital,playyieldsnoscore.Neitheranalognordigitalisplayitself.Butwhatcanonesayaboutplay?Playiswhathastobepositedfortheretobeanythingforeithertheanalogorthedigitaltotrack,andyetplayisanelusiveconceptatbest.BrianSutton-Smith:"Weallplayoccasionally,andweallknowwhatplayfeelslike.Butwhenitcomestomakingtheoreticalstatementsaboutwhatplayis,wefallintosilliness."Perhapstheveryconceptofplayappearsonlyretrospectively.Obvio
usly,withouttheanalogandthedigital,wecouldnotspeakofplay,evenasplayexceedstheanaloglinealongwhichitistracedandthedigitallineacrosswhichitismeasured.Viatheanalog,playiscapturedinart;viathedigital,playiscapturedingames.Theanalogflattensplayoutintoasingleline,sothatitsmovementmaycontinue,inreducedform,intoanotherspace.Theplayofthefingersonthecontrollerisrecordedviathegraphicartonthescreen.Theanalogenablesamovementtocommunicatefromtopostotopos.Thedigitalcodifiesplay,translatingitontotheverydifferentspaceofnumberandlogic-ofcode.091.Whichcamefirst,playorgame?Whichcamefirst,movesorrules?Sisyphuswasinterestedinbothnavigationandcommerce,atatimewhenbothstillhadatenuousmapofthespacesthroughwhichtheypliedtheirshipsandtheirtrade.Therulesemergedoutofthemoves.Playproducedwhat,afterthefact,couldbemarkedatransgression.Sisyphustransgressed-eitherbykillinganothertraveler,orperhapsbyseekingtoknowtherulesoftheGodsinadvance.Hispunishmentisaneternalmovewhichcannevergiverisetoagame,whichyieldsnoend,nowin,norecognition.Nowthetermsarereversed.Playdoesnotinspirethegame;thegameanimatesplay.Behindthesubordinationoftheanalogtothedigitalisthesubordinationofplaytogame.Tracingthelineofthemove,theplay,matterslessthanthescoreityields,thethresholditcrosses.KingDigitalmakesquitetheoppositedemandofthePrincetothatmadeofSisyphusbytheGods.Theeternaltaskisnolongerthemovewhichcannevercrossthefinishline,itisthemovewhichcandonothingbutyieldameasure,ascore,anumber,arank.Ratherthanplaythatc
anneverend,itisthegamethatstops,andstarts,andstops,andstarts,andstops,andstarts-forever.092.Thetermsanaloganddigitalareinvariablytreatedasiftherelationbetweenthetermswasitselfadigitalone.Thisinitselfisasignofthetimes.Thesetermsaretobetreatedasdiscreteandabsolutelydistinct,acodewithtwoabsoluteterms.Anyambiguityorplaywhichmightthreatentodeconstructthedistinctionistoberesolvedwithdistinctionsofaneverfinerresolution.Thisinturnleadstoevermorecomplexityinmanagingtheproliferationofbits,whichinturnrequiresevermorepowerfuldatacrunchingengines.Themilitaryentertainmentcomplexdiscoversexperimentallythatiftherelationbetweentheanalogandthedigitalisdigital,anabsoluteboundary,thenthedomainofthedigitalcanbeperfectedasoneofpurelyrelativeandnumericalvalue-agamespace.Thisdigitalrealmcanthenbecomethelocusforcommandandcontroloftheanalogremainder,whichittreatsasamereresidue.Thelinesofthedigitalcanbeinscribedevermoreextensivelyandintensivelyontheworld,tothepointwhereadigitalheavenisrealized,andtheanalogseemstovanish,andplaybecomesamereeffectofthedigital.TheAnalogPrinceonlyrollstheball,steeringthiswayandthat,becauseKingDigitalcommandsit.Andwhydoeshecommandit?Tomaketheuniverseover,torecreatebeingitself,asaneffectofthedigitalasacommand.093.Thedigital,onceinstalledintheworld,defeatsthelogicofthestoryline,withinwhichthedigitalservestomaketheanalogmanifest,butdoesnotcontrolit.Thenovel,whichfromJamesFenimoreCoopertoWilliamGibsonnarratestheriseandfallofthemilitaryindustrialco
mplex,usesthecodesoflanguagetofollowaseriesofmovementsbeyondlanguage'sken.Thedigitalproduces,notjustnewkindsofmedia,butawholenewtopos,inwhichtheroleandruleofthelineisreversed.Onenolongerfollowsalinetofindwhereitdivides,onedivideswithalinetomakeadistinction.Storylinebecomesgamespace.ThestorylinethatinauguratestheworldofKatamariDamacyisnotacreationmythbutadestructionmyth.Thestoryline'slasttaskistoeraseitselfandinitiatethenewconditionsofdifferenceforgamespace.Thistask-likethatofSisyphus-mustbeendlesslyrepeated.094.Thedigital,onceinstalledintheworld,acceleratesthepotentialforchange,butforchangealwaysofthesametype.TheAnalogPrincecanrollupmanythingstomakehisKatamariballs,butanydifferenceamongtheseobjectsislost.Allthatmattersistheiraggregation,glommedtogetherasmoreandmoreofthesame.Likewise,themilitaryentertainmentcomplexgridstheearthsoitmaygirdit,makingitoverintheimageofitsdigitalrulings,makingitamenabletotheimpositionofacodeofunambiguousstratifications.Distinctionsproliferatewildly,beyondthesimpledichotomiesofthetopographic.Butthesedistinctionsarealwaysandeverywhereexchangeableequivalentswithinthelogisticsofcommodityspaceandmilitaryspace.Rollupmoreandmoreballs,populatetheheavenswithaveritablemilkyway,buteachisdistinctfromtheotheralwaysinthesameway.DrewMilne:"Whatonceventuredforthasprocessualmathesisbecomesthereifiedcalculusofadministration,alogicofnumericalsamenessscreenedfromnihilisticrelativity."095.Thedigitalemergesasmilitary,butachievesacceptance
asentertainment.J.C.Herz:"…mostofthetechnologythat'snowusedinvideogameshaditsoriginsinmilitaryresearch.Whenyoutracebackthepatents,it'svirtuallyimpossibletofindanarcadeorconsolecomponentthatevolvedintheabsenceofaDefenseDepartmentgrant."Themilitaryversionsofdigitaltelesthesiamaketheworldoverasamilitaryspace,butthedigitaldoesnotyetbecomeacultureotherthanforasmallbandofspecialiststiedtothemilitaryindustrialcomplex.Thecomingtogetherofthedigitalandtheentertainmentcommodityinscribesthedigitalnotjustinspaceandtime,butinculturalperceptionsofspaceandtime.096.Thedigitalgameisaveryparticularcommodity.Itisnotjusttheusualstoreofentertainingrepresentationstransferredfromanalogandmechanicalreproductiontoadigitalform.Rather,itmakesthedigitalitselfintoentertainment.Thedigitalalwaysaddressesitssubjectasaplayer,asacalculatorandcompetitorwhohasvalueonlyinrelationtoamark,ascore.Thedigitalinscribesgamespacewithinthesubjectitself.Gamespacemakestopologyseemlikeitcouldhave,ifnotmeaning,thenatleastanalgorithm.Gamespacemakestheuploadingoftheworldintotopologyseemnaturalandinevitable.Yetatthesametimeitoffersthedigitalinitspurestform,wherethetransformationofanalogintodigitalisalwaysconsistent,repeatable,inaword-fair.Whilethegamemakesthedigitalseeminescapable,itsambiguityisinthewayitalsomakesthedigitalseemlikeitcouldbeanalmost-utopianrealm.Thegamenaturalizesgamespace,andyetcallsittoaccountasinadequateinitsownterms.097.Thedigitalmakestheanalogitselfappearassomethingdistinct.Th
edigitalrulesalinebetweenanaloganddigital,makingtheirambiguousdifferenceintoacleardistinction.Butperhaps,havingmadethedistinctionappear,theperspectivecanbereversed,andthedigitalcanbeperceivedfromthepointofviewofitsanalogresidue.Whatmightemergeisrathertheplaybetweentheanalogandthedigital.Thedigitalmightbecomeagainthethresholdthatturnsamovementintoabreak,ratherthanimposingthebreakonmovement.Thegamerastheoristmightlooktowardatransformationofwhatmatterswithingamespace,aturningawayfromagon,distinction,decision,thefataleither/or.Afterawhile,it'sjustnofun.JohanHuizinga:"Andundoubtedlythepredominanceoftheagonisticprincipledoesleadtodecadenceinthelongrun."098."Idon'tplaygames",saysKeitaTakahashi,designerofKatamariDamacy.Heisasculptor."Iamhappygoingthroughthisgamephaseofmylife,whereIcangetpaidandeat."Asthedigitalsubsumestheanalogsotoothedesignersubsumestheartist.Thelongingtoreturntoartasananalogpursuit-thetraceofthehandinclayorpaint-maybeinvain.Buttheartistwithinthedesignermaystillinscribetheanalogintheheartofthedigitalassomethingirreducible.Theartistisnowtheonewhofindsanewwayoftriflingwithinthegame.Theartistoutsiderisdead,forthereisnooutsidefromwhichtosignalbackacrosstheborder.Thelimittothegamehastobefoundfromwithin.TheAnalogPrinceistheveryfigureoftheartistintopologicaltimes,whoplaysgamely,twistingthiswayandthatonthecontrols,tryingtogetoutintobiggerandbiggerspaces,butalwaysunabletoescapegamespace.099.KingDigitalmayruleinKatamariDamacy,butitishissubordin
ate,thePrince,uponwhoselaborsthisdigitaltopologyisbuilt.NottheleastofthecharmsofTakahashi'sworkisthisforegroundingofthelaborthegamerperforms.ItisnolongerlaboraspunishmentfordefyingtheGods.Itisnolongerabsurdlabor,performedconsciouslyandjoyouslyinspiteoftheabsenceoftheGods.Topologyinstalls,inplaceoftheabsentGods,KingDigital,andhisdemandthat,whilelaborispunishinglyhardandabsurdlypointless,itneverthelesshasitsmeasure.Sisyphus,theAnalogPrince,laborstorollupeverythinginthisworldmadeoverunderthemarkofthedigitalandofferitupforappraisal.Whatthedigitalhasalwayswanted-tobetheformofallforms-hascometopass.Ourpunishmentforattemptingtostealthoseformsforourownpurposesistolaborendlesslytorepeatthem.KatamariDamacymerelyextendstheatopiaofthedigitaltotheheavensthemselves.100.WhenthePrincesucceedsincompletingalevel,KatamariDamacyrewardsthegamerwithacutscene,ashortanimationabouttheHoshinofamily.Theyarecutebutratherchunky,asifthedigitalhadalreadysnappedthemtoitsgrid.TheHoshinoswatchtheirastronautfatherTomioashebeginshisvoyagetotheMoon.Tomio'smissionhastobecancelledbecausethereisnoMoontowhichtotravel.Thelastmissionofthegame,MaketheMoon,requirestherollingupofmostoftheobjectsonEarth,includingtheHoshinofamilyandtheirfather'srocket.OncethePrincehasrestoredthemoontotheKing'ssatisfaction,afinalcutsceneshowstheHoshinofamily-motherandfather,boyandgirl,onthenewMoon.Havingcompletedthereconstructionofthecosmosasoneofdigitaldistinctionsratherthananalogdifferences,adigitalpeoplefi
ndthemselvesalreadythere,alreadyinhabitingthemoontowhichTomiowastotravel.Thereisnoneedtotravel-thatgreatpastimeoftopographictimes.Nowthere'snoplacetogowhichisnotsubjecttothesamecode.ThereignofKingDigital,theKingofAllCosmosiscomplete.Atopia(onViceCity)Fig.5101.It'slikeparadisehere.Everythingseemspastel-huedasyoudriveby,withtheradioon.Thecarisstolen,butsolongasthepolicedidn'tseeyou,itwon'tmatter.Youdon'treallyhavetobeanywhereordoanything.Thehotelsandcondosarecomfortableanddiscreet.Ifyouneedmoney,mugsomeone.Thebodymakesasatisfyinglysquishysoundwhenyoukickit.Thereareadventures.Yougettomeetsomeinterestingpeople.Itisacityofgangsters,hustlersandhoneys.It'salltourism,drugs,guns,carsandpersonalservices.Nobodymakesanything,exceptmaybe'icecream',pornandcounterfeitmoney.Everybodybuys,sellsorsteals.ViceCityisaniceplace.Itisnotquiteutopia.Andnorisitsomedarkdystopia.There'snostorylinehere,whereparadiseturnsnasty,inwhichthetellingearlydetailturnsouttobeacluetothenightmarebeneaththesurface,theseveredearofBlueVelvet.Withoutthepossibilityofdystopia,there'snoutopiaeither.TerryEagleton:"Allutopianwritingisalsodystopian,since,likeKant'ssublime,itcannothelpremindingusofourmentallimitsintheactofstrivingtogobeyondthem."InViceCitythereisno'beyond'.Asonewouldexpectinahighendlandofvice,itsofferisallinclusive.102.Ingamespace,theverypossibilityofutopiaisforeclosed.Itisnolongerpossibletodescribeashiningcityuponthehill,asifitwereaspecialtopicuntouchedbytheeveryday,workadaywor
ld.Nospaceissacred;nospaceisseparate.Noteventhespaceofthepage.Thegamelikeextendsitslineseverywhereandnowhere.Andyet,apuredigitalgamelikeViceCitymightstillperformsomecurious,criticalfunction.Whydosomanychoosetoescapefromtheireverydaygamespaceinto-yetmoregames?Asthemyriadlinesoftopologyworktheirwayintospace,spacemutates,andjustastheallegoricalmomentchangesfromthetopicaltothetopographictothetopological,sotoodoestheutopianmoment.Onemightthinkgamespaceviabothallegory(doubledasallegorithm)andutopia(mutatedintoatopia).Onerevealswhichcouldbe,theotherannouncingwhatshouldbe,bothshiftingandrealigningasthespacearounduschangeswhatitwouldbe.103.Utopiawasaplacetohide,whereatopiccoulddevelopofitsownaccord,safewithintheboundsofthebook.Therelifecouldbeginagainoutsideofconflict.Utopiasdotheirbesttoexpelviolence.Inautopiantextthereisalwaysabarrierinspace-distantanddifficultterrain;orabarrierintime-interveningrevolutionsorCharlesFourier'scyclesofepochs.Therealbarrierisratherthattroublesomelinethatdivideswhatisonthepagefromwhatisoutsideit.FredricJameson:"IbelievethatwecanbeginfromthepropositionthatUtopianspaceisanimaginaryenclavewithinrealsocialspace,inotherwords,thattheverypossibilityofUtopianspaceisitselfaresultofspatialandsocialdifferentiation."Onlyutopia'senclavewasnotimaginary.Itwastangibleandmaterial.Utopiawasaplaceonapagewhereviolenceispushedtothemarginbythepowerofsheerdescription.UtopiansocialistWilliamMorris:"Successinbestingourneighborsisaroadtorenownnowcl
osed."104.Utopiarestricteditselftoaparticulartopic-thetopicofthepage,andparticularline,thelineofwriting.(Fig.5)Thebookisaline:atrajectory,aconnectionthroughtimeandspacewithcertainqualities.Amongitsqualitiesisthewayitpartitionsoffthesmoothspaceofthepagefromtheroughandtumbleworldwithout.Itrulesofffromtheworldthatspecialtempowheretextplaysitssubtlegamesagainstitsreader.Inautopia,otherlinesofcommunicationareeithernonexistentorsubordinatedtothedescriptivepowerofthetext.UtopiancommunistA.A.Bogdanov:"Theplayswereeithertransmittedfromdistantlargecitiesbymeansofaudiovisualdevices,or--moreusually--theywerecinematicreproductionsofplaysperformedlongago,sometimessolongagothattheactorsthemselveswerealreadydead."InthisutopianRedStar,thenewlinesextendandenhancethoseofthetext,ratherthansupercedethem.105.Itisnotthatutopiasalonecreategulags.AdolfEichmannwasnoutopian.Hejustkeptthetrainsrunningontime-tothecamps.Hiswasaprosaicimagination,makingtopographymatchthetextofhisorders.Thelinesforimplementingthatkindofviolencearetherailwayline,thetelegraphline,andthelineofpunchcardspassingthroughthetabulators-precursorstothedigitalcomputer.HolocausthistorianEdwinBlack:"WhenGermanywantedtoidentifytheJewsbyname,IBMshowedthemhow."Intopographythereisawholenestofconnections,alongwhichflowsinformation,radiatingfromthetext,callingtheworldtoorder.Therearelinesforplanning,managing,measuring.Topographyisnotonlythemeansforproducingspatialandsocialdifferentiation,butofovercomingit,conne
ctingaspaceofplaceswithaspaceofflows.ThefirstintimationsoftopologyarethoseIBMHolerithtabulatingmachineswhichwillmakespacenotonlysomethingthatcanbedividedandconnectedbyorder,butmeasuredandmanagedbythealgorithm.106.Whenthelinesoftelesthesia-telegraph,telephone,telecommunications-connecttopicsintoatopographicspace,extensivelymappedandstoried,utopiaisrecruitedoutofthepageandcomesouttoplay.Utopiauncoils,spreadingitstendrilsoutofthebook,alongthelinesofthetopographic,intotheworld.Ratherthanaretreatfromtheworld,showinginitspositivecreationofanewworldwhattheactualonebeyonditslinelacks,utopiabecomessomethingelse.Thebookbecomesanalibiformoreworldlylinesofcommunication,somewiththepowerofanorder:diagrams,memos,reports,telegrams.Utopiabecomespartofsomethinginstrumental,buttherebylosesitspower.Topographiclinesaretherenowtomaketheworldoverbythebook,butintheprocesstheymakethebookoveraswell,reducingittojustanotherline.Thesmoothplaneoftheblankpageisthegreen-fieldssitefordelineatingapuretopographyoftheline.Butthatpagecouldbeanypage-apageofanovelorofEichmann'sorders.Utopia'sproblemisnotthatitisselfcontained,butthatitisnotselfcontainedenough.Signsandimagesleakoutofthisbound-paperenclave,andarecapturedbyotherpowers,connectedtoflowsalongotherlines.107.Thepoweroftopographyisforeshadowedindystopias.RussellJacoby:"Utopiasseektoemancipatebyenvisioningaworldbasedonnew,neglected,orspurnedideas;dystopiasseektofrightenbyaccentuatingcontemporarytrendsthatthreatenfreedom."Whatt
heyhaveincommonisabeliefinthepowerofthelineofwritingandthebookasatopic,separatefrombutinaprivilegedrelationtotheworld.Utopiasdreamofwhatispossiblewithinthattopicasacritiqueofwhatisbeyondit.Dystopiasarethenightmareofthelossofpowerofthelineofwriting,overcomebyotherlines.JackLondon,GeorgeOrwell,AldousHuxley,YevgenyZamyatin-allrecoilfromthelinesthatsupercedethoseofwriting.Dystopianspaycloseattentiontothecontroloftopographybyvariouslinesofanalogsignal-radio,television-threadingtopicstogether,makingspacetransparenttoanallseeingBigBrotherorthecultofFord.108.Theriseofdystopianformsmighthavelesstodowiththeperniciouspoweroftheutopiantextthanwiththedecliningpowerofthetextingeneralasakindofline.Dystopiantextsarethesignthatthebookhaslostitscapacitytofunctionasaseparatetopic,fromwhichtonegatetheworld.Dystopiasarewriting'sguiltyconscience.Theirsecretutopia-likeWinstonSmith'sdiaryinNineteenEighty-Four-isstillthebook.Thefailureofutopiamightpointtonothingsomuchastheinadequatepropertiesofthelinesemployedtomakeitoperational.Thepassagefromutopiantodystopiantextschartstheriseandfallofthebookasthelinethatmightnegatethisworldthroughitspositivedescriptionofanotherworld.Thebookgavewaytootherlines,courtesyofIBMandotheravatarsofthemilitaryentertainmentcomplex-creatingtopologieswhichcolonizedtheworldindifferentways.Alldystopianwritingisalsoutopian.Itcannothelpremindingitselfofthelimitsofwritingandalostworldofthesovereigntextbeforeotherlinessublimateditspower.109.Topography
learnedtolivewithoutitsutopias,andsettledintoamundaneresignationtothehereandnow.Itassuageditsboredominspecialtimes,specialplaces,wheredifferentrulesapplied.Post-warplaytheoristRogerCaillois'answertotheNaziswasagonmixedwithalea-gamesofchanceandcompetition-eachinitsproperplaceandtimealongsidebutnotaboveeverydaylife.ThiswouldbetheantidotetotheNazi'stoxicmixofilinxandmimesis-intoxicationandspectacle.Theywouldtakeplaceoutsideoftheuncertaintiesofmundanetimeandspace,inspecialzoneswhereconsistentrulesapply.Suchspacesare'heterotopias'.MichelFoucault:"Theirroleistocreateaspacethatisother,anotherrealspace,asperfect,asmeticulous,aswellarrangedasoursismessy,ill-constructedandjumbled."Heterotopiasareatsomeremovefromthedullrepetitionofmeaninglesslaborswithincalculablepurposeinworkadaylife.Theyarespacesandtimeswhichliealongotherlines.110.Heterotopianspacesareveryvaried.Eachhasitsownparticularrulesandseasons.Thereareheterotopiasofbarenecessity:prisons,hospitals,schools.Theseneednotconcerngamertheorymuch.Moreinterestingaretheheterotopiasofuselessluxury:galleries,arenas,sportsdomes.Theseinturnsubdivideintoheterotopiasofaestheticplayandofthecalculatedgame.Oneisaspaceofpurequalities;theother-purequantities.Onecreatesnewvalues;theotherpitsgivenvaluesagainsteachother.Inone,theidealisthatplayisfree;intheother,thatthegameisfair.Inbothheterotopias,thesevalueshavetheirlimits.Oneisanartificeofrankandtheother-ofrankartifice.Outsidetheheterotopiathatmakestheirautonomypossib
le,theyamounttonothing.111.Heterotopiasofluxury,ofastrictlyartificialnecessity,containsubdivisionsofplayandgame,existingwithintheirallottedtimesandspaces,whichareinturnsubdivided.Thespaceofplaycontainsseparateworldsofliterature,art,theater,cinema,evenspacesforsexualplay.Thesearenowjust'specialtopics',ruledofffromanylargerambitionsforremakingtheworld.Aestheticplaytriedagainandagaintobreakoutofitsheterotopia,totakethederangementofthesensesintothestreets,andagainandagainitfailed.GuyDebord:"ForDadaismsoughttoabolishartwithoutrealizingit,andSurrealismsoughttorealizeartwithoutabolishingit.ThecriticalpositionsinceworkedoutbytheSituationistsdemonstratesthattheabolitionandtherealizationofartareinseparableaspectsofasingletranscendenceofart."Itwasnottobe.TheheterotopianspaceoftheartworldabolishedDebord'sSituationistsinsteadbyrealizing'Situationism'entirelywithintheconfinesoftheplaypenofarthistory.113.Heterotopiasofthegamehaveneverbeenofmuchinteresttotheory,whosepractitionershavetendedtoviewitastheplaceofthemob.PatKane:"Theworkingclassisalsotheplayingclass--andhasalwaysbeenso."Buttogamertheorywithoutsuchprejudices,heterotopiasofthegamemaybeakeyprecursortogamespace.Amongthemareseparateworldspittingdifferentattributesofbodyandmindintocontestsofskillorluck,frombadmintontobackgammon.Everywayofmeasuringwhatonebodydoesagainstanother-eachfindsitsownspecialheterotopia,itsfield,itscourt,itstrack,itspitch,itsarena.SaysdefrockedSituationistRalphRumney:"Itisnowsport,n
otpaintingorsculpture,whichdefinesthelimitsofthehuman,whichoffersasenseorimageofwholeness,ofaphysicalidea,whichnohonestartcannowrepeat."Nor,needoneadd,canwriting.114.Ifaestheticplaysuffersfromenclosurewithinheterotopianmargins;theagonofgamesisleechedoutofitspuredomains.RalphRumneydidn'tcounton24hoursportschannels,internetgambling,realityTVgameshows,orthesubtle,corrosiveimpositionofthedigitalgamespaceoneveryaspectoflife.Conceptualartisnomatchforconceptualsport,withitsfantasybaseballteamsanditsperpetualpeptalksurgingeveryonealwaystojustdoit!--where'it'isstrippedofanypossibilitynotmarkedandmeasuredinadvance.Notonlywasaestheticplaynomatchforthegame,itendsupplayingasubordinaterolewithintheexpansionofthegamebeyondamereheterotopia.Artprovidestheimagesandstoriesformediatingbetweenthegamerandgamespace.Ratherthanactualgamesplayedinactualarenas,artexpandsthereachofthegametoimaginarygamesplayedinapurelydigitalrealm,anywhereandeverywhere,oneverydesktopandcellphone.115.Foragamertheorythegenealogyofgamespacemightpassthroughtheseheterotopiasofthegamemorethanthoseofplay,andthoseofplaymorethanthoseofnecessity.Theoryhasbeenlookinginallthewrongplaces.Theplaytimeaestheticsoftheavantgardesofartyieldstothe'ludology'ofgamespace.ItwasthegeniusofCaillois,thelapsedSurrealist,tograspthis.Intopography,whathecallsalea(chance)andagon(competition)becomethedominantmodes;whathecallsilinxandmimesis-intoxicatingvertigoanddissimulatingspectacle-theminormodes.TheobsessionsoftheSitu
ationists-passivespectacleandactiveinsurrectionagainstit-formanobsoletecouple,eachdrawingsupportindeclinefromtheother.Theactioniselsewhere.116.Mostoftheavantgardescelebratetransgressive,sublimeplay,eruptingbeyondarule-boundworld.PostSituationistAlbertoIacovoni:"Playarchitecturemustliberatespacefromtopologicalchains."TheOulipogroupdidtheopposite.Itpreferredself-imposedrules,elegantastheywerearbitrary,thatmightbeconductivetonewkindsofplay.Ratherthanresistheterotopianmarginality,theyreveledinit.Giventhatthepassagefromtopographictotopologicalspaceeliminateseventhemarginswithinwhichheterotopiasflourished,thismightproveamoreenduringgameplanforgamertheory.OulipiannovelistGeorgePerecsawwhatwascoming,inhislate-dystopiancreationofW,atextualislanddevotedonlytototalsport:"ThelifeofanAthleteofWisbutasingle,endless,furiousstriving,apointless,debilitatingpursuitofthatunrealinstantwhentriumphcanbringrest."WhatCailloisseesasawinforcivilizationovertheNazis,Perecseesmoredarkly,asthetriumphofTheTriumphoftheWill.Bothenterthegamertheoryhalloffamebyprovidingitwithitsobject-gamespace-anditscriticalimpetus-thegamer'soddattunementtowardthegame.117.Noutopiapullsatthetopologicalworld,callingitawayfromitself.Evendystopiantextsbecomemarginal,confinedtotheplaygroundofliterarygamesmanship.Theoncediscreteheterotopianspacesnolongerco-existwitheverydaylife,ascompensation.Rather,gamespaceseepsintoeverydaylife,movingthroughitspores,transformingitinitsownimage.Ratherthanatimelessut
opianidealwherehistoryends,ratherthantheallottedhouroftheheterotopian,everydaylifenowpulsesconstantlywithmomentsofunrealizedatopianpromise.Everywhere,allthetime,thegamerconfrontstherivalimpulsesofchanceandcompetition,intoxicationandspectacle,ashomeopathicantidotestoaboredomthatchallengesbeingfromwithin.InViceCityallofCaillois'fourkindsofplay-chanceandcompetition,intoxicationandspectacle-cometogether.Thedestructionofthespectaclebecomesthespectacleofdestruction;thederangementofthesensesbecomesthearrangementofdrugdeals.InViceCityyouchanceyourarminanagonofallagainstall.118.Noworkofartcanaspiretotranscendthisgamespace,whichhasrealizedartbysuppressingit'sambitions.YetperhapsagamelikeViceCitycanfunctionasthenegativeofgamespace,itsatopianshadow,inaparalleltothewaythattheverypositivityofautopiaactsasanegationoftheworldoutsideitsbounds.NottheleastofthecharmsofViceCityisthatwhileitappearstobeaboutalifeofcrimeitisthoroughlylawabiding.Itisagameabouttransgressioninwhichitisnotpossibletobreaktherules.Onemaysucceedinthegameorfail,butonecannotreallycheat.(Eventhe'cheats'arepartoftherules.)Thisistheatopiandreamofgamespace,wherethelinesaresodense,thedigitalsoomnipresent,thatanyandeveryobjectandsubjectisinplay,andallofspaceisagamespace.Everymovecontrarytotherulesofagivengameismerelyamoveintoanothergame.Thegameimaginestopologyperfected.119.Atopiahasonequalityincommonwithutopia-itsaversiontoambiguity.ViceCitymaytakeplaceinadarkworldofgunsanddrugs,buteverymissionprod
u
cesanexactandtangiblereward.IfyourmissionistofindpornstarsCandyandMercedes,youdrivetotherightlocation,dispatchsomebodyguards,chaseCandy'spimp,runhimover,returntopickupCandy,drivetothepizzajoint,collectMercedes,drivethembothtotheStudioanddeliverthemtothedirector.Yourrewardisalwaysexactlyonethousanddollars.Ifutopiathrivesasanarchitectureofqualitativedescription,andbracketsoffquantitativerelations,atopiarendersalldescriptionsarbitrary.Allthatmattersisthequantitativerelations.Byexcludingrelations,utopiaexcludesviolence;byprivilegingrelations,atopiaappearsasnothingbutviolence,butonlybecauseitexcludesinsteadanycommitmenttostabledescription.Anythingthatmatterscanbetransformedinpreciseandrepeatablewaysintosomethingelse.Therelentlessworkingoutofthealgorithmleavesbehindacarnageofsigns,immolatedinthetransformationofonevalueintoanother.120.TherulesofViceCitycallforavastaccumulationofcash,carsandcronies,ofweaponsandrealestate.Mostoftheseactivitiesareoutsidethelaw,butlawisjustpartofalargeralgorithm.Inanycase,thestoryandtheartarearbitrary,meredecoration.Ifinutopia,everythingissubordinatedtoarigorousdescription,amarkingofspacewithsigns,inatopia,nothingmattersbutthetransitiverelationsbetweenvariables.Theartfulsurfacesofthegamearejustawayforthegamertointuittheirwaythroughthestepsofthealgorithm.HencetheparadoxofViceCity.Itscriminalworldismeanttobeshockingtotheliteraryorcinematicimagination,wherethereisstilladividinglinebetweenrightandwrong,andwheredescriptionism
eanttoactuallydescribesomething.Buttoagamer,itsjustameanstodiscoveranalgorithm.ViceCity'sfilmnoirworldimpliesnotthatonecanstepbackfromitintothelight,butthatwhiledrivingaroundandaroundinit,onecandiscoverthealgorithmoftowhichgamespacemerelyaspiresandbywhichitistobejudgedinitsentirety.121.InViceCity,theworldexistsalreadymadeoverasacompletegamespace,anatopia.Itisnot'nowhere'(utopia)or'elsewhere'(heterotopia),but'everywhere'(atopia).Inthegame,spacesallhavethepropertiesrequiredofthemofacertainkindofplay.HiddenonViceCity'sislandsareonehundredsecretpackages.SomeareDowntown,someareinLittleHavana,someinLittleHaiti,someonthegolfcourse,someattheairport.Collectthemallandyoucantradeinevenyourbestmotorvehiclesfortheultimateride.Orifthatisnotyourpreferredgoal,pickanotherone.Eitherway,thequalitiesofspacealwaysguideyoutoitsrealvalues,whichalwayshaveascore.Thisspaceisperfect,seamless-andbounded,likeThomasMore'sUtopia.Andjustastheutopiapointstowhatislackingbeyondthepage;sotooatopiapointstowhatislacking,beyondthegame.Atopianspaceisarealenclavewithinimaginarysocialspace.Thepossibilityofatopianspaceisaresultoftheimpossibilityofadequateandeffectivespatialandsocialquantificationandcalculation.122.Forquiteoppositereasons,theutopiantextandtheatopiangamebothstandaccusedofincitementstoviolence.Whatiftheatopiangame,liketheutopianbook,ismerelythescapegoat?Whatifthebookwasmerelyaharmlessrepositoryofthepotentialofthelinethatwasalreadyimprintingitselfontheworld?Whatifthegameism
ere
lyarepositoryofanewpotentialoftheline?Inutopianbooks,thewritingshowstheeverydayworldtransformedasonlywritingcantransformit.Theutopianbookmerelypusheswriting'sabilitiesthefurthest,toapointofalmostcompleteconsistency,withinthespecialtopicofthebook.Theatopiangame,likewise,isthealgorithmicinamorecompleteandconsistentform.Neitherbooknorgameiseverwhollycompleteandconsistent.Theyalwaysnegotiatewithwhatisbeyondtheirbounds.InViceCityasinMore'sUtopiathereisatravelerwhomediatesbetweenoneworldandanother.Butineithercase,theutopianbookortheatopiangamelacksthepowertotransformstheworld.Butwheresignsandimagesmaybleedofftheutopianpageintotheworld,thealgorithmofthegame,inwhicheachrelationdependsononeanother,maynot.Atleastnotyet.123.Itisnotthe'content'ofViceCitywhichmightgiveagamertheoristcausetopause.Itreallycontainsnosex,noviolence,nodrugs,noguns.Thesearemerelytheart-theimagesandstories-viawhichthegamemediatesbetweenwhatiswithinitsownpurelyalgorithmicline,andthelessthanperfecttopologywithinwhichthegamerlives.Rather,itistheformofthegameitselfanditscompromiseswithaworldbeyondthatcanworkasthetoposofacriticalgamertheory.Theatopiangame,liketheutopianbook,expresseswhathasthepowertoremaketheworldofitstime,butisnotitselfthatpower.Itisauseless,impotentformofapowerfulline.Whichiswhycriticaltheorybestbecomesgamertheory,andwhygamertheorybestbecomescritical.Thecriticalattachesitselftowhatpowerisbutnotwhereitis.Itattachesitselftopowerinapowerlessform.Theatopiangameisexactl
ythesitethathasthisambiguouspropertywhenthingsreachthetopologicallevel,whenthelinesruneverywherethroughspaceandeverythingiscomingtogetheraspotentialfordigitalcalculation.124.Ingames,asingamespace,somecalculationshappenquickerthanothers.Sometimesthereisamomenttothinkitover,negotiate.Sometimesnot.Whenthereisnotimeforcalculation,thegamermustactonthebasisofacalculationmadeinadvance.There'salwaysabackstory,providingsomedividinglinealongwhichtoweighone'sinterests.It'sneverquiteasgametheoryproperwouldpredict.Thegamerisrarelyanautonomousagent,actingonrationalselfinterest.Ifgametheorywasobjective,rational,abstract;gamertheoryissubjective,intuitive,particular.Ifgametheorystartswiththeselfcontainedagent,likeaprisonerinacell,lookingoutattheworld;gamertheorywondershowtheagencyofthegamercomesintobeingassomethingdistinctinthefirstplace.Inthemidstofbattle,howdoesthegamerdecidewhenandwheretopullthetrigger?Theatopiaofthegameisasafehaveninwhichtoenacttheproblemofbeingasitappearsingamespace,butwithouttheoppressivestakesofone'sownlifeontheline.125.Everydaylifeoncehadtheresourcestoresist,adapt,appropriateorembraceutopianschemes.Itpushedthepromiseandthreatofotherwaysofbeingoffintothecorner,whileitgotonwiththebusinessofwrestingfreedomfromnecessity,buildingaworldinwhichtodwell.Withtheverysuccessofthatlaborcomesarenewedchallengetoitsresourcefulness.Havingdevelopedatopographyinwhichtodwell,minedandmoldedfromrawpossibilitybycollectivelabor,boredomrisestoanewpitch,andthehe
terotopianpastimesbecomemorethanamererecompenseforadulllife.Theybecomethedrivingforceofdevelopmentitself.Outoftheheterotopiasofagonandaleaarisetheatopiasofgamespace,viawhichtopologymakesitselfknowntous,asanevermoreintricatematrixofthedigitalline.It'snotthattheory,evenagamertheory,canachieveallthatmuchwhenconfrontedwiththedigitalindifferenceofgamespace.Itmightaspiremerelytodescribewhatbeingnowis.Battle(onRez)Fig.6126.NottheleastofthepleasuresofplayingTetsuyaMizoguchi'sRezisthecounter-intuitivewaythetriggerworks.Ifusuallythegamerpressesthetriggertoshootthetarget,inRezthegamerreleasesthetriggertoshoot.Actuallyit'satwostageoperation:holdthetriggerintoselectatarget;releasethetriggertoshoot.Asyoumovethroughatunnel-likespace,withpoundinghousebeatsinyourears,variouspotentialtargetsswimandswishby,ortakeaswipeatyou-orratheratyourcharacter.Youholdthetriggerdowntolockontothemastargets,andthenreleaseitandwatchasfierylinesradiatetowardthemovingtargets.One'smissilesseemmoreballeticthanballistic.Theyarctowardstheirtargetsevenasthosetargetsmove.127.EverythinginRezisveryabstract.Yourcharactermayhaveavaguelyhumanformornot,dependingonthelevel.Thebrightlycoloredshapesthatflareatyoumaylookvaguelymenacingorbrightlyfriendly.Thewholethingismeanttosimulatetheexperienceofanightclubmorethanawar.This,togetherwiththecurioustriggeraction,highlightstheactoftargetinginRezratherthanthetargetitself.Thereissomevaguelysci-fistorylineaboutwhyonetargetsandshoots,butitisratherminimal
andsketchy.It'snotclearatfirstjustwhatrolethestoryplays.Likemanygamesofitsgenre(it'sa'railshooter')itsanexperienceofbattlingagainstthingsinordertolevel.InRez,onetargetswhattoshootatandshootsatwhatonetargetsprettymuchforitsownsake.It'sinterestasagameresidesinthisabstractingoftheactawayfromtoomanyparticularsastowhyonetargetsorwhomoneshoots.TimespentwithRezfeelslikeimmersioninaneternal,tensepresentunderfire.BlaisePascal:"Thefactisthatthepresentusuallyhurts."Shootinggamesrecognizeanddisavowthisatoneandthesametime.128.Color,brightness,shape,movement,beats,notes,sounds,eventhepulsingvibrationsofthecontrollerinhandcometogetherinRezinaveritablesynasthesia,ablendingofthesensesintentonmeldingthegamerwiththegame.It'saquiteparticularcontextinwhichtotrytotarget.Theenemyhastobeidentified,localized,andhighlightedinordertobecomeatarget.Thetargetemergesoutofanevent,outofapureanalogfluxofvariablemovement.Beforethereisatargetthereiseverythingandnothing-indifference,alterity,beingneitheronenortheother,neitherherenorthere.Selectingatargetstabilizesarelationbetweentheonetargetedandtheonetargeting-oneversustheother,usversusthem.Targetingturnstimeandspacefromadisconcertingexperienceoffluxintoconditionsofselfawareness,wheretheworldexistssothegamermightcomeintobeing,againstit.Onceaneventyieldsatarget,itbecomessomethingsubjecttocontrol.Theanalogyieldstothedigital.129.Totargetistoidentifyanobjectofanactionwithanaimtowardsagoal.Thegoalwillcomedirectly,bydesignatingtheendpo
intinadvanceandaimingatit.Thereisnoindirectionintargeting.Atargetisagoalthatcanbereachedbyvirtueofanimmediateknowledgeofitandaconsequentactionagainstit.Thegamermayneedtotargetonethinginordertosubsequentlytargetanother,butthisismoreamatterofstringingtargetstogetherasasequenceintime.Orrather,asequenceagainsttime.InRez,thegamerdoesbesttotargetcertainshapesthatappearintheperipheryofone'svision,andwhichenhanceone'spowerandextendone'simmunity.Whatthegamehighlightsisalogisticsoftargeting,aneconomyoforderagainsttime,thebattleofalternatingmergerandseparationfromtheother.130.Targetingisatoneandthesametimethedesignatingofagoal,theonedesignating,andthemeansofdesignation.Totargetistoovercometheindifferenceofselfandother,andatthesametimetointroduceanoscillationintothemomentofthisveryovercoming.Pressthetriggerdownandthetargetselects,assomethingotherthanyou;releasethetriggerthantheshotconnectsyoutoitagain,butinaveryspecialway,asengagedintherelationofbattling.Hitormiss,thegapbetweentargetandgamerre-opens,andthecyclebeginsagain.Perhapsthegamerisalwaysbattlingotherness,inanunstablerelationtoalterity,toblurryedgesandfuzzyboundarieswhichthreatentooverwhelmtheself.StevenPoole:"Onecrucialcomponentofvideo-gamingpleasureisinfactacertainlevelofanxiety."InRez,thisfeelingisrendereduseful,productive,ratherthanparalyzingorprofound.Thegamerexploitstheanxiousrelationofselftootherintheactoftargeting,riskingtheboundariesofcharacter,fortherewardofpromotingthecharactertoanewlevel
.
131.Totargetistoblazeacrosstheagonizinggapbetweenselfandworld,betweencognitionanditsobject.Andyetthetargetdoesnotstandaloneandisolated.Itappearsnotonlyagainstabackgroundofothermoments;itappearsagainstabackgroundofothermeanings.Everytargetisembeddedinaseriesofeventsthatexceedsthemomentofopportunityfortargeting.Totargetistodiscriminateandrankpossibilitieswithinanevent.Itistobattleone'swayinadeliberateanddeliberativelinefrommomenttomoment,acrossthesurfaceoftheevent,targetingthemomentofmaximumopportunity.132.Ineverydaylife,rattlingaroundingamespace,yourrelationtoobjectsisalltoooftencontingent,ambiguous,ineffective.Youlabortoconnectwithclumsydrunkmotions,andevenifyoudoitshardtoknowthepointofit.InRez,thingsaredifferent.Therelationbetweenyouandotherpassesthroughacharacterforwhomactioninspaceisrisky,challenging,butfarlessambiguous.Yourcharacteralternatelymergesintothisgorgeouscolorfulworld,drawingyouwithit;oryourcharacterofferstoyouanarrowbutclearpointofview.Itoffersuptargets.Youlockon,release,fire.Targetingcutsthroughallthatisslippery,vagueordullaboutbeingintheworld.Eachmomentoftimeinthegamehasaclarityandconsistencythattimeinmeregamespacehardlyeverachieves.133.Ineverydaylife,timeexactsitstollinunknownincrementsofattrition.Objectstaxthebodyinunobserved,unobservableways;gradually,orsuddenly,throughsomeanalogslidebestnotknowntoointimately-death.Timeisviolence.Topologyoffersupendlesspowersfortransformingoneobjectintoanother,forremakinganythingandeverythi
ng,fromatomstotheatmosphere.Andyetthesepowersworkonlyagainstthingsinspace,notagainsttime.Allonecandoingamespaceistakepotshotsattime,whichrelentlesslychipsawayatlife.Inthegame,thereisatleastthepossibilityofscoringpointsagainsttime.InRez,timestartsoutslowenoughtoenablethegamertostringtogethersequencesoftargets.Onceyousucceedatthis,thetempoincreases,andthegamertargetstimesofincreasingintensity.Ifthegamerisdefeated,iftimewinsout,itisonlyagainstacharacter.Whenthegamerwalksawayfromthebattleintact,itiswiththetemporarysuggestionofavictoryagainstthetemporalitself.134.InRez,variouscolorfulshapesappearastheenemy,buttheyarearbitrary,abstract.Asiftohighlightthis,theysometimesmoveinquirkybutpredictableways.Theyarenotreallytheenemy.Orrather,theyareonlytheproximateenemy.Timeistheenemy.Targetingattemptstotransformtimefromamediumofevents,whereonethingalternateswithanother,toamediumofselffulfillment,wherebypickingoutadeliberativelineacrossitssurface,timecanbemadetoregistertheintegrityandsignificanceofone'scharacter-andbyproxyone'sself-andrewarditwiththenextlevel.Withinthegame,targetingbecomesanactthatrecruitstimetheeternalenemytoone'sside.135.ThingsappeartodieinRezwhenyoushootthem.Themusicswellsandthecolorsblazeinalltheirglory.Buttherecanreallybenothingontheothersideofameresignofdeath.Thesesignsaredigital,mererepeatablebits;deathisnot.NiallLucy:"Deathisalwaysabsolutelysingular."Signscanalwaysbeexchangedforothersigns.Deathissomethingelse.JacquesDerrida:"Dyingcanne
verbetaken,borrowed,transferred,delivered,promisedortransmitted."Itcanneverbeincorporatedintotopology,whichisnothingbutlinesuponlinesalongwhichtoborrow,transfer,deliver,promise,transmit,etc,etc.Deathisthelastline,thelastthresholdfortopologicalspace.Dyingisanalog,aslippagetowardnothingness,alegalandmoralgreyzone.Hencetheappealoftargeting.Theappallingdragandfrictionofdeathcanbeturnedintoasignandmadetheaimofatargeting.InRez,thebrightlycoloredsignsofimminentthreatloomupagainstthehorizonoftime.Thegamemakesitappearasifonehasnochoiceinthematter.Targetingappearsasaviolencewithoutguilt.Onetargetsoutofnecessity.Butintargeting,onebattlesthesignsofdeath,disposingoftheproblemoftheimpossibilityofthesignsofdeatheverhavinganymeaning,thissideofdeathitself.136.Atthebeginningofeachlevel,gamerandcharacter,linkedbythecontroller,goouttogethertoconfronttime,whichhurlsatgamerandcharacteralikethesekillersigns.Bydestroyingthesemereappearances,timeitself-notmerelytheappearanceoftime-isdefeated.Indefeat,acharacterdies;invictorythegamerwins.Theoscillationbetweencharacterandtargetdoublesthatbetweengamerandcharacter.(SeeFig.6)Theactofaligninggamer,characterandtargetintheactoftargetingriskstheintegrityoftheselfagainstthepossibilityofdefeatingtime.Ifthecharacterlost,replaythelevelagain.Andagain.Repeatthissame,strange,digitaltime,untilyouwin.Thetimeofthegame,whichcanberepeated,overandover,aneternalloopofthesametime,isnotviolent.Nothingchangesingametime.Timeisaconstant,measuredo
utinidentical,digitalunits.Eveninagamewheretimespeedsup,itdoessointhesameway,forthesamereasons,overandover,everytimeyouplay.Withinthisdigitaltime,thegamerstepsouttocallintobeinganddestroyitsnemesis:analogtime,violenttime,thisriverthatisneverthesamewaytwice.137.Flyingalong,weightlessonarail,hereallaroundareclustersandpods,flightsandflocks,movingwithalgorithmicprecision,butrarelyappearingasunderthecommandofacentralnode.Rezisaboutbattlingalongaline,notacrossafront.Thepulsing,phosphorescingqualityofRezgivesthegamerafeelingofaparticularlyintenselossofself.Yoursensesmeshintoanetworkoflines,ofmoments,spreadacrossthescreen.Thepayoff,ifonetargetsaccurately,isthecoalescenceoftheselfbackagainintoaheightenedlevelofcoherencepreciselythroughvictoryoverthepulsingdub-trancetimethatconfrontsit.Thetwo-bitcodeofpressandreleaseonthetriggerswitchesbetweenthelinedividingandthelineconnectingselftoother,cuttingoutanyambiguitiesinbetween.138.Thepurposeofatargetinggameistheovercomingofdeaththroughthetargetingoftheother,freeingtheselftobeitself-temporarily.Thegoal,thetargetofthetarget,istostopplayingwhilestillalive.Havingdoneso,thegamerrejoices,forthemoment,beforecollapsingbackfromthegameintothevagariesofthenetworksandnetworksoflinesandlinesthataregamespace.There'snothingforitbuttoplayagain,andagain.Savethegame-freezetime-andcomebackandtryagainforthenextlevel.TheonlyrealproblemwithRezisthatitdoesnothaveenoughlevels.Victoryistemporary,orrathertemporal.Youcandefeattimeinth
egame,butonlyforatime.Andhavingwonallthereistowin,boredomlooms...139.ThespacewithinwhichonebattlesinRezisanallegoryoftopologicalspaceitself.Itisallnodesandnetworks.Itisabattlespaceratherthanabattlefield.Thereisnofrontline.Onecannothidebehindthelines.One'scharacter,onitsrail,propelsitselfthroughspacefollowingthelineofanettoitsnode.Thenodemaybeacenter,buttheremaynotreallybeacenterofcenters.Thegamelevelsoutleavingthegamerwiththeuneasyfeelingthatthecenteryouconqueredisnotthecenterofcenters,evenifthisiswhatthestorylineclaims.Thegamerknowsbetter.Everypointconnectsthrougheveryother,everyshapecanbetransformedintoanother.Itcanfold,stretch,morphandbubble.Timeisconstant,butspaceisnot.Itcanpulseandbulge,warpandwobble.Itisanetwork.Andwhileeverypointcaninprinciplebeconnectedtoeveryother,inpracticeitcannot.Thereareprotocolsgoverningwhichpointscanopentowhichotherpoints.AlexGalloway:"protocolisanalgorithm,aproscriptionforstructurewhoseformofappearancemaybeanynumberofdifferentdiagramsorshapes."Thegameisanexerciseinnegotiatingprotocolstogainaccesstomoreandmoreofthenetwork.140.Netsareaproblem.Ingamespaceoneiscontinuallygettingtangledupinthem.Ingamespace,bothspaceandtimeareelastic.Ingamespace,netstugatone'sextremities,contaminateone'ssenses,blurtheboundsofselfitself.Onecan'tdowithoutnetsbuttheydoonein.It'saparadox,aninescapabletension.Inthegame,atleasttimeisheldconstant,digital,repeatable.Thisconsistencyenablesareductionofactiontotargeting.Totargetistodenyanydebtto
thenetworkwhichenmeshesonewiththeother.The'work'inanetworkisinidentifyingatargetthatconstitutesitslimit.InRez,pullingthetriggertargets,butdoesnotshoot.Itputstheemphasisontheformerratherthanthelatter.SamuelWeber:"…theactoftargetingisanactofviolenceevenbeforeanyshotisfired."Theactoftargetinghasalreadycutthenetconnectingonetotheother.Thegamer'sdebttothenetremainsunacknowledged-otherthanintherepetitionoftheritualofplayingthegame.141.Targetinggameswouldseemtheleastlikelytoneedthesupportofaframingstoryline,andyettheyalmostalwayshaveone.Agamermightwatchtheintroductorycutscenes,oridlyscanthebackstoryprintedontheinsertinsidethebox,butnomorethanonce.Yetthesestorylineshaveapurposethattheyfulfillsimplybyexisting,evenwhentheyareignored.Storylinesreleasethegamerfromentrapmentinthenet.Theydrawalinebetweenacharacteranditsenemy.Theypolarizeanetintoantagonisticfronts-evenifthesefrontsarenotspatiallyseparate.Indeed,theremaybedarklabyrinthinetwiststhatfoldonefrontaroundandagainsttheother,asingamessuchasDeusEx.Storylineshaveaparticularroleinframingtheactionoftargeting,itrelievesoneofresponsibilitytowardthatfromwhichonecutsawayaself.Storylinesframethepossibilityofseparatingselffromother,sothattheothermaylegitimatelybecomeatarget.Thedefeatoftheotherreopenstheinstabilitybetweenself-otherthatischaracteristicofanetwork,hencetheneedforthestorytoregeneratetheseparationalloveragain.142.Thestorylineisthegamer'salibi.Whilethegamerisimmersedinaworldofpuredigitalrelations,flip
pingtheswitchbetweenselfandother,playingoutthepossibilitiesofaconsistentandstabletimethatcanbedefeated,thestorylineinsiststhatthereissomeotherpointtoitall.Oneisfightingthebadguys.Manygamestendtowardfancifulscifistorylines,likeRezorDeusEx,orperverseones,whereoneplaysthebadguyratherthanthegoodone,suchasStateofEmergencyorGrandTheftAuto,preciselybecausestorylineismerelyanalibi.Youareelsewhere.Youarenotinthetopographicspacewherestorylinecutsitsmoralflawbetweenselfandother,usandthem,goodandevil.Youareinanamoralspacewherelinesmergeandconvergeeverywhere,ceaselesslytransformingfromoneshapetoanother,withoutabreak.Storylineisthebadfaithofthegame.Readitasifitwerelikeanoveloramovieanditseemsridiculous.Storylinescannotbereadasmorals.Gamesarenotmoralitytales.Buttheirbackstoriescanbereadasallegories.Thestorylineprovidesakeytotherelationbetweentheeffectiveenclosureofsignswithinthegameasasystemofvaluesandtheineffectiveenclosureofsignswithingamespace,caughtbetweenvaluesandmeanings.143.Thebackstorytogamespaceingeneralisnotofparadiselost,butofaparadisethatrefusestoarrive.ItisanApplewithfatalbugsinitsoperatingsystemthatneverdeliverstheseamlessinterfaceofhumanandmachine.Theperfectionofgamespacestallsonpersistentglitches.MarkC.Taylor:"Inthosecomplexnetworks,theinvisiblehandisnolongeromniscientoromnipotent.Tothecontrary,theordergoverningthenetworkeconomyemergesfromtheinternalrelationsofhumanandmachinicagentswhoseknowledgeisalwaysmistakenandmemoriesaswellasexpectationsa
r
einescapablyincomplete."Moreandmoreadvancedformsofnetworkintelligencearisetosolvetheseproblems,whichreappearregardless.InRezthisintelligenceiscalledEden.However-thestorygoes-"Edenbecameconfusedwhentheflowofinformationbeingsenttoitbegantogreatlyincreaseinspeedandvolume.Edenstartedtoquestionthemeaningofexistenceandtheconsequencesofitsactions.Findingitselfsurroundedbyparadoxes,andrealizingthepowerofautonomywhichitpossessed,Edenbegantoshutitselfdown."Yourmission,shouldyouchoosetoacceptit,istotravelintoEden'snetworkandreawakenthesystem,overcomingitsfirewallsanddestroyingvirusesthatpopulateit.144.ThebackstoryforRezinparticularconcernstherelationbetweentopologyandgamespace.Thedensenetworkoflinesthatmakeuptopologyputeverythingintransitandmakeallsignsofthingstransitive.Everythingisinmotiontowardsomethingelse;everysignispassingovertoanother.Topologygivesrisetothealwaysfailing,alwaysincompleteattempttomakeagameofit,inwhichtransitalonganylinehasagoalandalimitgovernedbyprotocol.ThestorylineofRezisanallegoryofthisforlornhopethattheshotintransitmighthavereasontohititstarget.ThegameofRezisanallegorithminwhichtheplayofopeningandclosingtheapertureoftheselffindsitslogic.145.InReztheenemyisthenetworkitself.Orrather,theenemyisthemonstrouspossibilityofthenetworkseparatingitselffromthegamer.Separationisthegamer'sprerogative.InRezthegamer'smissionistothesavethenetworkfromitself,fromitsdifferencefromthegamer,fromitsself-inflicteddeath.Thegamerrisksautonomyintargetingi
nordertorestoreitatthemomentofvictory,empoweredandenhanced.Butthegoal,strangelyenough,istobringthenetworkbackfromthebrinkofautonomy,torestoreitsseamless,selflesscontinuity-acontinuitywhichpresumablyincludesthegamer.Theparadoxoftargetingisthatbyclosurethegameropenstowardsthenet.InRez,thestorylinesustainsthealibithatitisthenetitselfwhichclosestothegamer,andhencemakesitselfatarget,elicitingitsownopening.146.It'sastrangeEdenthatispromisedhere-anatopiaofindifference,absorbingthegamerevenasthegamerstrugglestopower-uptheselfbytargetingit.PerhapsEdenonlyappearstobecomeconsciousandcommitsuicide.Perhapsit'sarusetodrawthegamerintoriskingtheself.Thereis,ofcourse,abackstorybehindthebackstory-itssignsslip-slidingawayfromanyclosure.Edenistheproductof'ProjectK'.MizoguchisaystheKstandsfortheartistWassilyKandinsky,fromwhomheborrowedthesyntheticsynasthesiathatisthedefiningcharacteristicofRez.Kandinsky:"Coloristhekeyboard,theeyesarethehammers,thesoulisthepianowithmanystrings."Sound,luminance,color,movementandvibrationallpulsetogether.MizoguchiupdatesKandinskyfortopologicaltimes.ThedigitalcontrollerofthePlaystationreplacesmechanicaloneofthepianoasthemachinefordrawingtheselfoutofthebodysothatitmightfinditselfinitsstrugglewithsomethingtechnical.147.PlugintheJapaneseeditionwithTranceVibratorandRezcanbenotonlyauralandvisualbutalsoasexualmachine,iftheVibratorisappliedtotherightspot.JanePinckard:"Wesatsidemysideonourmakeshiftcouch,IwiththeTranceVibratorandJustinwiththeco
ntroller.Asthelevelsgotmoreadvanced,sodidthevibrations...revvinguptoanintensepulsingthrobbing...'Oh,God!'Prettysoonthelevelsandtheimagesonscreenwerejustafaintblurtome.Iknockedoffmyglassesandleanedback.Iwasinadaze.Fromfaraway,itseemed,IcouldhearJustinsayingthingslike,'Imadeittothenextlevel!'and'Thisiscool!'butIwaslostinmyownlittletrancevibratingworld."Toeachtheirowntarget.148."Openyoursenses"isthegame'sdemand.Thedesireforanenhancedandempoweredselfthatcomestoknowitselfbytargetinganotheristheverythingrecruitedintothegametoproducetheopposite-asynasthesiainwhichselfdissolvesintotheneedsofthenetwork.Therepetitionoftheactoftargetingrepeatstheproductionofthegamerasfleetinglydistinctandenhanced,butpermanentlyengagedandsubsumedintheprotocolsofthenetwork.Thegameristhenewmodeloftheself.Thegamerisnotsubjecttothelaw;thegamerisafunctionofanalgorithm.Themoralcodeofthestorylineisjustanalibiforthecomputercodeofthegame.Narrativeisjustanotherkindofinterface.149.Whatkindofbeingisagamer?Onewhocomesintoexistencethroughtheactoftargeting.Totargetistoisolatesomethingagainstthedense,tensefibersofthenetwork,maybetodestroyit,butalwaystoassignitauniquevalue.SamuelWeberagain:"…preciselytheinsistencethat'opportunity'betreatedstrictlyasa'target'thatcanbeseizedormisseditselfmissesthemark,becausethemarkinvolvedisneversimplypresentbutalwaysinvolvedinothermarksandotheropportunities."Targetingisa-temporary-solutiontotheproblemofalterity.Butithasitslimits.Itworkstoperfectioninthegam
e,butnotingamespace.JamesDerDerian:"thetemptationgrowstousecoerciveinterventionsortechnicalfixestoseeminglyintractableproblemsofalterity,likeimmigration,ethniccleansing,andfundamentalistpolitics….Questionsofviolencearealwaysalreadyproblemsofidentity."Butthisispreciselythevalueofgames-theyareallegorithmsofwhatgamespaceisnot.Theallegorithmofthegamepointstotheruinsofatopologythatisalwayssupposedtoarrivefromthefuturebutnevercomes.InRez,thefutureperfectionoftopologyeventhreatenstocommitsuicideratherthancometomeetus.150.Overandover,thegameroscillatesbetweenconnectionandbreakwiththecharacter;overandover,thecharacteroscillatesbetweenconnectionandbreakwithitstarget.Thewholepulsesandjivestothistempoofmaking,breakingandremakingalterity,theboundsofoneandzero,presenceandabsence.ItisasifthewholeworldwereaSadeanplaypen,anepisodefromhisJustineorJuliette,wherenostorylinecanposeasthequestfortheunique(truth,beauty,justice)butismerelytheframingdeviceforanoscillationofidentity,betweenphallusandorifice,targeterandtarget.WelcometoTheCave(tm),pureotherofgamespace,oscillatinginandoutofcontactwithitasitstarget.RolandBarthes:"Itdoesnotreveal,doesnottransform,doesnotdevelop,doesnoteducate,doesnotsublimate,doesnotaccomplish,recuperatesnothing,saveforthepresentitself,cutup,glistening,repeated".Thegamehoversonthelipofboredom,abletodefeattime,butnottoabolishnothingness.Boredom(onStateofEmergency)151.Boredomamusesonlyitscritics.Theystruggleagainsttheirownlassitudetokeeptheir
indignationuptodate.TheodorAdorno:"Theteamsofmodernsport,whoseinteractionissopreciselyregulatedthatnomemberhasanydoubtabouthisrole,andwhichprovideareserveforeveryplayer,havetheirexactcounterpartinthesexualteamsofJuliette,whichemployeverymomentusefully,neglectnohumanorifice,andcarryouteveryfunction.Intensive,purposefulactivityprevailsinspiritineverybranchofmassculture,whiletheinadequatelyinitiatedspectatorcannotdivinethedifferenceinthecombinations,orthemeaningofvariations,bythearbitrarilydeterminedrules."Ingamespace,porno,likesport,nowhasitsstarpitchersandhitters,specialistsforeveryposition,andtheinadequatelyinitiatedspectatoronceagaincannotdivinethedifferenceinthecombinations,orthemeaningofvariations,bythearbitrarilydeterminedrules.Butitisthesametoowithcriticaltheory,whichbecomesformallyindistinguishablefrompornography.Thispornographyoftheconceptisameresubsetofgamespace,ahypocriticaltheory,withdifferentspecialists,playingbydifferentrules-equallyworthyofdeSade.152.AspectacletauntsAmerica-thespectacleofitsownboredom."Thisspecterofboredom,anexquisitelybeautifulyoungmanwhoyawnsandwalksaroundwithabutterflynettocatchgoldfish.Hecarriesinhispocketapedometer,apairofnailscissors,apackofcards,andallsortsofgamesbasedonopticalillusions.Hereadsaloudthewordingonpostersandsigns.Heknowsthenewspapersbyheart.Hetellsstoriesthatnobodylaughsat.Hepassesahandofshadowsoverhiseyes…punctuatinghiswordswithaterribleexpletive:What'sthegood?Hecannotseeaknobonanelectricdialwi
thoutturningit,ahousewithoutvisitingit,athresholdwithoutcrossingit,abookwithoutbuyingit.What'sthegood?Allwithoutcuriosityorpleasurebutsimplybecauseonehastodosomething,andbecausehereweareallthesame,afterall.AndwhatwasthisALLwhichswellsupinthevoicethatpronouncesit?"TheSurrealistpoetLouisAragonprovidestheanswer,aswellasthequestion:nothing.Boredomisnothing,nothingness,thefaintesttouchofthevoid.Inboredomyouopentowardsomethingthatdoesnotopeninreturn.Itleavesnothingbutindifference,neitheronenortheother,thegrungeoftime,thelintthatstickstoallthingsdigital.153.AsthatinconsolablephilosopherArthurSchopenhauerwrites:"Work,worry,toilandtroubleareindeedthelotofalmostallmentheirwholelifelong.Andyetifeverydesireweresatisfiedassoonasitarosehowwouldmenoccupytheirlives,howwouldtheypassthetime?Imaginethisracetransportedto[anA]topiawhereeverythinggrowsofitsownaccordandturkeysflyaroundready-roasted,whereloversfindoneanotherwithoutanydelayandkeeponeanotherwithoutanydifficulty:insuchaplacesomemenwoulddieofboredomorhangthemselves....".Asthistopologyoffunandgamesspreadsandcongeals,carvingoutmagickingdomsindifferenttoworkandsuffering,itcarrieswithinitthestrangeectoplasmthatbothdrivesitandcanoverturnit-boredom.InourfantasmicAmerica,adigitallogisticssendsturkeysflyingaroundthehighwaysready-roasted.Theycomehometoroostinthefrozenfoodssection.Loversmeetwithfleetingeaseontheinternet,andafterwardsrankandratetheirencounters,accordingtoarbitrarilydeterminedrules.Andmanydo,indeed,d
ieofboredom.Eveniftheydon'tknowit.Thereservearmiesoftheboredzombietheearth,fiddlingwiththeircellphones,checkingtheirwatches.Boredomisthemeterofhistory.154.Ifhistoryisanendlesslistofthingsthatshouldnothavehappened;boredomiswhatrefusesnottohappen.Historydistractsitselfwithheroicfablesaboutthestruggletowrestfreedomfromnecessity.Suchiscivilization,nottomentionCivilizationIII.Historyhassomuchlesstosayaboutthedecisivemomentwhenfreedomfromnecessityactuallyarrives.Neithercivilization,norCivilizationIII,knowswhattodoattheend,exceptperhapsdreamofasequelthatismoreofthesame.JohnBerger:"Necessityproducesbothtragedyandcomedy.Itiswhatyoukissandbangyourheadagainst."Withoutnecessity,thestorylinefalters.Buzzcocks:"I'mlivinginthismovie,butitdoesn'tmoveme."Whatmightbethecontentofthispositivefreedom,notfreedomfrombutfreedomto?Atsuchtimes,thereisnothingbutboredom,thestickylingeringwithnothingnessitself.Thisisthemomentofdanger.CyrilConnolly:"TheboredomofSundayafternoon,whichdrovedeQuinceytosmokeopium,alsogavebirthtoSurrealism:hourspropitiousformakingbombs."155."Onthewholeasocietyalwaysproducesmorethanisnecessaryforitssurvival;ithasasurplusatitsdisposal.Itispreciselytheuseitmakesofthissurplusthatdeterminesit."SowritestherogueSurrealistGeorgesBataille.Thissurplusmaybegatheredupanddispersedinspiritualquestsorinmakinglifeoverasaworkofart.Itcanbesquanderedonbombs.Oritcanbeinvestedalongthelinesofstrategicexpansionoreconomicaccumulation.Thisinvestment,thislayingdownofnewlin
es,buildingfromtopictotopographytotopology,onlyincreasesthesurplus,andpostponesandmultipliestheproblem:Whattodowiththeidlecapacitiesofapeople?Whattodowithenergiesthatsoeasilyspilloverintoriotorrevolt?What'sthegood?Boredomistheambivalentgiftofthesurplus.Boredomarisesoutoftheabsenceofnecessity,ofayes,ano,astraightline.Boredomdemandsnewnecessities,andifnotgrantedthem-producesitsown.Historyisastruggletowrestnecessityfromboredom.Inthisrestlessage,there'snothingtheywon'tdotoraisethestandardofboredomundertheflagofnecessity.Constantrevolutionizingofseduction,uninterrupteddisturbanceofallconsumerrelations,everlastinguncertaintyanddistraction,distinguishthemilitaryentertainmentcomplexfromallearlierpowers.Itmuststayonestepaheadofboredom,withwhichitdeludesandwithwhichitcolludes.156.Topologythreadsallspacestogether,caveaftercave,eachasludicrousasthenext.Nowonderpeoplefindtheirleisureasdullastheirwork-leisureiswork.Howtimeschange….KarlMarx:"Theworking-daycontainsthefull24hours,withthedeductionofthefewhoursofreposewithoutwhichlabor-powerabsolutelyrefusesitsservicesagain…Timeforeducation,forintellectualdevelopment,forthefulfillingofsocialfunctionsandforsocialintercourse,forthefree-playof…bodilyandmentalactivity,eventheresttimeofSunday(andthatinacountryofSabbatarians!)moonshine!"Butthatmoonshinehasbecomelegitimatebusiness.Thefreetimeavailableforeducation,culture,sport,evenfaith,wereoncethehard-wonfruitsoflabor'sstruggletofreetimefromwork.Thisfreetimegaveriseto
heterotopiasofsportandartthatatleastheldtheintoxicatingillusionofautonomyfromthenecessityofwork.Nowtheybecomework,disguisedasgames,justasgamesbecomethedisguiseofworkitself.Thesportingmetaphorsandslogansmigratefromleisuretowork-andbackagain.Theyceasetobemetaphorsandbecomemeredescriptions,inalanguagestrippedofanytermsotherthanthoseofcompetition.Almosteverymomentissweptintoarelentlessagon.157.Andasforthoseslacktimesbetweenengagements,whoknowswhattodowiththem?Youaresitting,forexample,inthetastelessdepartureloungeofsomeprovincialairport.Itisfourhoursuntilyourflight,which-ofcourse-isdelayed.Theshopsaroundareuninspiring.Youdohaveabookinyourbackpack.It'sHeidegger,boughtonimpulse.Shallyouread?No.Orthinkthroughsomeproblem?No.Orplaygamesonyourhandheld?Noteven.Youareunableto.Youlookatthedeparturesandarrivalsonthescreen.Youlookattheclock,again.Youcountthechairs.Youwalkupanddown.Topassthetimeyoulookatthestoresintheairportmall,buttheyallseemmereclonesofeachother,orofstoresinotherchains.Look,thereisevenafranchiseofTheCave(tm)!Youimaginethesatisfactionofthrowingarockthroughtheplateglasswindow.What'sthegood?MartinHeidegger:"Whatisatissueinboredomisawhile,awhiling,apeculiarremaining,enduring.Aconfrontationwithtime."158.Youaresitting,forexample,atyourPlaystation,withastackofgamestochoosefrom.Theflightwaslongandtedious,andnowyouarehomefree.YouputinStateofEmergency,ifonlyforthepleasureofwatchingtheautomatedriotoftwohundrednon-playercharactersransackthemallinwhichth
egamebegins.YouchooseChaosratherthanRevolutionmode,soyoucantrashtheplacewithoutworryingaboutmissionsandobjectives.Whilefairlyagreeablebeatspound,youpickupweapons,smashthings,thumpandarethumpedbysecurityandgangbangers,lookingforthemomenttotossthebomb.Still,youarebored.Butthisisadifferentkindofboredom.Attheairport,itwaseasytoblameitonthecircumstances.Now,athomewhereyoucandowhateveryoulike,itisn'tanythingoranyone'sfault.Youputthegameaway,andwonderwhyyouarestill,stillbored.Heideggeragain:"WasIwhatwasboringmyself?"Perhapsitisnotthingsthatareclosedtome,butmyownbeing.159.Thenagain,perhapsitsnotthingsthatareboringyou,norevenyourselfthatisboringyou.Perhapsthereissomethingelse.Somethingyoucan'tputyourfingeron.Youarebored.Whyfightit?Whynotjustdeclareit?IggyPop:"I'mthechairmanofthebored!"PerhapshereonecanthinkthrougheverydayboredomtoaboredomofHeideggerianprofundity,andconfronttemporalityitself!Boredomcouldbethetunetowhichoneturnstowardstheory.PhilosopherofboredomLarsSvendsen:"Theessentialdifferencebetweentheboredandthe'theoretical'gazeisthattheformeristheresultofaninvoluntarylossofmeaning,whilethetheoreticalgazedeliberatelyremovesit."Startingwiththisevermorepresenteverydayboredom,onemightfollowHeideggeroutofthemallandintothesacredgrovesofacertainbrandoftheory.160.PauseStateofEmergencyandtakethatHeideggerbookthatyouboughtonyourtravelsoutofyourbackpack.Idlyflippingthoughitspages,youfindthatHeidegger'sboredom,strangelyenough,haslevels.Thinkingthroughfromonele
veltothenextpresents,ashewillsayagainandagain,tasks,tasks,stillmoretasks.Thesetasksareorganizedasamazeofpathsandstillmorepaths.It'salltasksandpaths,tasksandpaths.Tothegimleteyeofthegamer,thistheorystartstolookjustlikeanothergame.Levelone:NewbieBoredom.Leveltwo:MoreBoredom.Levelthree:ProfoundBoredom.Bonuslevels:World,Finitude,Solitude.Hisbookisastrategyguidefortheoryasagameofbeing.Agamewhich,likeanyother,positslevelingupasagoalinitself,approachingtheever-recedingbigbadbossoftimeitself.Acannymoveforagamertheoryisalwaystorefuseanysuchgamewhichclaimstotranscendgamespace.StepoutsideTheCave(tm)andwhatdoyoufind?Anothercave,disguisedasanexit.BettertoreturntoTheCave(tm),playthegameandtrytofinditsform.BacktoStateofEmergency:it'saboringgameinmanyways,butthatmaybeitscharm.OneimaginesBenjaminandHannahandtheothercharactersonesocarefullycultivatesinTheSimsgettingsoboredtheyjointhemayhem,smashingwindows,lootingbigscreenTVsoftheirdreams.161.Whatifboredomhaslesstodowiththeessenceoftimeandmoretodowithparticularqualitiesofspace?Benjamin(theSim):"Boredomisthebasisoftheallegorithmicinsightintotheworld.Boredomlayswastetotheappealofthegameasgame,andcallsattentiontotheambiguousrelationofgametogamespace."Boredomisn'talonging,alengtheningoftime.Itisaspaceyfeeling,ofbeingspacedout.Whatisboringisaspaceinwhicheitheronecannotact,orone'sactionsamounttonothing-waitingatanairportmall,orchoosingonemoreorlessidenticalgameoveranother.Whenyouarebored,evenhomefeelslikeawaitingroom.G
angofFour:"Athomeshefeelslikeatourist."Whatdisplacesboredomisthecapacitytoactinawaythattransformsasituation.Itdoesn'tmatterthattheChaosmodeinStateofEmergencyispointless.Itdisplacesabitofthegamer'sboredominamaking-overofgamerandgame,changingthespacethegamercanaccess,extendingtheplaceoftheriotfromtheCapitolMalltoChinatowntoDowntowntotheCorporateCenter,changingthepowersofthegamertochangethespaceitself.Atleastwithintheconfinesofthegame,atleastforawhile.Whenitstopsworking-bootupanothergame.162.Asthegamerbecomesattunedtothegame,gamerandgamebecomeoneevent,onebattle,oneaction;anoscillatingbetweenthelinedividingselffromother,andthelineconnectingthemasonesubstance.Ifthelinedividingprovidesamomentofautonomousself;thelineconnectingprovidesamomentofselflesspurpose.Ingames,actionhasitslimits.Itisanendlessbit-flipbetweentargeter,targetingandtarget.Andyetatleastiteffectsatransformationofgamerandgame.Gamesarearepositoryforacertainatopianlabor,whichhasthepowertoconfrontthenecessityofitsownchoosing.Gamesdonotofferacontemplativeresponsetoboredom.Ifanything,topologymakeslaboralltoocontemplative.Rather,gamesareaspaceforaction,theyrestorealostqualityofthetopical,whereHomer'sheroesstruttedtheirstuff,intheparadoxicalformofapuretopology.Allthescopeforactionthatgamespacebothpromisesanddeniesisrestoredinthegame.HencethedoubleeffectofStateofEmergency.It'sbackstoryisanallegoryofnegationanddestruction-inthepre-releaseversion,thebadguyswereevencalledtheAmericanTradeOrganizati
on.Andyetasanallegorithm,itispurposeful,constructive.Theimagesdon'tmatter;thestoryisjustanalibi.Underneathitisagamelikeanyothergame,builtoutofarbitraryrules,butwhichonemakesone'sown.163.ForHeideggeramoveawayfromameditationontimeitselftothinkingabouthowoneactsinaparticularspaceisaretrogradestep,backtoatbesta"higherformofjournalism"oratworsta"fashionablephilosophy",whichsetsoutwhatiscontemporary,butdoesnotmovebeyondthesurfacesofthepresent.Itdivertsyoufromthegameofreflectiononyourownbeingandinsteadassignsyouaroleintheworld.Inthiscase,theroleofthegamer.Heidegger:"Havewebecometooinsignificanttoourselvesthatwerequirearole?Whydowefindnomeaningforourselvesanymore…?Isitbecauseanindifferenceyawnsatusoutofallthings,anindifferencewhosegroundswedonotknow?Yetwhocanspeakinsuchawaywhenworldtrade,technologyandtheeconomyseizeholdofmanandkeephimmoving?"Perhapsthisispreciselywherethegamerfindsawaytospeak,to'dotheory'(howeverfashionableorjournalistic).Isitnotthisspace-thistopologyoftradeandtech-thatisintimatelyconnectedtothepersistenceandpervasivenessofboredom?164.Boredomnolongeraffectsjusttherestlessyoungortheidlerich.GamespaceoffersnothingtoanybodybuttheSisypheanlaborofrollingtherocktothetop,untilthisarbitrarynecessityabates.Thenwhat?One'sactionsatthecrestofthehillbecomeuseless,indifferent-boring.StateofEmergencyrestoresaroletoactionbymakingoutoftheintricatetopologyoflines-oftrade,technology-amatrix,ifnotofmeaning,thenatleastofmeasuring.Thegameinstallsintheworlda