The casual is political

„Gamification as a prime example of Foucauldian governmentality“

by Robert Heinze*

[The following text was written in response to  „Keep your Politics out of my games!“  as well as the impromtu reply by Tobias Winnerling.]

„If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity, I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week by the end of the next decade.“

– Jane McGonigal: Videogames for a Better World, TED Talk, 2010.

 

Games, as all popular media, are a diversion. That doesn’t mean they can’t convey political ideologies, as Eugen Pfister has argued. And even the fact alone that they are a diversion makes them political, Tobias Winnerling answered. As part of the culture industry, they remind us of the old roman saying of panem et circenses, or, to (horribly) paraphrase Adorno and Horkheimer: Kratos in the games gets his beating so that the players can get used to the same treatment. The significance of casual, short-time diversion in a society characterised by fragmentation of private time and the blurring of the border between work and leisure is obvious; as is the relevance of Winnerling’s argument about the political role of such a diversion. But the influence of casual games on our society goes further. The casual is political weiterlesen