Douglas Lain recently posted this video to his Zero Books Youtube channel, https://youtu.be/ueHiAfeksd0. For some context, Zero Books is a leftist publisher that puts out books concerning the culture and philosophy of the Marxist left, including one ya’ll may be familiar with, Kill All Normies.
Anyway, I found this video incredibly interesting. When we think about how we not only consume video games as a medium but also how we discuss the machinations of the companies who make them, we often get lost in insider talk that, once stepped away from, is incredibly concerned with furthering capitalism. Not only the content of games but the culture that game journalists and developers are often steeped in is incredibly capitalistic. Often in games we are mechanically maximizing profit or externalizing our risks much like the corporations many of us on the left have come to abhor, we kill the brown terrorist, we silence the dissenter.
This video explores how the mechanics of video games can often seem right wing, but then Douglas takes an interesting “left” turn in which Douglas makes the argument that play itself can lead to more egalitarian views, that play is truly the basis of revolutionary culture, and sites the Situationist International for their belief that the aims of Socialism should be directed towards a life in which most of society is afforded an ample amount of play, in this way he is able to make the argument that playing games can be, in itself, a radical act. When we play games we do not produce for the ruling class, when we play games we often come together in collective agreement and in complete spontaneity, to achieve a singular goal.
I think most of us can relate to this. When we discuss Socialism we often discuss how the means of production need to be afforded back to the working class and how we need to wrest political power from the capitalists who seek to destroy us, but we rarely discuss what we will do once our aims have been met. The idea is that we will be free to do as wish, we will have true autonomy and therefore we will be able to pursue our more intrinsically expressive selves. For many of us reading the Waypoint forums I believe that means that we would be playing, developing, and discussing more video games.
Let me know what you think about my take on this video or simply the video itself. I think Zero Books is doing excellent work with their podcasts, video series and publishing so I thought I would bring this to ya’ll and see what kind of discussion we could have on it.