If game theory was objective, rational, abstract; gamer theory is subjective, intuitive, particular. If game theory starts with the self-contained agent, like a prisoner in a cell, looking out at the world; gamer theory wonders how the agency of the gamer comes into being as something distinct in the first place. The rise of the computer game as an emergent cultural form calls for an approach to cultural theory that might emerge organically out of the experience of game play. In an era in which many aspects of everyday life seem increasingly game-like, one might well ask what relation computer games have to this agon of the everyday. Perhaps computer games present the ethos of the digital world in its pure form, as a place where the “playing field” really is level, where the rules really seem to be fair. Perhaps the computer game is the almost-utopian double to a world made over as a gamespace.
Research Article|July 01 2006
MCKENZIE WARK (WARKK@NEWSCHOOL.EDU) IS THE AUTHOR, MOST RECENTLY, OF A HACKER MANIFESTO (2004). HE TEACHES MEDIA AND CULTURAL STUDIES AT THE NEW SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH AND EUGENE LANG COLLEGE, IN NEW YORK CITY (HTTP://WWW.LUDICCREW.ORG).
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Cultural Politics (2006) 2 (2): 213-224.