This article examines the game Papers, Please to demonstrate how the aesthetic experience of gameplay resonates with the cultural logic of contemporary globalist paradigms. The author demonstrates how video games make their players undertake a synthesis of work and play via a process of psychological and physical self-modification. This interrelation between work, play, and subjectivity modification within gameplay experiences embodies the same ideological framework that governs many knowledge-based economies which thrive off of user-generated content. In using the work/play/subjectivity connection to locate similarities between video games and the logic of globalist paradigms, the author presents a revised understanding of what constitutes the political dimensions of video games and the experiences they elicit in their players. This article concludes with an analysis of how the mechanics and narrative of Papers, Please embodies the cultural mind-set of work-as-play while simultaneously challenging the discourses often applied to user-focused information technologies.
Games and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media – SAGE
Published: Jul 1, 2018
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