Q&Q: Astra Taylor + Paolo Pedercini

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Q&Q: Astra Taylor + Paolo Pedercini

The final Q&Q opportunity – let’s make it count! :) Choose either Astra Taylor on the Web or Paolo Pedercini on games – two significant contexts in which the technological imagination is being shaped!


  1. Pedercini says that “the act of playing, especially a computer-assisted, cybernetically-biased variety, can cultivate the capitalist mindset and value system — regardless of what the specific games are intended to portray or narrate.” Games that thematize the struggles of individuals within a bureaucratic, dehumanizing system are more likely to deal with this bias, so what is the likelihood that mainstream game developers will move towards this kind of play? Is it in their favor to criticize capitalist society? Or is this kind of future more dependent on indie games?

  2. “Instead of decommodifying art and culture, every communication has become an advertising opportunity.” (Taylor 232). I think this sentence really captures the current state of our society, we can easily replace “art and culture” with “political process”, or education”, or “technology”, or even “human” and the statement can still be true. It made me think of “The Wolf of Wall Street” – except we have no equivalent of SEC or FBI to stop the excess, and the majority of media environment basically share a similar mentality (case in point, Donald Trump). The creative industry as a whole is not innocent either, as it is part of the communications system. But it mostly remained silent on such issues. Is it because clients interests come first (professional ethics) even when they might go against the people’s?

  3. “A new game aesthetic has to be explored: one that revels in problem-making over problem-solving, that celebrates paradoxes and ruptures, that doesn’t eschew broken and dysfunctional systems because the broken and dysfunctional systems governing our lives need to be unpacked and not idealized.”

    This is a brilliant statement and idea. Rewarding players with bigger problems, creating mountains out of mole hills, and digging the player deeper into the dynamic issues of the game instead of giving them money, guns and princesses/princes. The idea of a motive in a game that encourages player to develop problems, discourse and question the status quo would be an instant hit. If you coupled it with solving those problems with teams and outside input then it becomes an ever bigger event.
    How would this be accomplished? How to you design to create problems, instead of designing problems to be solved?
    What kind of impact would this have the different genres of games? MMO’s, RPG’s, FPS’s would all have very interesting and completely different sets of hurdles.

  4. In games, problems are created for the player to solve. The key to solving those problems is the key to the end goal; the entire game revolves around the player’s ability to solve that problem. Paolo Pedercini says a “new game aesthetic has to be explored”, in which problems are created by the player instead of the player following a script. Games should reflect the real world and should not be as simple as just a problem to be solved.
    What’s important in gaming is the storyline and each genre builds its storyline differently. Is Pedercini looking to create a whole different genre or is he meaning to apply this view to every genre? How would this approach affect the concept of a game? How would this new gaming approach reflect back on society? Would this new aesthetic be a wise choice?

  5. Towards the end of the video he talks about how games should reflect our world right now than a idealized world. That we, the players, are the ones creating the problems that we then solve ourselves? Than the game presenting this problem to be solved. I wonder about rpg games? Because those are heavily scripted to progress in some kind of story. Also, is Pedercini implying all games or wanting to create this new genre?

  6. “In Cart Life the numeric, formalized, computational core of the game is exposed in its harshness while the loose, narrative, player-driven component outlines an enticing world of qualities — possibly, even a different way of living.”

    Is it possible to have a video game with a strong “computational core” that works with, not against, the player to produce non-computational feelings and experiences? Often the expressive qualities of video games are either kept completely separate from the mechanical systems (Final Fantasy, ), or otherwise the mechanics of the game are demonized in an effort to promote the expressive intent of the developer (Papers Please, Cart Life). Is it possible to craft a game where the systems of play are integral to it’s expressiveness?

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