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Title:Playful Labors: Narrative, Work and Digital Games
Author(s):Miklaucic, Shawn Anthony
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McCarthy, Cameron
Department / Program:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Mass Communications
Abstract:This dissertation applies a critical cultural studies approach to digital gaming. Specifically, I examine the strategic simulation genre, often called "god games," such as SimCity, Civilization , and The Sims. Two ideas guide the various readings and analyses of digital games. First, despite being seen by many as the unserious objects of youthful play, games must be understood in terms of economic labor: the work involved in their play, the ways in which the labor of players is translated into different forms of value, and the economic impact of games on the cultural landscape. Second, I argue that god games possess elements of what Frederic Jameson calls "an aesthetic of cognitive mapping." Such an aesthetic seeks to meaningfully locate and orient individuals within the increasingly disorienting spaces of the postmodern late capitalism. I argue that the widespread success of god games can be read as symptom of the utopian desire for forms of collective and totalizing thought to resist the fragmenting effects of late capitalist consumer culture.
Issue Date:2004
Description:202 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3130982
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2004

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