Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) is an interdisciplinary centre for research/ creation in game studies and design, digital culture and interactive art


Nov 21, 2012

November 21 5a7 Symposium – The End of the World as we Know it

Since no one’s proposed a better idea, I’ve come up with yet another half-baked topic for this week’s 5a7 Symposium. Basically I want to talk about depictions of futuristic and post-apocalyptic fictional societies in videogames and how these utopias/dystopias are portrayed in relation to our current economic and political systems. How is order maintained in these imaginary worlds, if it’s maintained at all? Who has power and who is oppressed? Are the characters largely left-leaning, right-leaning, dead center, apolitical, revolutionary? What sort of economic/political systems are at work, and how do they affect the average Joe? Who is the average Joe? Is the game more concerned with individuals or the faceless masses? Are things better or worse than our current situation, how, and for whom? What sorts of fears or desires are being expressed, what are the common tropes, and how do these societies riff off of or play into other fictional worlds?

Of course we don’t just have to talk about games here. Trekkies and all other sci-fi/fantasy fans (as well as other interested parties) are welcome to join in.

In case you’re curious, this impossibly huge topic was inspired by a number of things, including: 1) this little gem discovered by Joachim: 

A pro-capitalism parody video which manages to be hilarious and depressing at the same time.

2) A great post-panel discussion at the Utopian Studies Conference with Brian Greenspan and Will Robinson on positive and negative depictions of crowds, zombies, activism, and meaningful labour, which happened a while ago but has been on my mind recently.
3) An invitation to a holiday doomsday party (apparently the rapture is coming, again).
4) Alternative music from the 80s and 90s.
We can also use this opportunity to talk about the wormhole, TAG’s experimental, Skype-enabled gateway to the future – by which I mean other labs.
Where: Technoculture, Art, and Games (TAG)/Hex Game Lab, EV 11.425, Corner of Guy and St. Catherine O.
When: Wednesday, November 21, 5pm-7pm
Who: Anyone is welcome, please feel free to bring friends or colleagues who might be interested.
What: Discussion on post-apocalyptic/futuristic societies in videogames and other media.