Will Robinson recently gave a talk at the “International Conference on Japan Game Studies” at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. His presentation was co-authored by Bart Simon and the topic was creativity in LittleBigPlanet’s user community and the ways in which they produce intrinsically valuable artifacts.
Here is the Abstract for his presentation:
Critical Marxist media theory has found fertile territory in a renewed critique of game cultures (Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter 2010). The claim is that the only thing that separates the image of the button-pressing gamer from the lever- pulling factory worker is that the gamer loves her job. This is doubly true with the ongoing monetization and surveillance of player laborers who willingly work without pay. This leads critics to consider the player as a dupe, entangled in a nefarious false consciousness, unable to notice exploitation. We hope to support challenges to this work (see Hesmondhalgh 2010) by positioning players in the video game Little Big Planet (Media Molecule 2009) as creative producers of their own intrinsic value. Despite the capital gains made by Media Molecule, these players exist outside of capital concerns. It is not that they are tricked, but that they do not care. Their consumption of LBP involves creative fulfillment, which in turn enables the continuation of the means of creative production. While this cycle propagates capital, this is secondary to a much more meaningful system of self-satisfaction. While it might be argued that this satisfaction is yet another instance of false consciousness, our rejoinder is that it is intrinsically valuable play.