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The garden in the machine: video games and environmental consciousness.

Into the Deep" is a nature documentary, or at least that's the way it seems. It is complete with a British-accented voiceover, a professionally edited title sequence, stirring background music, and informational tidbits such as, "[male humpback whales] can grow over 16 meters in length and weigh just under 40 tonnes." It purports to document the undersea voyages of a hi-tech submersible named "Theodore," which in the 13-minute film discovers unique kelp formations, thriving fish schools, and various species of shark--and documents along the way signs of human-made environmental degradation. With its mix of evident wonder, ethical concern, and scientific explanation, it might well be an episode of the David Attenborough-narrated series The Blue Planet (2001), but, in fact, it's made entirely of footage captured from gameplay of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V, 2013).

GTA V is an "open world" or sandbox game, a game which gives its users seemingly free spatial reign of an area of several square kilometers, encompassing the fictional city of Los Santos and the rural Blaine County. These areas comprise the state of San Andreas, the GTA series' stand-in for California, which is surrounded on all sides by an ocean. The ocean forms the boundaries of the game world, but it is an explorable space of its own: users can swim, boat, or pilot a submarine within a limited radius around San Andreas, and it is portions of the programmed ecosystem discovered therein which YouTube user Chaney555 has compiled as "Into the Deep." (1) Humpbacks and orcas, kelp and coral exist in the game as infinitely bountiful objects, which are capable of a varying degree of interaction with the user and with one another, but whose numbers are essentially inexhaustible and immune to changes in the ostensible ecosystem in which they live.

The game's simulation of an undersea ecosystem might therefore be said to be woefully incomplete, but the narrator of "Into the Deep" adds the un seen and unobservable causations and interactions that would be present in "real" life. The discovery of human waste on the ocean floor is given a place in a temporal development that is not possible in the world of GTA V itself:

The sheer bulk of this [air]plane [on the ocean floor] has caused irreparable damage to the coral reef which lies beneath. However, all is not lost: given time, the coral and algae which once thrived will latch on to the bulk of this colossal aircraft, and the cargo plane itself will become the foundation of a brand new coral reef.

The narrator accuses the Los Santos International Airport of illegally disposing of unwanted airplanes in the ocean, but also foregrounds that, with the passage of time, this cultural waste will form part of a new ecosystem with the natural life that had preceded it. And the narrator's words have some weight: as the submersible drifts over the wing of the aircraft, we can see the coral actually "beginning" to grow on the plane.

Although, on the one hand, "Into the Deep" is a pastiche of the nature documentary genre, it is also evidence that natural environments in games are not always beholden to the goal-directed behavior of the user, and can lead to the user's more complex considerations of ecosystems and the nonhuman. As Aleandra Chang's recent dissertation on nature in video games puts it, "games can offer a compelling way to reconcile a deep connection to nature and the nonhuman world with an equally important connection to technology and the virtual." (2) The puzzle-platformer game Journey (2012), for example, has the user navigate natural spaces marked by the decrepit remains of a mysterious civilization, solving spatial puzzles to advance toward a mountain always imaged in the distant background. Chang argues that, although it is centered around the activity of its (presumably) human character, the game continually gestures toward spaces and temporalities beyond directly embodied experience. Journey "seem[s] to invite complex considerations beyond the present moments of play: the player becomes the scalar figure by which human and nonhuman longevity, mortality, history, and archaeology are measured." (3) Something similar has happened in the gameplay of Chaney555, as the spatial experience of the ocean environment around San Andreas has been reconfigured as a consideration of the (doubly) nonhuman animals and artifacts of the simulated world, and of the timescales of biological-technological entanglement.

GTA V is not necessarily intended as a statement on the ethics of human-environment relations--it is, in fact, more well-known as a wantonly violent and misogynist game. But if a simulation is "a representation of a source system via a less complex system that informs the user's understanding of the source system in a subjective way," the simplified ecosystem of the game has played a role in giving rise to some form of environmental consciousness. (4) The game space lacks the true complexities and vastness of duree, of the passage of time as change, but through its discoverable model of the coral beginning to reclaim its bed, it gestures toward a larger system apart from and beyond game time, beyond even human embodiment. While it would be a bit of an overstatement to say that the narrator of "Into the Deep" recognizes in the metallic plane and the organic coral reef a "situated natureculture" uniting and coconstituting human and nonhuman actors, there is here a recognition of a relatively complex intertwining of the natural (coral) and the cultural (airplane). (5)

If climate change and the multiple other environmental crises faced on a global scale require a rethinking of the roles that the nonhuman, and particularly various kinds of environment, play in our fiction and cultural production, video games that are, in one way or another, about environment constitute an important area of research for the environmental critic. Environment is at the center of gameplay in numerous ways. The rise and dominance of console and computer gaming (as opposed to arcades) over the last twenty-five years can be linked in the United States not only to increased energy consumption, but also to a precipitous overall decline in visits to national parks. (6) Meanwhile, during the same period, energy demands and a dwindling oil supply have opened more and more formerly "untapped" natural environments, such as the areas around the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to resource extraction and the resulting environmental degradation. High-tech, high-energy electronics like video games and high-definition displays are an important element of the same network of exploitation and exchange as such "dirty oil" processing plants, depending on oil-based technologies at multiple stages of their production and distribution. And as gaming is deeply embedded in these two phenomena--that of declining contact with the natural world, and of the actual exploitation and destruction of the same--complex ecosystem simulations have been appearing frequently within the worlds of video games. In a very practical sense and for perhaps millions of young people, the natural spaces of video games are replacing a natural world that has been disappearing from everyday life. (7)

Theorists in the digital humanities would tend to agree with this practical assessment of the relationship between video games and the natural world. Akira Lippit has argued that the "animated views" of the cinema replaced the disappearing wild animal in American and European culture at the turn of the twentieth century. (8) On this account we might see the virtual spaces of video games in the twenty-first century functioning similarly to the autonomous movement of cinema in the twentieth: technological media as truly a second nature. Alexander R. Galloway writes that the computer takes our own superlative power over worlds as the condition of possibility for the creation of worlds. Our intense investment in worlds--our acute fact finding, our scanning and data mining, our spidering and extracting--is the precondition for how worlds are revealed [in computer programs]. (9)

The computer takes our empirical ways of knowing the world, as processable sets of data, as the foundation of its own world-ing sets of rules. We might see the fossil fuels used to power the games, the plastics used to produce them, and the markets used to sell them as evidencing the centrality of environmental issues to gaming, but Galloway points out here that a certain technological way of knowing environment is also inherent in the very way games create worlds.

In her analysis of nature games, Chang writes that natural environments in games "are both built--that is, graphically rendered in great detail and programmed to operate within certain physical constraints (for instance, gravity and the use of collision detection)--and natural, in that they tend to mimic environments here on earth," but one might say almost the same thing about, say, a real, physical garden (it is both "built" and "natural").10 We can add, then, with Galloway, that natural environments in video games constitute a paradox on top of the built/natural paradox, as a "mimicked" video game environment is always already a technological one. Mimicking, too, is something of an understatement: environment is at the center of gaming because, as a computer program, a video game is a type of world--a second, simplified nature--that forms the groundwork for the user's actions and behavior.

The paradox and, I will argue, the opportunity of natural environments in video games is not simply that of being both built and cultivated, but that of being "the garden in the machine." As a film, "Into the Deep" evinces the same shock of finding the technological machine embedded in the "garden" of San Andreas's ocean ecosystem that Leo Marx observed in the "imaginative and complex" pastoral in his The Machine and the Garden. In such pastorals, the human-made machine figures as "a sudden, shocking intruder upon a fantasy of idyllic satisfaction," creating a dissonance between natural space and cultural-technological intrusion to be resolved by the end of the text." But the short film's deployment of this trope is an ironic remediation, as its ability to make any observations about the environment of GTA V at all depends on the machine having already invaded and entirely subsumed the garden. It is the machine's version of the garden, and how or whether this garden might serve to create consciousness of technology's interaction with natural systems in a changing world, that is the focus of this essay.

While nature often appears in games as the setting for hunting mechanics or other ways of dominating space for anthropocentric gain, the setting of a game is rarely "only" a setting. There is no reason to presume that video games, depending not only on how they are designed but also on how they are played, might exclusively offer views of and relations to nature that merely remediate technology's "enframement" of the natural world as a boundless resource for technological exploitation. (12) Indeed, the processes at the core of their simulation of nature might make games among the most powerful contemporary ways of reflecting upon environmental crisis. Because they incorporate the user's activity into a system of ongoing processes that simulate a world, games might make an argument about environmental crises, offer opportunities to reflect on the ethics of human/nonhuman relations in modernity, or create time and space for the contemplation of ways of being in the world. The "virtual realms of electronic connectedness" of video game worlds, deployed to simulate experiences and processes of environment, can lead to consciousness about a changing world and the mutual intertwining of nature and culture, with or without the coral fully claiming the wrecked airplane as its bed. (13)

In The Future of Environmental Criticism, Lawrence Buell posits three "models for thinking about the reciprocity between text and environment: as rhetoric, as performance, and as world-making." (14) In video games, as well, environment is present in the "procedural rhetoric" of the game's machinic structure, in the user's performance, and in the collaboration of user and game in an operation of "world-making." Environmental consciousness is present in games in three primary ways: as "procedural rhetoric," following the theory of Ian Bogost; as spatial "allegorithm," following those of Galloway and McKenzie Wark; and as what I am terming simulated boredom. (15) The first group of games I consider forwards arguments about environmental crisis through the procedural worlds of video games; the second are not avowedly environmentalist games but, in their simulation of natural space, are (often unintentional) allegories for the way natural environments are conceptualized and positioned in modern society. The concluding section concerns the boring game--or, more precisely, the game that simulates an ethically disposed state of boredom--and boring play. If, according to Buell, "the ne plus ultra of an environment-poetics in narrative [is] the kind of project that takes on nothing less than the invention of the entire world," the worlds of recent video games are a logical place to look for an effective (and affective) environment-poetics that might compel thought about the relationship(s) between human and environment. (16)

Procedural Rhetoric

For Ian Bogost, video games function by "unit operations," processes of continual configuration of the world through the user's enactment of rules embedded in the game's code. (17) Elaborating upon this theory in his Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, Bogost writes that video games have an inherent rhetorical dimension inasmuch as "each unit operation in a procedural representation is a claim about how part of the system it represents does, should, or could function." (18) The rhetoric of video games is a procedural rhetoric, in that "it explains processes with other processes" (19) The user's play occurs in a "possibility space" created by the game, the "myriad configurations [she] might construct in order to see the ways the processes inscribed in the system work," and thus might come to understand the process in the machine as it models processes in the real world. (20) One might add that distinguishing procedural rhetoric from other forms of media rhetoric is the profound role of the user's body in its execution, as she must internalize the behaviors permitted by the computer program. (21) Procedural rhetoric occurs between the "procedural [audiovisual] representation" on the computer or TV screen and the body of the user that collaborates in coeffecting that representation. (22)

Numerous games have exploited the expressive power of procedural rhetoric to make arguments about climate change. The NASA website Climate Kids features games meant to educate children about the changing climate and "green" technologies. (23) One such game, Power Up, has the user adjust the height of a wind turbine and the lateral position of a solar panel in order to catch gusts of wind and avoid cloud cover, respectively. The game is won by providing power to five houses represented by icons in a panel on the right-hand side of the screen. As the user successfully navigates the vagaries of nature, the windows in the houses light up, and the game is won. Even in this very simple example we can see the ways in which the user's configuration of the world affects the system of the game in ways which forward propositions: a solar panel functions only in sunlight; a wind turbine requires wind; when both are placed in the correct natural context, a sufficient quotient of (clean) power can be provided for the home. This very simple set of propositions suggests a relationship between natural conditions and domestic life, connecting the latter to the harnessing of natural phenomena. These propositions are not merely articulated, but are performed by a user who has been incorporated into the game's processes.

To take another example, in the 2006 game Climate Challenge, developed by the company Red Redemption and produced by the BBC, one plays as the President of Europe, confronting climate change through policy measures. (24) The game purports to offer a procedural argument about ways to address the challenges of climate change while maintaining the infrastructure of modernity: one must meet C[O.sub.2] goals while balancing other elements like the GDP and food supply. However, while a more complex simulation than the childrens game, its model is simplified almost to the point of mootness. For example, after one run-through of the game, I discovered from the post game summary that although I had eliminated C[O.sub.2] emissions in Europe and inspired the world to follow suit, I had in the process tanked the European economy, a fact not forewarned by the periodic "newspaper" updates the game supplied during my hundred-year reign. Despite having ruined everyday life in Europe, the endgame summary touted me as the most popular leader in European history (giving me some dubious company, one might observe).

My2050 (2014) is likewise a very pared-down deployment of procedural rhetoric about climate change. (25) The user adjusts a series of sliders characterized as "Supply" or "Demand": on the Supply side, the user can increase biofuel production or the number of wind turbines, while on the Demand side, she can regulate levels of manufacturing growth and requirements for home insulation. The goal is to configure a scenario in which C[O.sub.2] levels in the U.K. will be 20 percent of their 1990 level by the year 2050. A bar on the top of the screen begins at 100 percent, and adjusts itself as the user changes Supply and Demand Levels. As changes are made, three animated icons labeled "My Home," "My City," and "My Country" subtly alter. They begin with overt depictions of pollution at these three levels: the home has a TV that is always on, the city is full of hectic traffic, and the country is littered with smokestacks spewing dark gas into the air. But if the user increases travel by public transit, for example, there are fewer cars moving on the streets of "My City." When the C[O.sub.2] indicator has decreased to 20 percent, the user can submit the scenario and complete the game, and is given a summary of her proposed solution to climate change.

This game is a clear exploitation of the basics of procedural rhetoric: it gives the user configurative control over a scenario in which she must learn the effects of her action while working within the rules to attain a goal. The game forwards an argument not only about the necessity of policy changes, but about the necessity to coordinate changes on multiple schematic levels (home/city/country) that one might describe in informatic terms as tactical, strategic, and logistic: individual practices, social management, and resource and trade allocation. (26) However, the "possibility space" of games such as My2050 and Climate Challenge is very limited. Social and political dynamics are entirely excluded, and rather than a dynamic simulation, the game uses evocative iconography to represent the spaces of climate change. While the coordination of the three levels reflects the way "micro- and macrocosm are now literally and not simply symbolically connected," it is also reductive, giving no nuanced picture of the way global networks of both climate and exchange are imbricated with each other and with local cultures, or how digital technologies themselves have helped to integrate these different levels of space and practice. (27) In all, the number of procedures the user can play with or effect is very limited, and the user is given little glimpse of the complexities of climate change impact and policy.

A more expansive and complex example of a game that uses procedural rhetoric to foster environmental consciousness may be the online game Fort McMoney (2013-), "a documentary game by David Dufresne," which combines documentary aesthetics with procedural gameplay. It takes as its subject Fort McMurray in Central Alberta, Canada, a city that has been at the center of Canadas transformation into "a global energy superpower" over the previous decade. (28) The game, coproduced by the video production company TOXA, the Canadian National Film Board, and Arte, allows the user to navigate the spaces of and around the real Fort McMurray, interviewing (i.e., activating portions of recorded interviews with) residents and collecting pieces of evidence scattered around the town, file collected evidence is then used to debate issues about economic, social, and environmental policies, and vote on these issues in referendums that will affect the virtual world of Fort McMoney, if not the physical city of Fort McMurray.

The game addresses one of the most pressing issues of contemporary environmental concerns and energy policy: so-called Tough Oil. As traditional oil wells have begun to run dry, techniques for extracting oil trapped within shale rock and other natural formations have opened up new petroleum sources within North America. The tar sands around the Athabasca River in central Alberta produce bitumen, a very impure type of oil that, in 80 percent of cases, must be steamed or melted out of the ground, consuming vast amounts of water and energy. The gargantuan and expanding effort to extract this oil is having an ecological impact so wide-ranging as to be almost incomprehensible in its totality: the process itself emits three times the amount of greenhouse gases that normal oil drilling emits; at least one to three million acres of land in Alberta will be almost completely cleared of wildlife; the Athabasca River may be being contaminated by the solvents used in the water that extracts and cleans the tar sands; and the production of oil from tar sands is expected to triple within the next two decades. (29) Bitumen, with its economic inefficiency and disastrous ecological impact, "is what a desperate civilization mines after it's depleted its cheap oil." (30)

This push for new oil resources does have the feeling of a last-ditch and self-destructive effort of an addict. As Stephanie LeMenager puts it in her book Living Oil, there is a feeling of "petromelancholia" pervading a North American society that has come to rely on cheap oil in innumerable ways: its prosperity, its perception of space, its self-image. As the last century's use of petroleum returns as climate change and ecological disasters, and as our dependence on petroleum leads to exacerbated environmental degradation in Alberta, we might also see more clearly the ways in which "modernity and ecology are entangled objects." (31) The city of Fort MacMurray, down the river from the Athabasca sands, has seen a population explosion that it has been ill equipped to handle. (32) Because of the intense investment of capital, resources, and manpower needed to extract the oil from the sands, the "dirtiness" of the tar sands oil manifests itself as environmental degradation in the surrounding area, and also as widespread homelessness, sexual exploitation, and substance abuse in the social ecosystem of Fort MacMurray.

As procedural rhetoric, Fort McMoney forwards arguments about the entanglement of oil, its extraction, and the shape of modern ecologies: throughout the game, the effects of rapid economic growth, underregulation, and, beneath it all, the drive for more oil, are discussed in terms of their numerous manifestations in Fort McMurray society. Sexual exploitation, homelessness, disappearing or mutated wildlife, and economic prosperity are all testified to by the game's numerous documentary vignettes, and understanding the entanglement of these phenomena with the material changes in the environment of the Athabasca basin is a part of the goal of the game. Distinguishing it from the environmental games discussed earlier, the game's procedural rhetoric positions the user as something of a detective, collecting the scattered effects of big oil's investment in the area, to be assembled not necessarily into unequivocal facts, but into Bruno Latour's "matters of concern" that can be collectively determined and acted upon within the world of the game. (33) Through this "detective work," mechanics focused on collaboration, and its simulation of space and its reordering, the game forwards a procedural argument about the possibility of agency in the face of dispersed ecological catastrophe.

Much of Fort McMoney's ability to effectively simulate investigation has to do with its clever use of genre: it is the environmental documentary film remade as graphic adventure, a computer game genre most popular in the early and mid-1990s. In graphic adventures, the user's character navigates a series of essentially static tableaux, collecting objects from these scenes that will be used to solve puzzles and complete the game, usually by resolving a central mystery. By interviewing nonplayer characters (NPCs) within the game through the strategic choice of prefabricated questions, and by combining objects to make tools or reveal evidence about the location of an ancient artifact, the user progresses to the end of the narrative. In his theory of the cybertext, Espen J. Aarseth copes with the newly empirical gap created by such adventure games for their users. All texts may create a "gap" to be filled by the reader, but in adventure games, such gaps are no longer purely imaginative, but require the user to "deduce the nonfictive laws of the simulated world by trial and error in order to complete the game." (34) Bogost echoes Aarseth in describing the place of the video game user as the site of the "simulation gap," a position structured but not fully determined by the algorithmic rules of the game. (35)

Fort McMoney harkens back to this now-rare genre in order to foreground the complexities of exercising thought and agency in the context of a Tough Oil ecosystem, using the adventure game's simulation gap as the site of circumscribed agency that might collaborate with others in reconfiguring the world of the game. The gameplay consists of navigating the spaces of the city, activating and interacting with documentary footage, and collecting "clues" that will be utilized to debate and form resolutions about the "mystery" of the town with other players. In Fort McMoney, the interviews with NPCs that are a staple of the graphic adventure game are semi-interactive conversations with actual residents of the Alberta oil town, composed of video interviews conducted by Dufresne and his crew. Sets of questions from which the user can choose appear in white boxes at the bottom of the screen, with each question chosen activating a response given by the Fort McMurray resident, and leading to new branches of questions. The user is meant to utilize the information and "Influence Points" (IP) gained from conducting interviews and collecting evidence to engage with other users in debates about the social and environmental impact of the tar sands oil mines outside the city, run by companies like Shell and Suncor.

With the device of the IP, the game departs from the classic graphic adventure, opening up its space to endless reconfiguration, rather than leading the user to a final ending. The more IP one has accumulated, the more weight one's vote has in the eventual referendums taken on the issues debated; while these referendums do nothing to affect the real Fort McMurray on which the images and spaces of the game are based, they can affect the virtual world of Fort McMoney. According to the "Comparative Data" chart accessible from the user's "Dashboard," the virtual Fort McMoney has seen a continued rise in its birth rates, its transient population, its road accidents, its real estate prices, and its overall population, but users of the game have managed to decrease its crime rate through these referendums. According to Jens Seiffert and Howard Nothhaft, the procedural rhetoric of the game is to be found here, in the Dashboard, rather than in the "audiovisual rhetoric" of the documentary evidence. (36)

Such an analysis, however, discounts the extent to which the user's experience of the interconnected spaces and objects presented in the documentary sections, however dependent on prerecorded materials, is a procedure enacted by the user herself. The "possibility space" inhabited by the user is made possible by her ability to reconfigure the space of Fort McMurray into that of Fort McMoney, but this reconfiguration depends not only on the Dashboard as a forum for democratic action, but also on the user's procedural experience of Fort McMoney. That is: social, ecological, and spatial information about Fort McMurray is not presented, as in a film, as an inexorably linear chain, but activated nonlinearly as maps, tableaux, vignettes, and video interviews. In the interviews, for example, if the user does not choose a further question to ask, footage of the interviewee waiting silently for the next question will run on a loop. Documentary video in such instances taken on the role of the "diegetic machine actions" that are a trope of gaming, not of documentary narration. (37) We can see here examples of an important distinction between procedural and audiovisual rhetoric: the progression of the moving image is subordinated to the procedure of the code and the configuring power of the user. In this procedural rhetoric, the user finds herself in possession of agency, albeit one highly conditioned by the allowances of the code, mirroring the dispersed agencies of petroleum culture itself.

LeMenager describes the documentary Manufactured Landscapes (2006), which appropriates industrial spaces as monumental imagery, as constituting a "media game" that "replaces the notion of a messy material world, tenuously held by social and ecological relationships. Such media tactics might obscure ecological injury, but they also make genuine bids for agency in the face of oil's self-referential and apparently total world." (38) Fort McMoney is, perhaps, a more appropriately messy "media game," throwing the user into the ambiguous and ambivalent effects of Tough Oil development, and making a democratic bid for agency in spaces whose total dependence on the world created by oil is constantly foregrounded. The procedural rhetoric of the game replaces the revelation of truth and unambiguous facts, which usually form the telos of the graphic adventure mystery, with the Latourian "matters of concern" composed from various sources--people, nonhuman evidence, and the gameplay experience of each player. Like the shorter, educational games discussed above, the game is designed to compel thought about the interactions between policy, society, and environment. But in contradistinction to these games, the simulation gap of the game is not used to grant seemingly unilateral power of configuration over a simplified system; rather, it is used to emphasize the extent to which video games, like the totalizing world of petroleum in which we live, offer limited pockets of agency--best exercised collectively--within larger processes.

It is in that sense that we might begin discussing Fort McMoney, and video games more broadly, as a form of allegory. Media objects might always remediate the conditions of their own existence, but video games have been seen by several critics as a rather cogent form of allegory for the way systems of discipline and control both grant and confine human agency in a contemporary world. (39) The paradoxical "infinite extension of controlled mobility" characterizes both endlessly repeatable video game worlds, and modern society's "networked" domination of space that is part and parcel of multinational capitalism and unsustainable development. (40) Fort McMoney's simulated collective agency a composite of objects and experiences dispersed through a multitude of players, mirrors the dispersed and entangled agencies of the petroleum industry, and models a thinking of political action around "multi-agent, individuated nodes in a metastable network." (41) Users must reassemble the network of traces of the ways oil changes environment, using processes of data mining and rational spatial coordination characteristic both of video game worlds and of the petroleum industry.

As effective allegory of environment, though, a politically invested graphic adventure like Fort McMoney might fall a little bit short, because its reliance on video evidence and lateral navigation does limit the user's experience of the natural-technological space of Fort McMoney/Fort McMurray. While it encourages contemplation on the dispersed environmental effects of Tough Oil and proscribed agency based on interaction with humans and nonhumans, its allowances for the experience of space remain confined to navigable 2-D images and rather conventional principles of documentary montage. Space here is either a limitedly navigable tableau, or a montage of camera footage during which the user's activation of game space is suspended. Space here is "actionable" only to a limited degree, and not traversable in depth: the user cannot walk down the street from the Mayor's Office to the Homeless Neighborhood, but clicks a button and is taken there. Something of the connectedness of these spaces is missed in this game genre of limited spatial mobility. Offering a different set of possible experiences are games that construct more "actionable" simulations of natural space--"allegorithms" for human-environment relations.


You emerge from the water, a river nestled among the Himalayas, and walk across the damp riverbed into the tall grass of the surrounding forest. The variegated plant life reminds you of your trip to the Andes, and you wonder whether the clear water, runoff from the snowy peaks you can see from every angle is what makes the natural colors in the region seem not only more varied, but so much more saturated than at the lower elevations you're used to. Looking across the hilly terrain to where the forest thickens, you see alternating treetops of green and brown; you catch yourself wondering whether, as you experienced in the Colorado Rockies, the shortened, mild winter of climate change has led to the proliferation of pine beetles. From this distance, it's hard to tell: are those brown treetops an effect of the biodiversity you perceive everywhere, or a side effect of human technology's effects on the natural world, a consequence of your very ability to be exploring this Himalayan valley?

You don't have much time for such thoughts, however: from the road several meters away, you hear a voice cry out in accented English, "Watch out: eagle!" You are not in South Asia for entirely innocent reasons, and you have a shotgun with you--not necessarily intended for fending off eagle attacks, but certainly up to the task. You rush toward the unpaved road, and find a Kyrati couple cowering in fear as a giant black eagle circles above them. Shotgun at the ready, you take down the bird just as it is swooping down to attack the couple. From the bird's corpse, you take a few feathers (they'll fetch over a thousand Kyrati rupees in Banapur) and head toward the relieved couple. Sometimes in such situations, the grateful Kyratis will provide cash rewards. After a brief conversation with the grateful natives, you turn around to be on your way, and discover that the eagle's remains have attracted a dhole out of the bush. As soon as you spot him, the dhole looks up from his scavenged meal and glares back.

In an actual encounter, simply discharging your shotgun might cause the dog-like animal to flee, but this is Far Cry 4 (2014), an open-world or "sandbox" first-person shooter (FPS): the dhole attacks, and, despite taking a shotgun wound, succeeds in killing you. (Woe be to the unarmed couple still standing behind you.) Far Cry 4 is only one of several recent open-world games that include survival and/or hunting mechanics. A relatively common video game mechanic since at least the release of the educational game The Oregon Trail in 1979, hunting has become a major feature of many big-budget, so-called "AAA" games in the last several years. (42) In games like Red Dead Redemption (2010), Assassins Creed 3 (2012), Tomb Raider (2013), and Grand Theft Auto V, the user's character must at least on occasion navigate and interact with a vast space coded as natural. The surrounding Himalayas, or in GTA V, the endless ocean around San Andreas, connote openness while also forming the boundary around the games' necessarily limited spaces. The central irony of the spaces of these games is that they mask the "magic circle" of gameplay, the realm beyond which a game's rules no longer apply, behind a simulacrum of open nature. (43) In McKenzie Wark's terms, the game space of these misleadingly labeled "open worlds" is not the "nowhere" of utopia, but the atopia or "everywhere" of topology: every space, even that of natural environments, is included within the system. (44)

While such games purportedly offer the user free activity--and do indeed offer infinite possibilities within a finite system--we can see above the ways in which both activity and representation are limited by Far Cry 4 to a limited set of enactable colonialist and anthropocentric tropes. The non-player character (NPC) Kyratis--a real Nepali name for mountain people, but here, citizens of a fictional and despotic third-world nation--largely conform to a (binary) ethnic stereotype: they're either victimized non-agents, or villainous and sexually ambiguous caricatures. And although the game simulates an ecosystem that is, relative to its predecessors, complex, virtually the only enactable relation to nature in the game is a relation of anthropocentric violence and exploitation.

Like Lawrence Buell's "world-making" environment-poetics, Far Cry 4 and games like it make a world, but on a deceptively circumscribed basis. Animals have (mostly violent) behavioral algorithms, but they exist, as do the game's actionable plants, as resources to be processed into accoutrements or "experience points" (XP) for the user's character. Any attempt at mere contemplation--the spaces of the game are truly beautifully designed--is sure to be interrupted in a surprising fit of violence. Opportunities for stillness and calm are practically nonexistent: unlike the games discussed in the following section, the boredom of this type of sandbox game is the boredom of the repetitive task. The space the user traverses in the game could be measured and charted--if it wasn't already determined by mathematical equations--by the path of accidental battles with yaks and government troops she stumbles into along the way, all of which give the user's character some quantifiable advantage to be used in the rest of the game. The concept of nature is used to evoke an "uncultured" open and unbounded freedom, and the user is thus positioned vis-a-vis this natural space in an inherently technological and exploitative way.

The essence of technology, as Martin Heidegger claims, is the "enframing" of nature as an archive of "standing-reserve," material defined in relation to modern technology's peculiar form of "revealing"--which is to say, exploitation. (45) Here, bear skins and plant life are always waiting to be collected and processed into a certain amount of material for crafting and a certain quotient of XP, the accumulation of which makes the user's character incrementally stronger. There are, of course, natural objects that cannot be collected, terrain that cannot be crossed. But as such elements materialize as images only as the user activates them through her movements, these too hardly escape the limited revelation of the natural world in terms of its technological use.

In many ways, video games are indelibly linked to the atopic, technological enframement of space--in fact, they have their roots in the "Space Race." When the first video game, Spacewar! (1961), was written by graduate students at MIT, its empty outer-space environment was an obvious choice, both because the blank environment requires little computing power to render, and because the school's computing program was actively engaged in United States efforts to "win the Space Race" with the U.S.S.R. The heated competition of the Cold War fueled the expansion in computer technologies that would lead to the conquering of local outer space by the U.S. and U.S.S.R., and also to the reordering of space catalyzed by information technologies. (46) By the end of the 1960s, the foundations for the Internet had been laid, as computers at institutions like MIT were connected via phone lines and a technology called packet switching to other research institutions and government agencies. An unintended byproduct of this technological network was the sharing, mostly between grad students eager for distraction, of the very first video games. (47)

Video games thus emerged as a part of the conquest of space by rockets and by information technologies, two profoundly unsustainable technological developments of the last half century. One can see this conquest and enframing of space by information technologies as simply continuing within the open-world video game: it is questionable whether video games could ever simulate natural space as something other than dominated space, determining the user's actions and relations well in advance. But open-world games' modeling of natural environments as topological spaces of boundless human activity and resource extraction might serve, with critical reflection, as an allegory for dominant understandings of natural environment. Alexander R. Galloway and McKenzie Wark describe games as "allegorithmic" of modern techniques of control: in a video game, the gamer is ... learning, internalizing, and becoming intimate with a massive, multipart, global algorithm. To play the game means to play the code of the game. To win means to know the system. And thus to interpret a game means to interpret its algorithm (to discover its parallel allegorithm'). (48)

Wark pays particular attention to the way video games configure space as allegorithm for the "game space" of contemporary life: "once games required an actual place to play them, whether on the chess board or the tennis court ... Now global positioning satellites grid the whole earth and put all of space and time in play." (49) Video games and their spatial schema are allegories for the diffused violence exercised by the digital on the physical world, deciding on "where everything belongs and how it is ranked," a violence "at its most extreme--and its most harmless." (50) The full incorporation of nature into tables of exchangeable data sets, into economies of XP and rupees, into gridded game spaces--this is where the violence, and the allegory, of AAA games lies. Wark's description of the "harmless violence" of digital grids and spatial ordering evokes Rob Nixon's theory of the "slow violence" of environmental injustice, "a violence that is neither spectacular nor instantaneous, but rather incremental and accretive, its calamitous repercussions playing out across a range of temporal scales," and is characterized by its relative invisibility. (51)

A recent article in the online journal First Monday suggests, however, that there is an almost environmentalist undercurrent to AAA games that include survival mechanics. The authors prescribe four ways such games, with their detailed simulations of ecological spaces, might better serve to raise ecological consciousness: games should

Move beyond growth as the end goal of a game--uncontrollable growth is an unsustainable scenario and asks little of the player's imagination.

Emphasize scavenging over combat for resource collection--encourage players to interact with their environment in creative ways instead of simply looking for targets.

Offer complex avenues for social interaction--there are many different kinds of social connections that can be supported by modern media beyond "us versus them."

Encourage strategizing with resources--scenarios that incorporate long-term consequences and interdependencies of resource use have a lasting appeal. (52)

But even without these "corrections" to the way video game mechanics "train" users to view environmental systems as infrastructures infinitely sustaining of growth, I would insist upon the games' utility, with critical reflection, as allegories for the way nature, to use Heidegger's terms, is "revealed" within technological modes of understanding.

It is possible to understand these games' simulation of nature not only as participating in a logic of the slow violence of exploitation and destruction--the gridding of natural space as standing reserve--but as being an "enacted metaphor" for that relationship to nature. (53) Reading Far Cry 4 as allegory means recognizing the possibility that such a game might foster an environmental consciousness that sees the way technology determines our perception of natural objects and spaces, that recognizes the rendering of deer and flowers into informatic bits as part of a "slow violence." Ultimately, it also means recognizing that such games can be played in a way that contemplates the shape and connectedness of the games spaces, and seeks a more ethical, less instrumentalizing--a more boring, perhaps--relationship to nature.

The game that most directly allegorizes the technological understanding of natural spaces is the hugely popular Minecraft (2011). In Minecraft, the user begins in a randomly generated world composed entirely of blocks of matter, each with the volume of one cubed meter. These cubes represent different types of environmental elements (dirt, stone, sand, clay, gravel, wood) that can be processed into tools and building material by the user's activity in the world. Qualitative differences are overtly reduced to quantitative value, as each kind of resource occupies the same amount of space within the world of the game, and also within the pop-up, Windows'95-style interfaces through which the user stores material and manipulates it into tools. With its "8-bit" (that is, retro, nonillusionistic, and overtly "digital") aesthetics, Minecraft emphasizes that what its users are doing when they head into a cave to replenish their coal supply is essentially data mining: extracting and reforming bits of information, from one imagistic manifestation to another. While the game's procedurally generated and effectively infinite space posits nature as an essentially inexhaustible resource at the service of the user's activity, it avoids the impulse toward full 3-D illusionism that typifies games like Far Cry 4.

Although many users may not take the time to reflect on the meaning of their Minecraft gameplay, it is still the "playing of informatics," the replication in the microcosmic world of the video game of the processing of nature into bits. (54) Viewing the gameplay, the enacted algorithms, as an allegory for the way technology figures the natural world, we can question what it would take to view nature outside of these bounds. According to Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinking has bifurcated language's ability to talk about nature into calculation (science) and image (art), but when these poles do meet back up in modernity, the result is an aestheticized positivism "devoid of any intention that would transcend the system," becoming therefore a "game." (55) The worlds of video games might accurately be described precisely as a synthesis of art and science, a way of making the world based on a way of knowing the world. Their natural spaces replicate the position of nature in the machinery of modernity because for the latter, nature has long been just a game. Minecraft's overt image of nature as calculation might lead us to question the everyday notion of a pure, untouched nature, and to confront the extent to which that notion masks the operations that enframe nature, with devastating environmental effects, as resource and data. Minecraft effectively, in other words, reverses the traditional pastoral image of the machine's intrusion into the garden, showing that the garden is always already within the machine.

And yet, contrary to Horkheimer and Adorno's assertion, in a game there is room for intentions that can transcend the system. As suggested by the "real" memories intermixed with the game description in the opening of this section, the "simulation gap" of video games allows the user to bring her own memories and experiences, her own affective comportment toward the world of the game, with her to the gameplay. In conclusion, I will posit "boring" games and gameplay as a final way in which gaming might invoke environmental thought. Boring gameplay can be a resistant strategy to worlds like those of Far Cry 4, insisting on nonviolence toward the game's humans and nonhumans, on refocusing the processes of the game onto the peaceful exploration of technonatural spaces and the nonhuman. It can also be, as I will show, an intentional part of the game's mechanics, a way to open the player to thought about environment.


Games can effect environmental consciousness, as I have argued, through both rhetoric and allegory, ways of apprehending vast processes in which the natural and the cultural are mutually imbricated, and of reflecting on the ways in which technological modes of thought enframe natural space. An ethical relationship to nature and the nonhuman, however, might start with the willingness to be bored, to give oneself nothing to do. Boredom, meaning not the repetitive tasks of work Horkheimer and Adorno focus on as a central tenet of the "culture industry," but a cessation of goal-directed behavior, might have a value for an environmental consciousness. As the abstention from the instrumentalization of nature, boredom offers room for contemplation on time, space, and human/nonhuman relations.

In Giorgio Agamben's extended reading of Heidegger on the animal, The Open: Man and Animal, the philosopher posits boredom as the existential mode that can comport humans toward nonhuman beings. (56) Although he does not state it outright, it is clear that, for Agamben, the dire consequences of human instrumentalization of nature, the animal, and other humans, which have become apparent over the last century, make the thinking issues of "the open" and "the animal" exigent. In Agamben's (Heideggerian) terms, in "anxious" boredom the human is opened toward the "closedness" of her own relationship with the open. (57) For Heidegger, this relationship might be described as a "being-alongside the world," in which the "concern" of human being (Dasein) "holds back from any kind of producing, manipulating, and the like, [and] puts itself into ... the mode of just tarrying alongside." (58) Of the many ways of being "concerned" with the world, boredom is the one that lays the groundwork for insight into "worldhood," the relations between humans and entities both natural and technological that make a world possible. Video games that simulate natural environments and ecosystems are most often manifestations of the opposite of this type of boredom, compelling the user to busy herself with goal-oriented, repetitive tasks; as I have shown, many can be critically understood as allegories for ways in which modern technology enframes and exploits nature. But user performance, or the game itself, might create a different boredom, an ethical boredom in the virtual realm.

Proteus (2013) is a first-person game that throws the player into a natural but "primitively" rendered three-dimensional space (that is, the animation and design do not attempt photorealism, but retain a machine aesthetic). The user begins floating in an ocean, and is free from that point to make her way toward an island in the distance. Once on the island, the user can walk along the beach, within the woods, or up mountains. Along the way she discovers various forms of animal life that react to her presence, but she can interact neither with the environment nor with the animals in any way customary in video games: there are no hunting mechanics, no tools, no opportunity or motive for the user to instrumentalize the nonhuman. A soundtrack roughly synced to the appearance of natural phenomena--snow has an identifying set of notes, as do chickens--and the game's impressionistic 8-bit graphics retain hints of technology in the determination of the space.

The user may also find on the island certain signifiers of human activity: a hut, a building that may be a church, some winding paths, and two sets of totems. When night falls, the user may head to one of these totem circles, around which an enigmatic circle of small white lights has begun to rotate, to fast-forward time to the next season. Moving from summer to fall, the user discovers new creatures and new colors in the landscape; after a full day of winter, the user gradually begins to float into the sky. A "masking" technique simulates eyes closing, and the game ends. Largely removing the user's ability to concretely intervene in or change the environment into which the game throws her, Proteus simulates the boredom of which Agamben and Heidegger write--even if the user is herself not "bored." Beyond learning some of the behavior of the other beings in the space who, like her, do nothing other than move, the user is not driven by a quest for knowledge or an "enframement" of the space of the game in relation to her. Rather, anxious boredom in the confrontation with a finite nature, and an eventual (mystical) end to life, define the gameplay and the endpoint of Proteus. The various digital entities in the game--owls, trees, dragonflies, rabbits, human dwellings--thus exist not to be used but to coform the human's environment. As the code of the game depends on the user to enact the processes that create this world, it is centered around the user in a certain sense, but in denying the user most forms of direct agency, it thereby simulates a being-alongside open to its own limits with regard to knowing the world. Instead of a world composed of elements turned toward the endless, exploitative action of a user, Proteus simulates finitude and the wonder of worldhood in general, giving rise to questions about the relationship between a technological-natural world and the presence of the (presumably) human user: what is the history of this world? Where does it go after the user's "death"? Toward what purpose should the user's limited scope of activity be directed?

Proteus is thus a "boring" game in the ethical sense of the term, putting its user in a relation of boredom to the natural world. Games such as Minecraft might be played in a boring way through the user's performance, but because the world of a game is created both by the rules of the code and the way these rules structure the user's relation to/enactment of the world, Proteus and games like it predispose the user toward a contemplative boredom. To take a perhaps more extreme example, the video game Mountain (2014) allows the user to control only the perspective from which she views a green mountain rotating counterclockwise in space. Seasons pass in the span of a few minutes, the mountain and its foliage going through seasonal changes; after several minutes of "play," random items--giant anvils, for example--crash into and start accumulating on the mountain. These items are not actionable, but are simply incorporated into the mountain's being, subject to snowfall in the regular winters and passing through time and space with the mountain. Although the game's opening credits insist that "you are mountain [sic]," the game ascribes no direct agency to the user, cheekily specifying "None" in the "Controls" section of its Pause menu. As in Proteus, the user is left simply to contemplate the intermingling of nature and mysterious objects of human origin.

What such games reveal about video games in general is the extent to which, because they are experiential worlds, they can open up thought about environment in general: our use of our world, our access to nature, the way we represent spaces to ourselves--our stake in cocreating the worlds in which we live. Here again, we can return to theories of both Lawrence Buell and Leo Marx. The reversal of Marx's pastoral mode I have proposed--the recognition of the garden in the machine--is most fully manifest in games that foreground the limitedness of their own revelation of nature. While this might describe a game like Minecraft or even Far Cry 4 to a certain extent, what Proteus offers is an experience of world as such, with a minimum of narrative--Buell's ultimate environmental poetics, but without the deceptive illusionism or anthropocentrism of the typical AAA game. While all games depend on worlds built within the "magic circle" of gameplay, it is boring games like Proteus that might shake most foundationally our everyday presumptions not just about games, but about the enframed game that nature becomes in modern society.

Video games, particularly popular ones, often say little that is explicit about climate change and environmental crisis, but because they often create environments (processes, spaces, worlds), they constitute an important site where models of environmental consciousness can be created, allegorized, and played. While a game like Proteus does not take as its topic mass extinction, rising sea levels, or C[O.sub.2], emissions, it creates forms of relations between its user and its world that may be just as vital as--for example--the urgent message of a project like Fort McMoney. Direct responses to climate change in the world of gaming are somewhat few and far between, but the centrality of the user's enactment of a relationship to natural environments in games of many stripes testifies to the fact that not only environmental thought, but also environmental experience, are available to the millions of video game users.

University of Iowa


(1) "GTA Wildlife Documentary: Into the Deep," YouTube video, 13.37, posted by "Chaney555", Nov. 22, 2014, (Chicago 14.280)

(2) Aleandra Chang, "Playing Nature: The Virtual Ecology of Game Environments" (PhD diss., U. of California-Berkeley, 2013), 8.

(3) Chang, "Playing Nature," 92.

(4) Ian Bogost, Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism (MIT Press, 2006), 98.

(5) Donna Haraway, When Species Meet (U. of Minnesota Press, 2008), 25.

(6) Oliver R. W. Pergams and Patricia A. Zaradic, "Is Love of Nature in the US Becoming Love of Electronic Media? 16-Year Downtrend in National Park Visits Explained by Watching Movies, Playing Video Games, Internet Use, and Oil Prices," Journal of Environmental Management 80 (2006): 387-393.

(7) Moreover, the popularity of gaming, and therefore its centrality to a full understanding of contemporary culture, can hardly be overstated. Two examples from the games under discussion here: GTAV made $800 million in its first three days of release alone; revenues had reached almost $2 billion by May 2014. Minecraft (2011-), which will be discussed later in this essay, had sold nearly 40 million copies across various platforms by early 2014. Dave Thier, '"Grand Theft Auto 5' Has Sold Nearly $2 Billion," Forbes, May 13, 2014, http://www.forbes.eom/sites/davidthier/2014/05/13/grand-theft-auto-5-has-soldnearly-2-billion-at-retail/; Eddie Makuch, "Minecraft passes 100 millino registered users, 14.3 million sales on PC," Gamespot, Feb. 26,2014, minecraft-passes-100-million-registered-users- 14-3-million-sales-on-pc/1100-6417972/.

(8) Akira Lippit, Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife (U. of Minnesota Press, 2000), 18.

(9) Alexander R. Galloway, The Interface Effect (Cambridge, MA: Polity, 2012), 13.

(10) Chang, "Playing Nature," 83.

(11) Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America (Oxford U. Press, 1964), 29.

(12) Martin Heidegger, "The Question Concerning Technology," trans. William Levitt and David Farrell Krell, in Basic Writings, ed. David Farrell Krell (New York: HarperCollins, 2008): 325-28.

(13) Ursula K. Heise, Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global (Oxford U. Press, 2008), 12. Heise highlights digital media works as possessing the potential for illustrating technological and natural interconnectedness in a globalized world, but pays scant attention to video games, focusing instead on interactive media art.

(14) Lawrence Buell, The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishiing, 2008), 45.

(15) Ian Bogost, Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008); McKenzie Wark, Gamer Theory (Harvard U. Press, 2007). It's important to note here that by "procedural" I will be referring to the broad notion that all games rely on processes within the device, which incorporate and are activated by the user. This notion should be kept distinct from "procedurally generated" games like Minecraft, which generate unique environments each time the game is played. Most games rely on environments fully designed by the game developers, but nevertheless must render these spaces, activate the artificial intelligence programs, etc., in real-time processes. In this sense, all video games are procedural.

(16) Buell, Future of Environmental Criticism, 56.

(17) Bogost, Unit Operations, 99.

(18) Ian Bogost, Persuasive Games, 36.

(19) Ibid., 9.

(20) Ibid., 42.

(21) Digital media is an "affirmation of the affective body," according to Mark B. N. Hansen, New Philosophy for New Media (MIT Press, 2004), 21.

(22) Bogost, Persuasive Games, 46.

(23) "Play Power Up,"

(24) "Climate Challenge,"

(25) "My2050,"

(26) Manuel De Landa, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines (New York: Zone Books, 1991), 34.

(27) Bruno Latour, "An Attempt at a Compositionist Manifesto," New Literary History 41 (2010): 481.

(28) "Fort McMoney," http://www.fortmcmoney.eom/#/fortmcmoney; canda-a-global-energy-superpower/.

(29) Canadian Academy of Engineering, Canada: Winning as a Sustainable Energy Superpower (Ottawa: Canadian Academy of Engineering, 2012), 6.

(30) Andrew Nikiforuk, Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent (Berkeley, CA: Greystone Books, 2009)16.

(31) Stephanie LeMenager, Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century (Oxford U. Press, 2014), 102-4.

(32) Nikiforuk, Tar Sands, 16-20.

(33) Latour, "An Attempt," 478.

(34) Espen J. Aarseth, Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1997), 50. My emphasis.

(35) Bogost, Unit Operations, 108.

(36) Jens Seiffert and Howard Nothhaft, "The Missing Media: The Procedural Rhetoric of Computer Games," Public Relations Review 41 (2014), http://dx/,6.

(37) Alexander R. Galloway, Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (U. Of Minnesota Press, 2006), 8-12.

(38) LeMenager, Living Oil, 80.

(39) Joost van Dreunen, "The Aesthetic Vocabulary of Video Games," Computer Games as a Sociocultural Phenomenon: Games without Frontiers, War without Tears (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2008), 4.

(40) Galloway, Gaming, 87.

(41) Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker, The Exploit: A Theory of Networks (U. of Minnesota Press, 2007), 30.

(42) The term "AAA" for video games is analogous to the term "blockbuster" for the movie industry, indicating a high production budget, expansive marketing, and a high level of anticipated or actual success.

(43) Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture (Boston: Beacon Press, 1950), 77.

(44) Wark, Gamer Theory, 102.

(45) Heidegger, "The Question Concerning Technology," 319.

(46) Manuel Castells, The Informational City: Information Technology, Economic Restructuring and the Urban-Regional Process (New York: B. Blackwell, 1989), 71-72.

(47) Tristan Donovan, Replay: The History of Video Games (Lewes, East Sussex: Yellow Ant, 2010), 9-11.

(48) Galloway, Gaming, 91.

(49) Wark, Gamer Theory, 11.

(50) Wark, Gamer Theory, 20.

(51) Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Harvard U. Press, 2011), 2.

(52) Shawna Kelly and Bonnie Nardi, "Playing with Sustainability: Using Video Games to Simulate Futures of Scarcity," First Mondays (May 2014), index.php/fm/article/view/5259/3877.

(53) Galloway, Gaming, 105.

(54) Alexander Galloway, Interface Effect (Malden, MA: Polity, 2012) 33.

(55) Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. John Cumming (New York: Continuum, 1972), 30.

(56) Giorgio Agamben, The Open: Man and Animal, trans. Kevin Attell (Stanford U. Press, 2004), 65.

(57) Ibid., 67.

(58) Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John MacQuarrie and Edward Robinson (New York: Harper Perennial, 1962), 88.
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Title Annotation:Grand Theft Auto V
Author:Brown, P. Saxton
Publication:Philological Quarterly
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Jun 22, 2014
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