Thursday, September 27, 2007

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

In considering the movement away from Foucaultian Disciplinary Society to the Deleuze & Galloway Control Society, I realized that video game space is perhaps the best example of a total control society.

In video games, the world exists only as much as programmers are willing to code it, which is to say that the world is entirely controlled. Considered a game like MarioKart, which not only controls the space that a player is allowed to interact with, but also the very actions and movements the player can make. No MarioKarter can get up and leave their kart for instance. These games, even while emphasizing player freedom within the gamespace control the very rendering of the world around the player not only does the game process the visualscape for player interaction, but the ability to look is also pre-coded. Even the interfacing tools of a joystick, gamepad, or simple keyboard control the ways that players can interact with a game down to a specific science.

This brings up the phrase "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" a catchphrase for the digital gamer, taken from a now cult classic "Zero Wing" game (1989). In the opening cut sequence, a villified cyborg takes control of the operation of a bomb aboard a supposedly "good" ship claiming "All Your Base Are Belong to Us." The imperfect grammar, combined with the suggestion of the phrase made it a ubiquitous trash-talking element.

But when viewed from the context of the Control Society, particularly within the controlled context of gamespace, this is phrase seems prophetic. When the human interacts with controlled, hack-proof video gamescapes, "all your base are belong to us." And's more, we, rather than the game or the computer, become the other, set up against the collective "us" of technology.

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