I’ve Been Everything, Man


Ian here—

2017 marks the year of animator David OReilly’s return to to the medium of videogames, following up on his strange and serene digital-art-toy-screensaver-thing Mountain (2014). His new game, Everything, released on PS4 on March 21st, and releases on Windows, Mac and Linux this Friday.

The game’s title, Everything, is also the game’s premise: It is a game about everything. Specifically, it is a game in which players can be everything, switching at will from trees to koalas to rocks to quarks and back. I haven’t had a chance to sit down with it yet—I suspect I’ll make time for it once it’s out for PC—but I did want to take the advent of its multi-platform release as an opportunity to muse on this premise’s history in gaming.

Everything may be the first game that explicitly promises to allow us to be everything, but games have previously offered the ability for us to step into the role of quite a lot of things, including a surprising range of inanimate objects. “The child plays at being not only a shopkeeper or teacher,” wrote Walter Benjamin, “but also a windmill and a train.”[i] Games have proved to be a continuing outlet for this childhood animist fantasy—why, in just a couple weeks’ time, we’re going to be able to play as a coffee mug!

Join me, won’t you, in a breezy tour of some of the stranger things games have let us be.

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Migration and the Poor Image


Ramona Beattie

In this time of mass information, of the digital bureaucracy of the internet mirroring the real almost entirely, systems are built for fracture; instability of systems becomes the rule, and not the exception. Across the board, mistrust of those in positions of power, and in the nature of these positions in the first place. As frantic, constant, in-flux response, makeshift environments of fear and deterrence are pinned up in order to maintain control of individuals. If everyone’s gonna get crushed, something’s gotta splash out from the sides of the shoe. If we think of stomping as the mechanism of control, and the guts flying out of the sides are those who are pushed to the edges: those who are marginalized, degraded, sent into exile. And in a time of mass dissociation and mass frantic control, the realest experience is that of these individuals, traditions, objects and symbols. The imprint of the real chaos and cruelty and stomping of the world is all too heavy on the exiled.

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