Hopefully Humankind Doesn’t End Up This Way…

Throughout Neveldine and Taylor’s film Gamer it is obvious to see that technology has advanced so much that it not only is a constant part of daily life, but it is people’s lives. The “game” society first showed the life-consuming technology to the world. In Society, people could either pay to play, or be paid to be played. The person who will be the avatar is injected with nano-bytes that replicate in their brains. These nano-bytes allow the person to be controlled by their player. The player can then take their avatar and proceed to do whatever they want to; talk with others, go to a rave, prance around on a major sleazefest, whatever their little (good chance shallow) heart desires.

Next in line was the “game” Slayers, which pit convicts against each other in a fight to the death. To the public this was used by the government to give convicts a “chance at freedom”, while they really just used it to free up space in their prisons. The convicts could spend their time in prison for however long they were sentenced, or they could try and survive 30 matches and walk away a free man or lady. On the other side of this program was the connection to the public. Slayers was a game which used the same nano-bytes used in Society to let players control a convict within the matches. You could relate this to how in real life we have Call of Duty, Battlefield, Counter Strike, etc. The only thing is that the game uses real people instead of video game characters/avatars. These matches are then broadcasts worldwide and watched by everyone.

If you can see where this is going, then you should at least begin to realize how terrible this actually is and could be in real life. In Martin Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology, he believes that it is un-safe and dangerous to make mankind a standing reserve. In the film, Ken Castle, the creator of both Society and Slayers, has enframed humankind within his “games”. The convicts and the people who play as the avatars in Society are the standing reserve, and to everyone else in the world they are just merely a means of entertainment. They are not human beings at all, in the eyes of the players and viewers.

Within these contexts, these people have all become dehumanized. The convicts lose their humanity once they are controlled by other people and used to kill and be killed. They lose their power to be their own self, although they lost many rights from performing a crime and being in prison. They still had their basic humanly rights until they agreed to be a part of Slayers. The avatars are in the same boat, they are used as human sex toys for every player’s screwed up fantasy.  Nobody cares about them, just as much as they don’t care about the convicts. This is shown in the rave scene, where the avatars (I’m sure) are aware that they are being shot at but cannot do anything about it. Both the shooters and the players have no care that the human avatars are dying. To them, they can just pay money to get another one.

Finally, both the players and the viewers of the games have become dehumanized as well. It is evident in the fact that they show no care of the massive loss of lives. They might be connected to the technology, but they are disconnected to what being a human is like. It is shown clearly within the whole concept of Slayers, as well as in the scene where Hackman is in the elevator with Angie. Angie is being controlled by her player “Gorge” and urges Hackman to murder the two avatars who have no way of fending for their lives. Everyone is just senseless to the meaning of life.

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2 Responses to Hopefully Humankind Doesn’t End Up This Way…

  1. Steph Roman says:

    You’re on the right track here, but it would be useful to show some specificity with form. In this case, a particular example would be Simon in his room. Simon has to physically act out what he wants Kable to do. It would be prudent to look at something like that.


    • pjm92 says:

      In agreement with Steph up there^, I also believe you should include something about the form of the film. Form will help your arguement such as Shaviro suggests. Talk about the camera angles in those games that mentioned! (Call of Duty, Battlefield, Counter Strike)


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