Ian Bogost Interview in DIS Magazine

Ian Bogost was just interviewed for a feature in DIS Magazine, a great site that started off as a music  and fashion blog but has expanded its reach to a variety of 21st century issues such as digital media and ecology.  He talks at length about philosophy, gamification, social media, economics, and more.  Overall a quite fascinating read.  Here are some of the highlights:

On discoveries after programming games for the Atari:
“Two things were clear to me: first, that the nature and experience of anything is worthy of philosophical study, and not just as gimmick. And second, that this kind of careful attention to materials for their own sake has much pragmatic use for creators and practitioners of all kinds.”

On ‘serious games’:”
“The media ecosystem is not a binary switch that’s either set to ‘respected’ or ‘scorned.’ It’s a spectrum, and the more the spectrum fills out, the more grounded the medium becomes. So we want to keep the “entertainment” uses of games, but we want to break those down into their components, and the serious ones too, and everything in between and all around those arbitrary categories. The way games become mature is opportunistically, by entering culture at every turn they are offered.”

On the dissolution of the workplace:
“Now we must always upkeep ourselves online, and often our employers or the organizations we participate in. Even people who are lousy at marketing—it is, after all, an actual discipline—are now forced to become bloggers, tweeters, facebookers, and instagrammers to keep their departments or divisions up to date—or just to keep themselves visible. We are all conducting a constant job of full-time self-promotion. Hyperemployment is my name for this phenomenon, the general practice of being constantly bombarded with work that we are obliged, encouraged, or acclimated to do for free, but which has very real costs on our time and our sanity.”

On play and gamification:
” The problem is our continued insistence that there must be something delightful and freewheeling about play and games. That play is a positive experience associated with escaping the world of duty into the world of pure will.  Rather than thinking of play and games as an expression of the self, we can think of them instead as an activity conducted when faced with specific and particular objects. Play isn’t really about exercising our own will and pleasure as it is attending to the arbitrary but real and undeniable structure of something.”

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One Response to Ian Bogost Interview in DIS Magazine

  1. epiratequeen says:

    I haven’t read the full article, but I really like the last two quotes. The constant self-promotion that the internet and social networks have required is something that was touched on in The Circle, and it’s interesting that Bogost considers it to be completely integrated into our society today. I agree with his quote about play, though. Pure free will is expressed through creativity, not entering the environment of games. Games can serve a lot of purposes, but I don’t think allowing people to express free will is one of them.


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