Modern Alchemy: Game Development as Enthusiasm Engineering

(Game Industries are Economies grounded on Ecosystems: Gold vs Enthusiasm)

In this paper, I claim that (1) creation of a digital game is always accompanied by a creation of a ‘collective spirit’ that is to be carried through this game, (2) for this reason, digital game production requires pre-economical interspaces (such as pre-incubation centres) where ‘game ideas’ exist and live as ‘projects’ before they become investments or professional experiences, (3) we can characterise these spaces as ‘ecological’ as in the form of globalization (Virilio). (4) Digital game as a commodity requires extensive lengths of time for its ‘salto mortale’ (Marx), the time of uncertainty before it realizes its value and becomes a commodity, and (5) a game does not realize its price in sale, but in gameplay. Thus, (6) game genres split not only as different products in a single market, but each game genre tends to establish a market of its own. (7) As a result, digital game industries are economies of a special kind that firmly grounds on their own creative ecosystems. (8) As it is realized in gameplay, exchange value for a game is not ‘gold’ as in a commodity, but ‘enthusiasm’: the second Real emotion (Zizek) that results from the conversion of ‘anxiety’, the first one (Freud). (9) In digital games, ‘anxiety’ is an encounter with the minimal difference between player and avatar, which is pushed through by enthusiasm, and also marks the antagonism that it confronted by it. (10) Digital game developers, as ‘enthusiasm engineers’, hold a very specific role in the general social transformation that is gradually passing from self-generating ‘gold’ to self-generating ‘enthusiasm’ as the dominant value form in human intercourses. (11) ‘Enthusiasm’ can also be distinguished from ‘gold’ in terms of time and space: as opposed to ‘gold’, which is stored in a space, ‘enthusiasm’ is always created in the ‘present time’, which is equivalent to eternity in the sense of being timeless, given the finitude of our field of perception (Wittgenstein). (12) We can name the corresponding social transformation as ‘ludic spirit’, which is gradually incorporating the ‘subjective spirit’ into the ‘objective spirit’ (Hegel).

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