Monsters and the mall: Videogames and the scopic regimes of shopping

Mike Molesworth

Research output: Contribution to conference (unpublished)Paperpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

George Romero's Dawn of the Dead is a film which has been criticised for its violence, but which also contains insights into our consumer society. In this paper I argue that videogames, which are similarly criticised for being violent, also tell us about one trajectory of consumer culture. Drawing from recent re-evaluations of the flâneur-shopper I consider the temporal, spatial and panoptic scopic regimes of shopping and tourism consumption, and compare these with the experience of playing first person shooters. In doing so I also consider the development of consumer 'ways of seeing' in shopping and videogames that construct the consumer as an imagining and desiring user of commercial images. Using reviews of first person shooters that have been promoted for their visual spectacle (Doom 3 and Halo) I argue that the active and speculative nature of videogame play allows for something like the flâneur-shopper's stroll through a commercially constructed space, but unlike shopping spaces which may be becoming increasingly similar, videogames re-enchant the consumer gaze with their spectacular vistas and constantly changing environments. The result however, is that Romero's criticism of the alienating effect of a consumption-orientated life may also be applied to videogames.

Original languageEnglish
Pages218-225
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event3rd Digital Games Research Association International Conference: "Situated Play", DiGRA 2007 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 24 Sep 200728 Sep 2007

Conference

Conference3rd Digital Games Research Association International Conference: "Situated Play", DiGRA 2007
Country/TerritoryJapan
CityTokyo
Period24/09/0728/09/07

Keywords

  • Flaneur
  • Scopic regime
  • Shopping
  • Videogame

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software

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