Thursday 28 February 2013

Fuck the Holodeck

This post was written for Blogs of the Round Table. Read the other entries, when they appear, at Critical Distance.

There is a spectre haunting videogames: the spectre of the holodeck.

Developers, fans and the media are united in doing its work. Janet Murray first summoned the word to game studies, but it has long since escaped her control. In its purest form it is the teleological fantasy that games will one day achieve the status of perfect simulation: computerised experiences of such fidelity that they consume all five senses and immerse the player in a fake reality. But we pay tribute to it whenever we measure our games against it, or imagine that it is the end-goal of the medium; whenever we repeat simple platitudes that immersion is better than distance or the intuitive better than the obtuse.