Dark as a Dungeon

Fallout 76 and the Coal Mining Industry

I was ten hours into playing Fallout 76 when it finally happened—a moment I had warily anticipated since I first learned the latest installment in the franchise would be set in West Virginia. My character, the self-styled Shotgun Nurse of the Wasteland, was descending into a coal mine. It was the final step in my character’s training before officially joining the Fire Breathers, a group of post-apocalyptic firefighters headquartered in the crumbling remains of the Charleston Fire Department. All that was left was to activate an emergency beacon located in the sulphurous depths of Belching Betty, the site of a subterranean mine fire that had raged for untold years. Continue Reading


Are games becoming the factories of the future?

Industrialisation and automatisation were expected to fulfil the human dream of spending fewer hours working allowing us to devote more time to non-labour activities, such as playing. The machine was supposed to relieve us from the drudgery of mundane, repetitive tasks. During the Industrial Revolution, it would serve as an alternative to human muscle and replace our manual labour at assembly lines and in manufacturing. But in the Digital Revolution, the machine would start taking over tasks dependant on our cognition, such as calculating. As Norbert Wiener proclaimed in the early 1950’s, the automatic machine, when used for the benefit of humanity rather than serving profit-oriented goals, could increase our leisure and, as a result, contribute to the enrichment of our spiritual lives (1954, 200). By and large, the automaton could have liberated humans from the need to work. It did not. Continue Reading