Working at Play

Alienation, Refusal, and Every Day the Same Dream

leblanc-feature

There is, perhaps, no more of an innocuous fantasy video games can absolve than playing hooky from work for a day. And yet, in Paolo Pedercini’s Every Day the Same Dream, that refusal to concede to the droning and humdrum quotidian nonetheless feels subversive. A theory of alienation and its political potential, as it were, can help make sense of that affective experience of totally rejecting what is all too familiar: workplace boredom. Continue Reading

Living the Dream

An Allegory for Breaking Procedure

Essay - Living the Dream

What happens when videogames frustrate narrative lucidity and the expected norms of play? Every Day the Same Dream, a 2009 short game authored by Paolo Pedercini and his Italian collective Molleindustria, resists the formulaic patterns of videogame composition to produce new meaning. Gaming essayist Braxton Soderman points to Molleindustria’s penchant for disruptive play, recounting the developers’ ability to “…confront a variety of political, economic, and social issues, embracing a form of design ‘that aims at starting a serious discussion about social and political implications of videogames’” (Soderman). This critical analysis of Every Day the Same Dream locates not only the social and political objectives of the game but also its buried critique of videogame form itself. In offering cyclical patterns of gameplay and monotonous imagery, Pedercini emboldens the ability to break videogame procedure, evoking McKenzie Wark’s notion of allegorical play and destabilizing the procedural rhetoric that Ian Bogost longs to agitate. Moreover, Every Day the Same Dream affirms the expressive capacity of videogame language, antagonizing the generic conventions recycled by familiar algorithms and prosaic authorship. Continue Reading