A Failed and Unintelligible Analogy

The Phenomenology of Virtual Space in Kitty Horrorshow’s ANATOMY

Timss cover image

The virtual space of ANATOMY withdraws from players behind a barrier of static and screen glare where it becomes, in a Lacanian psychoanalytic sense, inaccessible to the process of narcissistic incorporation. In a subversive twist of convention, players are marginalized in order to hold space for the expression of digital-material agency, affecting a critical blow to the psychological processes, as digital media scholar Laurie Taylor theorizes, by which “the connection between the player and the player’s position in game space implies a type of identification.” Overtures of analog noise and VHS scan lines that scroll across the player’s first-person perspective articulate an aesthetic commitment to the affirmation of otherness. An unbridgeable distance stretches between us and ANATOMY, and into this distance tumbles that narcissistic fantasy of a video game designed to transport players inside immersive virtual worlds, where alien subjectivities are embodied firsthand and become sympathetically understood. Continue Reading

Burn the Glitch?

An archaeology of digital queers

Smith Nicholls cover image - Project Glitch screenshot

Glitches can be characterised as digital pests. Like their analogue equivalents, they can range from mildly inconvenient to unavoidable. Examples include loading errors, clipping through walls, and game-breaking glitches which result in a complete cessation of play. Despite this, glitches are highly valued by certain play communities. Speedrunners exploit glitches in order to complete games as fast as possible, and record their occurrences for other members of their community. Archaeogamers, who study the intersection between archaeology and video games, may also record glitches in order to better understand the development and experience of playing a particular game. Continue Reading