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

A Game of Gazes

A Closer Look at Killer Is Dead’s “Gigolo Mode”

Commentary - Killer Is Dead

Given that Goichi Suda so thoroughly and openly engages in reflexive gaming commentary within his many eclectic works, the generally negative reception with Grasshopper Manufacture’s latest effort Killer Is Dead arrives as a genuine shock. Much of the gaming world’s aversion towards the game stems from its so-called “Gigolo mode,” a minigame that finds its protagonist ogling a potential romantic flame for the promise of sex and a weapon upgrade. Some critics have charged this segment as misogynist, often with reductive analysis that eschews examination below surface level. Obviously, representing sex in games remains a serious issue that the medium has frequently struggled with. Continue Reading