Roguelites, Neoliberalism, and Social Media

Harvie cover image

In this essay I argue that roguelites are popular because 1) they reflect the kind of neoliberal values embedded within CYOA books, but also that 2) their fundamental design principles simulate and exaggerate the systems that fuel addictions to social media. To put it another way, I contend that the recent popularity of roguelites is no accident; rather, that it coexists alongside both the powerful neoliberal imperatives to risk it all, work hard, and adapt, but also the more immediate excitements, disappointments, and worries of a media landscape within which many people constantly define and value themselves. Continue Reading

Nancy Drew and the Case of the Neoliberal College

Braithwaite Figure 1

A disillusioned professor desperate for tangible research results. An ambitious new Ph.D. angling for a tenure-track position. Research assistants performing rote and menial tasks. Contract staff bound by restrictive agreements. Research teams dependent on the benevolence of corporate sponsors. College students angry that their campus is increasingly devoted to commercial enterprise. Continue Reading

Mobile Games, SimCity BuildIt, and Neoliberalism

A screenshot of a city in SimCity BuildIt

EA Mobile’s SimCity BuildIt, released for iOS and Android in 2014, is the newest entry in the historic SimCity franchise. With forty million players worldwide, SimCity BuildIt is also the most played SimCity game ever released (Lazarides, 2015). Its expansive international community seems, at first, to procedurally deliver on the promises of free market globalization, achieving an equitable marketplace in which anyone, anywhere can participate. While playing SimCity BuildIt, I have traded goods with players who speak Arabic, French, Japanese, and Russian (though we have never exchanged a word). Continue Reading