Anthropocene Temporality in Gaia Games

In: KronoScope
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  • 1 Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, Oslo University, Oslo, Norway
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This article explores the potential of a new generation of environmental god games, or Gaia games, to engage with the ambivalent dynamic of Anthropocene temporality, a concept modelled after Nicolas Mirzoeff’s notion of Anthropocene visuality. In particular, this article highlights a trope that has become popular in god games recently: the move from map-style interfaces to the use of whole Earth images and models. This trope signals an overt and growing—although as I shall point out, imperfect—engagement with planetarity: an emerging worldview that posits the planet as a world-ecology, one that imbeds both human and nonhuman forces while calling for a renewed attendance to the ethics and aesthetics of relationality. At the same time, this article also notes the perpetuation in Gaia games of generic tropes and conventions like the tech tree and expansionist gameplay. The notion of Anthropocene temporality that this article attempts to theorize helps us to think through the juxtaposition between ecological relationality and a continued desire for expansionism and progress, as both of these play out in videogames.

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