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July 16 2013
For six months, while I write my senior thesis, I also play Radiant Silvergun���I'd estimate at least half an hour nearly every day. I play it in the common room where everyone can see me. I get known as the guy who plays the one game over and over. Radiant Silvergun is my friend Dan's game���he owns a copy imported from Japan and the obsolete Sega system it runs on. I'm in Dan's room. We're freshmen. He's reading Ulysses, I'm not really reading anything. He tells me, referencing his critical guide, that Ulysses teaches you how to read it. ���Like a video game,��� I say. He grins. I think to myself that modernism is garbage. But he grins, and it makes me want to grin too. I leave Radiant Silvergun behind until senior year. There isn't a reason I start playing it again: I just play it, die, then play it another time. I don't stop, and I don't have a reason to stop. It's fun, even when you die. The guy who made QWOP once tweeted ���The only wish that videogames fulfill for me is that I wish to be playing a videogame.��� Dan's roommate is high. He watches us play the co-op mode. The co-op mode is broken���none of the game's finely crafted balances work at all. He asks us why robots have taken over the world. Dan knows the plot, even though it's in Japanese. ���There are no robots. I told you that.��� ���Yes there are���you're killing them.��� The best kind of multiplayer I know is collaborative: not simply co-operation but collaboration toward the game's goal���an easily shared goal. My very happiest times playing video games are when I work together with someone on a hard game. The best moments are when I get to a horrifically hard part--���OK, you're better at this part.��� The formal term is ���hotseat multiplayer;��� I think I'm especially interested in when that kind of playing emerges spontaneously. This often tends to come from different specialized tasks appearing in a game: who can button-mash the fastest? Who can manage the sensory overwhelm of a sudden difficulty spike? sluuuuurp If we want to be able to build our own lives, to achieve material independence and the ���spatial justice��� called for by the radical geographers, much of this effort can come from the ways we make our own lives and homes. The joint authors of ���Further Materials Toward A Theory Of The Man-Child��� want to move away from the ironic misogyny in some leftist social thinking, mapping it onto the emerging figure of the ���man-child.��� This also includes a rejection of ironic approaches in general���ones formed on a presumed shared, sophisticated knowledge. In ���The Uses of the Erotic,��� Audre Lorde presents our deepest, most potent feelings as inconveniences to a ���male world��� that ���values this depth of feeling enough to keep women around in order to exercise it in the service of men, but which fears this same depth too much to examine the possibilities of it within themselves. So women are maintained at a distant/inferior position to be psychically milked��� (53-54).