Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This chapter draws on metaphors and themes developed in the television show Westworld to stage a close reading of the games Minecraft and SimEarth, using Noah Wardrip-Fruin’s interface theories to examine the ways earth-centered games diverge from Bernard Stiegler’s theory of epiphylogenesis and the co-constitutive evolution of man and tool, to propose a theory I have coined, supraphylogenesis, wherein, instead of an equal evolution, one surpassed the other; man surpasses the capabilities of technics, or technics and in these games their equivalent, the earth, exceed humanity (Wardrip-Fruin 2009; Stiegler 1998). This chapter seeks to trouble our understandings of video games that create a relationship between the player and the earth and what types of systems and mechanics these types of games prioritize. Are earth-based games only successful if the relationship that is cultivated falls into strict categories wherein the earth either exists as a tool for player (human) control, creativity, or knowledge, or as a form of capital? In this binary between man and machine, must earth always fall into the same category as machine? Finally, what of games that do not fall into this binary, and instead prioritize the earth and its autonomy?

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