"It is well that war is so terrible — otherwise we should grow too fond of it." -Robert E. Lee

During my college years, my videogaming habits were rather lacking. While I’m sure my professors appreciated this effort, it meant that I was out of the loop for what was happening. Abbott’s Brainy Gamer brought me into the fold of videogame discussion in an online space, and this means I’m still learning and catching up with what I missed during those four years in Podunk, Indiana.

My friend Josh keeps up on my blog and after a delicious lunch, we sat in my room and were discussing the problem presented by Leigh Alexander. He mentioned the project by artist Joseph DeLappe in the embedded video above. Performance art is a tricky enough gig as it is, but its presence in videogames is one that has me thinking.

It is obvious why DeLappe chose this particular FPS to broadcast his message when one realizes the U.S. military is funding it. It is also not surprising to see the gamers’ response to his broadcasting the dead soldiers’ names.

Perhaps my examination of Amanda Palmer’s Guitar Hero still hasn’t fully satisfied my urge to examine the song (thankfully I can listen to it over and over when the CD releases next month), but it seems that what is being tapped into here is an intriguing notion. With MMOs like Second Life, the possibility of expressing one’s self in an online space that has a set of rules, whether loose or rigid, is a performance I can well imagine we will be seeing more often. But how many will take this to a political level? Is it productive or does it just get in the way?

There are a plethora of YouTube videos concerning themselves with setting music to various games, such as World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, and whatever else have you. Entire web series using these games have seen life and are watched by guffawing fans. The human desire to create and express exists in many fashions, and this just seems one more field in which I can envision seeing some intriguing innovations in the coming years. But will we receive them well?

Maybe the next MMO I play will see me trying to add some queer activism via performance art (because I see that going over well…). Food for thought.


About Denis Farr

Writer interested in intersectionality, games, comics, nerdy stuff in general, theater, and how it all mixes. Graduate of Wabash College, with studies in Theater, English, German, and Gender Studies.
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