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Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game: Internet Games, Social Inequality and Racist Talk as Griefing

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Duration: 1:06:34 | Added: 20 Jul 2010
This talk recaps the history of racist griefing online and link the current crisis in racial discourse in the US with this practice, exploring the implications for digital games as a transnational public sphere.

Games are a radically transnational medium: as Martin Lister writes in New Media: An Introduction, 'even before Pokemon, the videogame was perhaps the most thoroughly transnational form of popular culture, both as an industry (with Sony, Sega and Nintendo as the key players) but also at the level of content - the characters and narratives of many videogames are evidence of relays of influence between America and Japan.' Internet gameplay is becoming more socially and culturally diverse and ubiquitous than ever before. Yet at the same time, the culture of griefing or pranking that dominates these games and other forms of networked social life such as Second Life and Chatroulette takes increasingly racist and racialized forms. The Patriotic Niggas, a group of griefers who delight in 'breaking' Second Life and Habbo Hotel by filling public space with garbage, are assuredly not African American, but resort to offensive racist languages as the shortest route to their goal: the disruption of online community and social life. This talk will recap the history of racist griefing online and link the current crisis in racial discourse in the US with this practice, exploring the implications for digital games as a transnational public sphere.

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