The PlayStation Dreamworld
October 2017, Polity
From mobile phones to consoles, tablets and PCs, we are now a generation of gamers. The PlayStation Dreamworld is – to borrow a phrase from Slavoj Žižek – the pervert's guide to videogames. It argues that we can only understand the world of videogames via Lacanian dream analysis. It also argues that the Left needs to work inside this dreamspace – a powerful arena for constructing our desires – or else the dreamworld will fall entirely into the hands of dominant and reactionary forces.
While cyberspace is increasingly dominated by corporate organization, gaming, at its most subversive, can nevertheless produce radical forms of enjoyment which threaten the capitalist norms that are created and endlessly repeated in our daily relationships with mobile phones, videogames, computers and other forms of technological entertainment. Far from being a book solely for dedicated gamers, this book dissects the structure of our relationships to all technological entertainment at a time when entertainment has become ubiquitous. We can no longer escape our fantasies but rather live inside their digital reality.
- Note on the Games
- Tutorial: The Pokémon Generation
- Level 1.
- From Farming Simulation to Dystopic Wasteland: Gaming and Capitalism
- Work and Play - Cultures of Distraction - Pastoral Dystopia, Apocalyptic Utopia – No Alternative
- Level 2.
- Dreamwork: Cyborgs on the Analyst’s Couch
- Japanese Dreams, American Texts – The Dreamworld - Repetitions and the Dromena – Immersion and Westworld
- Level 3.
- Retro Gaming: The Politics of Former and Future Pleasures
- 90s Rational Gaming – Virtual/Reality - Subject, Object, Enjoyment - Jouissance in the Arcades
- Bonus Features: How to be a Subversive Gamer
- Game Index
“The universe of video games and the action they involve us in render perfectly the illusions and antagonisms of our ideological predicament - the popularity of post-apocalyptic games tells it all. But perhaps even more important is the type of subjectivity a gamer has to adopt when immersed into a game: a mixture of extreme engagement and loss of reality, a universe of immortality where actions are indefinitely repeatable. So it is not that we can understand the impact of these games only through the analysis of our social reality - it's also the other way round: to understand how our societies work you have to know video games And Alfie Bown does this at such a high level that he produces an instant classic, a book that everyone who seeks to find a way in our confused social life will have to read. The Playstation Dreamworld is unputdownable, once you start reading it you will get addicted to it... as in a good video game!”
“If you ever asked yourself what Freud and Lacan would think if they had a chance to play video games, Alfie Bown gives you the answer. As a passionate gamer and a playful philosopher, he succeeds in showing not only why video-games matter but why they might carry subversive potential. This exciting psychoanalysis of video games shows why Pokémon GO and other games were only the beginning of a brave new world."
From mobile phones to consoles to tablet, we are now a generation of gamers. This book dissects the structure of our relationships to all forms of technological entertainment at a time when digital enjoyment has become ubiquitous.
Alfie Bown is Assistant Professor of Literature at HSMC, Hong Kong and co-editor of the Hong Kong Review of Books.