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The Gamification of War, and The Military Edutainment Complex. A study of the reformation of warfare and the organisation of play post-September 11th 2001

WEBLEY, Stephen (2014) The Gamification of War, and The Military Edutainment Complex. A study of the reformation of warfare and the organisation of play post-September 11th 2001. In: Standing Conference for Organisational Symbolism, 11-14 July, Utrecht.

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Abstract or description

"All wars are things of the same nature ... War is the continuation of Politik by other means."
Vom Kriege (1832) Carl Von Clausewitz
Computer games demonstrate a close relationship between the capability for waging war and the prosecution of the act itself. 'Tennis for Two' (1958) and 'Space War' (1962), were products of a unity of military, security, and civil institutions that originated out of the military necessities of World War II - the Military Industrial Complex [MIC]. The organising potential of games initiated the policy-making of nuclear brinkmanship in the Cold War, and provided the artificial intelligence needed for autonomous nuclear missiles (Crogan 2011). In conflicts post-WWII these logics and technics are utilised to plan for, simulate, and prosecute 'Nintendo Warfare,' and justify 'Virtuous War.' (Der Derian 2009).
The resulting Gamification appears to be a panacea to the conundrums of warfare post-September 11th 2001 (Singer 2009). From the strategy of 'Shock and Awe', counter insurgency operations and drone warfare, through commercial of-the-shelf military games, to the next generation of cyber technologies, game logics are employed. Whilst appearing as a revolution to policy makers, the technics and logics of this Revolution in Military Affairs belies the fact that since 1992, 99.15% of recorded wartime casualties have been civilians (PeaceAware.com 2013). Hence, we are left with an unreliable perspective of the organizing potential of the Gamification of war. Approached head-on, the MIC appears conspiratorial in nature and mythic in its size and scope, resulting in either the fetishistic disavowal of its existence, or its perpetual redefining in academic works, and games and the games industry as disparate from the MIC. (Der Derian 2001, Lenoir & Lowood 2003).
Whilst the study of war has had a long affinity with games, the analysis of the organising potential of play has been unable to bridge the gap between the dyadic of Clausewitzian philosophy (1832) and Jominian doctrine (1862). This gap coalesces in an inability to differentiate the capacity for war from the act, an inability to analyse the logics of war from within war itself, obfuscating attempts to evaluate the motivations, fantasies, and desires that support the reality of war (Masco 2013). Engaging Huizinga's (1938) 'all play means something' and reading the philosophy of Clausewitz through the optic of Lacanian structuralism, this paper situates the societal function of the MIC accounting for its ability to organise the enjoyment of its commodities within 'post-ideological' societies. Utilising a virtual world ethnographic research methodology this study investigates the organising potential of Gamification, its ideological affects, and its relation with the MIC of post-modernity. The study concludes that resituating the MIC bridges the inherent gap between the study of war and the Symbolic organisation of enjoyment. Reading Clausewitz through Lacan enables the Gamification of the MIC and warfare to be witnessed as the extension of Politik in our contemporary context - as an inchoate aggregate of politics and policy - and that anxiety over the ethics of post-modern warfare has to be inscribed in the play instinct and the fetishistic disavowal of the MICs organisation of enjoyment, revealing insights into beliefs and practices that underpin society that we refuse to acknowledge, but organise or our values and actions

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: For access to the PowerPoint slides please contact STORE@staffs.ac.uk
Faculty: School of Computing and Digital Technologies > Games and Visual Effects
Event Title: Standing Conference for Organisational Symbolism
Event Location: Utrecht
Event Dates: 11-14 July
Depositing User: Stephen WEBLEY
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2019 08:36
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2019 08:36
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/5801

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