24 Pages

Video games and agency within neoliberalism and participatory culture

ByMuriel Daniel, Crawford Garry

Interactivity is a noun often associated with video games. Video games have often been celebrated for being a medium that offers choices for those who play them, but we would suggest that in this attribute has become even more central and explicit in certain games and genres; and there are several titles that explicitly explore the idea of player agency. This chapter explores key aspects of player agency in video games, and in doing so, also argues that video games provide an important lens for considering the contemporary nature of agency in a social context of neoliberal political rationalities and ideas of a participatory culture. It suggests that the medium of video games exposes different forms and examples of agency, which allows us the opportunity to examine this important notion and its meaning within video game practices and wider culture. The chapter also explores the rhetorical and practical tendencies that surround agency in video game culture.