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The Toronto Indies: Some Assemblage Required

Joseph, Daniel (2012) The Toronto Indies: Some Assemblage Required. Loading... The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association, 7 (11). pp. 92-105.


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This article seeks to develop an approach to independent video game production through a synthesis of recent work in assemblage theory and critical political economy. As an alternative to the (still important and useful) Dyer-Witheford & de Peuter's immaterial-labour oriented study in Games of Empire (2009), I propose studying videogames through their historically and materially specific context, thinking about videogame development communities as assemblages (DeLanda, 2006). The assemblage of videogame production should not be conceptualized as an object over determined by global capital's immanence towards new forms of exploitation. Rather it is negotiating its way through capital, state bureaucracies, aesthetics, ad hoc decision making and the flows of bodies through urban spaces. Using interviews and data collected concerning the development of Toronto made iPad and iPhone game Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, I show how work of videogame production is both immaterial and expressive, as much as it is firmly grounded in existing material relationships to a panoply of objects. This paper then has two goals: 1) to illustrate an ontology and method of political economy and 2) contribute to the growing scholarship on indie games in the field of Game Studies.

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