Exploits of Play: A Podcast about Games and Capitalism

It has been a treat to work with the wonderful Weird Economies project on a new 10-episode podcast, “The Exploits of Play,” which will be launched on 26 February 2024 with new episodes released weekly until May.

This series explores how games and gamification have moved from the margin to the centre of the weird capitalist economy.

It jumps beyond the commonplace and largely uninteresting observation that video games have become a major entertainment industry. It also takes for granted that tech and speculative capital have invested heavily in technologies of gamification as a means to gain and hook new users. Instead, it looks to the deeper sociological roots and effects of these trends and the way they are reshaping many spheres of life, from economics to sexuality. And it meditates on what this means for resistance… the good, the bad and the ugly.

Join us for episodes on the gamification of love, on the playfulness of conspiracism, on the myth of the “cheating other,” on the tyrannical rise and rule of game theory, on the appeal of the Hunger Games… and much more!

The podcast is based on research I’m doing currently for my next book The Player and the Played: Gamification, Financialization and (anti-)Fascism.

Ep01 – Conspiracy PlaysHugh Davies on the temptations of alternate reality

Ep02 – The Game at War with the WorldS. M. Amadae on the powers behind the prisoner’s dilemma

Ep03 – All Against AllTom Boland on our modern gladiators and the real world hunger games

Ep04 – Frontiers of PlayMary Flanagan on games, colonialism, and the playful imagination

Ep05 – The Cheating OtherGargi Bhattacharyya on how racial capitalism scams us twice

Ep06 – Gaming AuthorityThiago Falcẫo on exploitation and far-right politics in the games industry

Ep07 – “It Is What It Is”Sophie Lewis on Love Island, game shows, and the banality of capitalist eros

Ep08 – Toyed WithAlfie Brown on the gamification of affect and love’s digital futures

Ep09 – The Singularity BluffChristian Nagler on Silicon Valley’s dangerous dreams of cheating death

Ep10 – Our Moves and MovementsJay Jordan and Isa Fremeaux on the playfully subverting capitalism