Decision, Forced Choice and Propaganda

A historical, critical look at the famous videogame franchise BioShock.


A historical, critical look at the famous videogame franchise BioShock, understanding it through philosophical, ideological and computational interpretations of systems, decisions and 'propaganda'.


One interesting aspect of the New Materialism is the use of digital cultural artifacts such as video games as things to think with philosophically. A good example of this is Bioshock: Decision, Forced Choice and Propaganda by Robert Jackson. In this short book Jackson takes the game franchise Bioshock as a means with which to think about questions of choice, causality and decision both within and outwith the playing of such a game. ~ Charlie Gere, Oxford University Press Journals: Years Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, vol 23, no 1, 2015

Robert Jackson avoids the dilettantism that normally accompanies studies of the aesthetic and cultural accomplishment of videogames, and instead offers a thoroughgoing critique of the ideology of decision in contemporary society: it is not a capacity of the individual, but of systems and collectives. ~ Ian Bogost: Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology., Author of Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames and How To Do Things with Videogames

Don't be mistaken to think this is a book about a computer game franchise. It is about the world of forces and forced choice, of decision over choice and the complex nested structurations that define our contemporary political moment. It shows how any question of the so-called self is by necessity already decided outside it. Decisions are automated, algorithmic and systemic. A constant cascade of decisions. Robert Jackson's extremely smart book elaborates this moment through BioShock in a provocative way. ~ Jussi Parikka: Reader in Media & Design, at University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art., Author of Digital Contagions: A Media Archaeology of Computer Viruses, Insect Media and What is Media Archaeology?

Robert Jackson
Robert Jackson Robert Jackson is an arts writer and PhD student at Lancaster University studying Computer Science, systems, aesthetics and Continental Phil...
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