Tech in the News: Digital Distractions: Animal Crossing: Picket Camp

Ian Bogost

Posted December 7, 2017

External Article: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Ian Bogost, a professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology, was quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education December 7, article, “Digital Distractions: Animal Crossing: Picket Camp.” The School of Literature, Media, and Communication is part of the Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

Excerpt:

Fans of mobile game systems like the Nintendo 3DS have long been waiting to see similar experiences emerge on mobile phones, and Nintendo’s recent forays into the mobile app world continue to raise hopes even as the leap from expensive console game to “free to play” models usually falls flat. However, there’s one title just released that I’ve been waiting for years to see make the leap: Animal Crossing. Animal Crossing, for the uninitiated, is a somewhat disturbing simulation that invites the player to become mayor of a town, continually going into debt in the search of larger and larger houses while serving as errand-runner and occasional mediator for a town of animal residents. Ian Bogost (Georgia Tech) observed that previous titles in this series have an unresolved tension between the grind for material goods and the appreciation of a virtual natural world: “On the one hand, a rhetoric of affluenza encourages the player toward excess, toward more goods and a larger house in which to store them. In this context, the menial everyday tasks of gardening, fishing, and doing errands for the animals become an occupation, the necessary but undesirable frenzy of work necessary to sustain that lifestyle. On the other hand, a rhetoric of pastoralism encourages the player to tend the land, appreciate the rolling hills and bubbling waterfalls, and to socialize with others before returning to a modest homestead to retire.”

For the full article, visit The Chronical Higher Education website.