Currently occupying my time:

To the Distant Observer, by Noel Burch – his study of Japanese cinema and its discursive peculiarities; historicizing the elaboration of a cinema returns it to the collection of media-practices.

Final Fantasy IX – SquareSoft’s games are preoccupied with questions of racial and national origins, of complicity and aftermaths, of the question of the “right” race.

Warcraft III – meanwhile, the Anglo-American fantasy-schema’s preoccupation of race as a fixed category, as a moral category, and as destiny is only somewhat problematized in this RTS game. The insight in Kacper Polbocki’s paper on Sid Meier’s Civilization applies here – that strategic and ‘civilization’-building simulations confirm the essentializing fictions of “histories of civilization” by making the discontinuities between language, state, nation, culture, religion, and practice invisible. (Of course, it’s a short-hand, but it’s a short-hand that has excused too much.) Still, the gameplay is excellent, and the drama of the orcs’ search for redemption is moving in its way.

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