Saturday, 27 September 2008

Videogames as metaphors---Democracy not yet

               Photo by: Martin Goldberg and/or Electronic Entertainment Museum (E2M)

In the early history of video games Ralph Baer inventor of the Magnavox Odyssey in collaboration with Midway during 1980 decided to test a prototype video game that had a camera which could get a picture of the player and display it in his/her avatar and at the high scores. They decided to test it in Chicago. Everything seemed excellent the first day but the second day one of the users decided to get a picture of his testicles. The project was abandoned.

This is the case of the democracy “not yet”. The colonisers in India had exactly the same political understanding of a democracy “not yet” for a state of –mostly- ‘illiterate’ people. This understanding of a linear historical time of the “not yet”, is quite different from the notion of “to come” in democracy. While ‘democracy to come’ is the notion of the becoming in a constant process of examination against doctrine and rigidity, the “not yet” is the tactics of the oppressors who deny the freedom to the oppressed.

By no means would someone like to draw a parallel between exercised politics in India with Midway’s action and demonise their decision to abandon the project. This scheme belongs to a much bigger frame where the risky steps in the videogame industry, could only be realised in a kind of scene like independent, alternative cinema.