Alenda Chang and Playing Nature Featured in ASLE

07 Oct, 2020

Alenda Chang and Playing Nature Featured in ASLE

Alenda Chang's first book, Playing Nature: Ecology in Video Games, is featured in ASLE! In this article, she highlights some of the most important takeaways from her research. This book examines the perennially murky space between nature and technology.

From the article:

Let me give just two examples of how games shape ecological perception and possibility. Firstly, my chapter on entropy takes as its major case study the genre (if it can be called that) of farm or agriculture games, popularized by Zynga’s FarmVille in the late 2000s. My critique of this neo-pastoral mode centered on its obscuring of human and nonhuman labor and grew directly out of work that received ASLE’s graduate student scholarly paper award in 2011, subsequently published in ISLE. (I have always treasured this early affirmation of what at the time seemed like a quirky side gig; ASLE makes a difference!). And secondly, last year, in pre-COVID times, I participated on a panel of parents for Career Day at my son’s elementary school. To explain what it is I do, I asked my audience of 4th-6th graders, first, whether they played games (a resounding yes!), second, if there was “nature” in the games they played (still mostly yes!), and then, finally, what they were typically doing to it while playing (destroying it! blasting it! blowing it up!). I rest my case.

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