In the Drone-Space: Surveillance, Spatial Processing, and the Videogame as Architectural Problem

  • Nathaniel ZetterEmail author


This chapter addresses military surveillance drones as both a topic and a technological apparatus within videogames. I argue that their representation in the “military strategy” videogame genre makes visible these games’ fundamental mode of spatial processing: the way in which their interfaces construct the game-world from the perspective of a surveillance drone. If we address videogames as architectural problems—material constructions of spatial relations that are enmeshed in wider social and political structures—I argue that we can observe their specific mode of processing space through surveillance technology and the attendant politics of their cultural form. By embedding military surveillance technology in their understanding of space, I argue that these videogames make visible the form of surveillance that Deleuze took to be central to “control”: a free-floating visual perspective that parallels the distributed network form in its occupation of an interconnected system of spaces, rather than the occupation of any one point of observation.



I am grateful to Trisha Banerjee and Hunter Dukes for their insightful comments on drafts of this chapter; the research period that formed it was generously supported by Peterhouse, University of Cambridge.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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