Tactical Engagement through Gaming and Narrowcasting

  • Dale Hudson
  • Patricia R. Zimmermann


Lev Manovich explains that interaction is an obvious function of the computer that should not be confused with precomputer audience interaction in the form of reading audiovisual information and interpreting meaning.1 Digital media, then, functions within closed systems, not outside them. This chapter examines two types of interaction that are potentially not overdetermined by corporate and state surveillance of data gathering. Here, interaction functions as critical or tactial engagement. We analyze digital media that forwards the ideals of tactical media that Rita Raley has described that engage in strategic micropolitics rather than grand revolutions.2 We examine digital media projects that include counter-gaming, machinima (3D animation shot in a game engine), video performances, and documentaries that appeal to affective and subjective forms of knowledge and reject assumptions that objectivity and evidence are the only valid forms. Identities are not fixed but performed, that is, contingent upon politics rather than place. We also probe narrowcasting, which reconfigures the push of broadcasting on commercial networks in the direction of P2P models, somewhat like the “spreadability” described by Henry Jenkins.3 Given restrictions on both print and online access to journal articles, Katherine Hayles argues that academic work largely has “a negligible audience and a nugatory communicative function.”4


Video Game Saudi Arabia Digital Medium Second Life Game Engine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media (Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT Press, 2001): 55–56.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rita Raley, Tactical Media (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2009).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green, Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture (New York: New York University Press, 2013).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    N. Katherine Hayles, How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2012): 3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ulises Ali Mejias, Off the Network: Disrupting the Digital World (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2013): 3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 7.
    Ibid., 128. He cites Matteo Pasquinelli, Animal Spirits: A Bestiary of the Commons (Rotterdam: NAi, 2009): 72–73.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Louisa Stein, “Online Roundtable on Spreadable Media by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green with participants Paul Booth, Kristina Busse, Melissa Click, Sam Ford, Henry Jenkins, Xiaochang Li, and Sharon Ross,” Cinema Journal 53.3 (Spring 2014): 153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 9.
    See Moradewun Adejunmobi, “Evolving Nollywood Templates for Minor Transnational Film,” Black Camera 5.2 (Spring 2014): 74–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 11.
    Patrick Jagoda, “Gamification and Other Forms of Play,” boundary 2 40.2 (2013): 114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 12.
    Alexander R. Galloway, Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2006): 107.Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    See Mark Tribe and Reena Jana, New Media Art (Köln: Taschen, 2007): 44–45.Google Scholar
  12. 20.
    Helga Tawil-Souri, “The Political Battlefield of Pro-Arab Video Games on Palestinian Screens,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 27.3 (2007): 535.Google Scholar
  13. 26.
    David Machin and Usama Suleiman, “Arab and American Computer War Games: The Influence of a Global Technology on Discourse,” Critical Discourse Studies 3.1 (April 2006): 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 30.
    Jack Shaheen, Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, updated edition (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2009).Google Scholar
  15. 35.
    Gabriele Ferri. “Satire, Propaganda, Play, Storytelling. Notes on Critical Interactive Digital Narratives,” Interactive Storytelling 8230 (2013): 175.Google Scholar
  16. 36.
    Gabriele Ferri, “Rhetorics, Simulations and Games: The Ludic and Satirical Discourse of Molleindustria,” International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations 5.1 (2013): 32–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 43.
    See Lina Khatib, “The Visual Rush of the Arab Spring,” Images Politics in the Middle East: The Role of the Visual in Political Struggle (London: I. B. Tauris, 2012): 117–167.Google Scholar
  18. 44.
    Tarik Ahmed Elswwei, “A Revolution of the Imagination,” International Journal of Communication 5 (2011): 1197, 1198.Google Scholar
  19. 45.
    Lila Abu-Lughod, Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).Google Scholar
  20. 48.
    Tarik Ahmed Elswwei, “A Revolution of the Imagination,” International Journal of Communication 5 (2011): 1200.Google Scholar
  21. 53.
    Eric Jensen, “Mediating Social Change in Authoritarian and Democratic States: Irony, Hybridity, and Corporate Censorship,” in Culture and Social Change: Transforming Society Through the Power of Ideas, ed. Brady Wagoner, Eric Jensen, Julian A. Oldmeadow (Charlotte: Information Age Publishing, 2012): 219.Google Scholar
  22. 56.
    For an analysis of drifting and other youth-culture practices, see Pascal Menoret, Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Road Revolt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 61.
    Mehdi Semati, “The Geopolitics of Parazit, the Iranian Televisual Sphere, and the Global Infrastructure of Political Humor,” Popular Communication 10.1–2 (January 2012): 120, 121.Google Scholar
  24. 62.
    Geoffrey Baym, “The Daily Show: Discursive Integration and the Reinvention of Political Journalism,” Political Communication 22 (2005): 273.Google Scholar
  25. 66.
    See Robert Vitalis, America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier (London and New York: Verso, 2009): 88–120.Google Scholar
  26. 70.
    Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Freedom: Crossing Press, 1984): 110–114.Google Scholar
  27. 71.
    Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York and London: Routledge, 1990).Google Scholar
  28. 74.
    Fulvio Irace, “Dubai: Second Life City,” Abitare 473 (June 2007): 93–103.Google Scholar
  29. 75.
    Yasser Elsheshtawy, Dubai: Behind an Urban Spectacle (London and New York: Routledge, 2010): 249. GCC states represent 12 percent of the Arab population but 55 percent of its economy (29).Google Scholar
  30. 80.
    Sarah Kanouse, “Transmissions between Memory and Amnesia: The Radio Memorial in a New Media Age,” Leonardo 44.3 (2011): 202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 91.
    Supply-chain studies includes books tracking commodities such as Robert J. Foster, Coca-globalization: Following Soft Drinks from New York to New Guinea (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and Orla Ryan, Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa (London: Zed Books, 2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 92.
    For a more nuanced analysis of Chinese migrant women in textiles, see Leslie T. Chang, Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China (New York: Spiegel and Grau, 2009).Google Scholar
  33. 94.
    Ravi Sundaram, Pirate Modernity: Delhi’s Media Urbanism (London and New York: Routledge, 2010): 112.Google Scholar
  34. 95.
    Brian Larkin, “Degraded Images, Distorted Sounds: Nigerian Video and the Infrastructure of Piracy,” Public Culture 16.2 (spring 2004): 309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 96.
    Homi Bhabha, “Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse,” Location of Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1995): 85–92.Google Scholar
  36. 97.
    Mejias, Off the Network, 90–91; Jussi Parikka, Digital Contagions: A Media Archaeology of Computer Viruses, (New York: Peter Lang, 2007): 5.Google Scholar
  37. 100.
    See Dale Hudson, “Horrors of Anthropocentrism: ‘Improved Animals’ on the Islands of Dr. Moreau,” in Transnational Horror across Visual Media: Fragmented Bodies, ed. Dana Och and Kirsten Strayer (London and New York: Routledge, 2013): 209–227.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dale Hudson and Patricia R. Zimmermann 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale Hudson
  • Patricia R. Zimmermann

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations