Tin Hat Games - Producing, Funding, and Consuming an Independent Role-Playing Game in the Age of the Interactive Spectacle

The ambivalence of platform capitalism, in which the participation of knowledge workers to value creation is embedded in processes organized around creativity and self-activation, is visible in the transformations of cultural industries. Such transformations involve, for example, funding mechanisms, e.g. crowdfunding, and the way social relations are maintained through the quantification by reputation systems, that merge with the pre-existing forms of production and distribution, like professional networks and fairs.
To discuss this intertwinement, we focus on the case of the design, production, and distribution of an independent role-play game, #Urban Heroes, and on the work of the members of the association that produces it, Tin Hat Games. We studied them ethnographically, observing the game production, its financing through a crowdfunding platform, its presentation (and Tin Hat Games' self-presentation) on social media as well as physical gatherings, such as fairs. We will present the empirical results of this study, showing how the processes of production and distribution of the game through these different social contexts translate and perform different forms of being, having, and representing.
In conclusion, we will discuss how images-mediated social relations (the spectacle in Debord's definition) are at play in the process of recuperation of the critical stances of #UrbanHeroes and independent production. In particular, we will show how the discussed case could be framed in terms of gamified capitalism, in which the playful experience of subjects is entrenched in quantification devices that boost competition among the producers.

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Chiara Bassetti
Maurizio Teli
Annalisa Murgia
The Spectacle 2.0: Reading Debord in the Context of Digital Capitalism, edited by E. Armano, M. Briziarelli, pp. 167–182, 2017
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Chiara Bassetti, Maurizio Teli, Annalisa Murgia/titolo:Tin Hat Games - Producing, Funding, and Consuming an Independent Role-Playing Game in the Age of the Interactive Spectacle/titolo_volume:The Spectacle 2.0: Reading Debord in
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