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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathCollective Bodies
Tekken Torture Tournament (Stern, Eddo), 1999Cockfight Arena (Stern, Eddo), 2001Sheik Attack (Stern, Eddo), 2000
Vietnam Romance (Stern, Eddo), 2003

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communal worlds as by technology. Eddo Stern’s «A Touch of the Medieval: Narrative, Magic and Computer Technology in Massively Multiplayer Computer Role-Playing Games» suggests how medieval narratives of magic converge computer constructed powers with wishful thinking. Stern uses games that are designed and programmed in collaboration with C-Level, a Los Angeles collective to critique gaming. Stern and C-Level’s strategy takes two tacks: 1-emphasizing or even exaggerating the players’ space, for instance by substituting the computer casing with a ‹case mod› or elaborate miniature world and 2-reductio ad absurdum of gaming tropes and premises. In «Tekken Torture Tournament», the on-screen contest is supplemented by electric shock to the player whenever his or her character is struck or defeated; thus the realism of pain is inflicted to on-screen acts otherwise without penalty or consequence. In «Cockfight Arena» gamers are elaborately costumed ‹cocks› whose moves in physical space are mimicked in comparatively pale fashion by on-screen chickens. It is the outrageous «Wako Resurrection» that displaces first-person shooters from, for instance, the Afghanistan and Iraq of


«America’s Army» (a U.S. Army recruiting MMORPG) to the disastrous Texas shoot out between the FBI and evangelist/survivalist David Koresh. The player’s avatar (both in the form of a mask interface and one or many onscreen figures seen from the back) is Koresh with just ten minutes to live, collecting magical powers from his contact with Bibles. Koresh uses magic spells to convert FBI agents into followers before his dramatic death and resurrection to begin the showdown again. Stern’s critique of gaming fixation on war and mayhem finds another channel in «Sheik Attack» (2000), a movie made entirely from a game engine and existing game elements. Game events clearly invoke Israeli history, both in the sweetly sung folk songs of the kibbutz period and scenes which show characters in Middle Eastern dressed being hunted and gunned down by Israeli operatives. Stern’s more recent «Vietnam Romance» (2003) incorporates a collective memory of the American military presence in Vietnam degraded into first-person shooter animations. Thus, games represent a residue of past militaristic and colonial adventures that serve contemporary contest. I am reminded of the incessant repetition of the American

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