When we ask our­selves whether the Xbox One or PS4 ver­sion of Call of Duty is bet­ter, we’re choos­ing not to ask our­selves why we’re even still play­ing a game like Call of Duty long after the series stopped try­ing to be cul­tur­al­ly or polit­i­cal­ly rel­e­vant. When we focus on the amount of pix­els that are being used to ren­der Lara Croft, we over­look the implic­it creepi­ness of the game industry’s andro­cen­tric obses­sion with cre­at­ing such an “obses­sive­ly detailed” ver­sion of some­one like Lara Croft in the first place. And if we con­tin­ue to nit­pick over just how “obses­sive­ly detailed” this young woman’s vir­tu­al body is, we for­get that the real con­tro­ver­sy of the new Tomb Raider came from its uncom­fort­able par­tic­i­pa­tion in rape cul­ture. To bor­row a quote from Evge­ny Moro­zov, work like this refus­es “to eval­u­ate solu­tions to prob­lems based on cri­te­ria oth­er than efficiency.”

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Kars Alfrink

Kars is a designer, researcher and educator focused on emerging technologies, social progress and the built environment.