NordMedia 2023: Panel on Video Games as Transnational Cultural Production

At the NordMedia Conference 2023, which took place in Bergen between August 16 and August 18, Jan Houška and Daniel Nielsen presented their research as panel contributions. The panel was joined by Josef Tichý, PhD student from Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic, as a third panellist. The panel moderator was Solip Park, doctoral researcher from Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. The panel theme was Video Games as Transnational Cultural Production, addressing localities and trans-localities within game production and labour, in-game content and representation and player economies in play to earn (P2E) games. The goal of the panel was to confront the imagined globality of the video game industry by highlighting local ways of game-making as perceived by international game workers, hidden local representations in games with globally recognisable settings, and the embedding of P2E games in local economies and their currency exchanges.

The first panel contribution by Jan Houška discussed how Eastern Europeans in Czech game companies perceive and adjust to local features of game-making, including proprietary game engines, long-term design visions, and the use of Czech language at the workplace. Jan argued that Eastern European game workers constantly try to find the balance between local features of Czech game companies and global developments, by for example working on personal projects in commercial game engines in their free time. The third contribution by Daniel Nielsen discussed how promises of play to earn in video game Axie Infinity attracted unemployed players in certain national contexts during covid-19 pandemic. Daniel argued that in Philippines or Venezuela, the instability of local currency together with favorable taxing of crypto-currency trading led to the form of crypto colonialism through economic exploitation of local Axie Infinity players.

The panel program:

  • Jan Houška: Local features in transnational labour: the perception of Czech game production by Eastern European expat and remote game workers
  • Josef Tichý: “The victims were apparently eaten”: reflections on Japanese aesthetics and society of the 1990s in the Resident Evil Trilogy (1996-1999)
  • Daniel Nielsen: The promise of “Play to Earn“: socio-economic implications in the periphery, the case of Axie Infinity

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