A Conversation With A Strawman About Agency

“Aha,” say the detractors of Internal Agency in Games. “But in reality you are still physically about to do all those things you said above! The only thing stopping you are the social constraints of a woman stripping naked in a home improvement store to build an empire! I could not do that within the gamespace!”

Great point, strawman. Except here is where you are wrong: mods. Mods exist and they are so great. If you really want to operate outside the laws of the gamespace, you can totally do it if you put in the effort. Just like how if I really wanted to start my nude DIY-empire, I could, but it would be tough and unpleasant. Like figuring out how to mod Fallout 4 so that Nick Valentine will kiss me.”

“But what if I don’t have a computer?” The strawmen continue to berate me. “What then? I can’t mod a PS4!”

“So buy a computer and learn how to code. You have that choice.”

“But that’s not a choice within the game! AHA!”

“Again, I call bunk. It’s increasingly difficult to say where a gamespace ends and where it begins. We’re pushing the pervasive qualities of the magic circle all the time, and arguably, a play-experience only exists in your head anyway. Without your brain filling in the gaps, you’re just mindlessly clicking a series of super tiny coloured dots in a certain order.”

“So making meaning out of play is like that Seurat painting.

"Just like that Seurat painting."

[back to that blog post]