Procedural Futurism in Climate Change Videogames

Videogames enjoy a privileged relationship with futurity. No other media formats ‘have the same kind of relationship [with] pure, speculative desire that games do’ writes Cameron Kunzelman in Vice. Their affinity with science fiction technologies. Other arguments about the relationship between futurity and videogames argue that something more fundamental is at play, owing specifically to the kind of reversible, branching temporality engendered in videogames. I call this temporality procedural futurism, using a term modelled after Ian Bogost’s notion of procedural rhetoric, to highlight a kind of if/then thinking that is at work in videogames. For Bogost, the constraints and pathways of videogame procedures contain arguments about how the world is, or should, work.

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