It takes a digital humanist to make the argument I’m about to ask you to read.
In the past 15 years, the circumstances of the production of our digital world have continued to be largely hidden. Only recently—I’d say the death of Steve Jobs might be a turning point—has more attention been paid to the way our PCs, consoles, tablets, and smart phones are produced. High profile accidents and mass suicides (and the threat of more) at Foxconn factories, where iPads and Xboxes are made, have been headline news. The radio show This American Life recently featured a look inside a factory that manufactures iPhones. And in September 2011, the radical game studio Molleindustria even released Phone Story, a meta-game for the iPhone about how iPhones are made. Apple promptly banned the game from the iTunes App Store, in part due to its depiction of the abuse of children—children who under the watchful eyes of armed militias in the Congo mine the coltan that goes into the iPhone.
Rather than responding just to the passage I quoted above, please read the whole thing, and consider our intellectual study of video games, and any frustrations we might have with the learning technology, as a first-world problem. (In other words, even when our games frustrate or bore us, or the internet connection we’re supposed to use in order to study games is unreliable, our experiences presume access to a level of health and safety, reliable power, access to educated and trustworthy technical support people, and intellectual and personal freedoms that few societies in the world can match.
Read and engage with all of Sample’s (brief) argument. You’ll find a direct reference to material we’ve studied and discussed in this class, and a cutting critique of a fundamental argument presented by that author. In addition to your response to that specific detail, I’m also interested in hearing your overall response.