Dead-in-Iraq: The Spatial Politics of Game Art Activism and the In-Game Protest
Online games offer newly emergent contexts for negotiating notions of public order and civic propriety in contemporary interactive communication environments. Complex regimes of governance and self-governance, complete with seemingly ritualizedpractices for gamer "netiquette" and other forms ofacceptable interactive player behavior, are continually evolving in these "synthetic worlds" (Castronova, 2005), even in the most rudimentary networked multiplayer games. But what happens when these social codes are wilfully transgressed? More to the point, is it possible to imagine genuinely democratic participatory cultures in these synthetic worlds, to the extent ofaccommodating alterity, protest, and dissent? As a form of digital game art activism and in-game protest, Dead-in-Iraq is the ludic equivalent of an online pacifist act of civil disobedience; and it serves as an expanded case study in this chapter to consider how issues of social, political, and artistic rights and responsibilities are spatialized in networked games.