Every Day the Same Dream (Molleindustri 2009) is a game that lets the player live the life of a man who works at a corporate office. The player experiences – as the title of the game indicates – more or less the same day every day. However, an old lady in the elevator hints to the player that there are five steps to become a new person; it is possible to break this cycle. The five steps are: 1) going to a cemetery with a homeless, 2) going to see a cow, 3) catching a leaf, 4) getting fired 5) commit suicide. Once all five task are complete the world has changed, the player goes to work and finds the office empty; proceeding to where the player committed his/r suicide to see a colleague do the same. Here the game completes full circle. Is this a critique of the capitalist system? I will in this essay argue that the game despite its critique of the capitalist system relies on the players being a part of it and thereby fail in not reproducing the interpellation of society.
Molleindustri’s game is limited in size and as indicated on the webside produced within limited time. The game simulates a well-known critique of the capitalist system: the worker becoming a robot who is repeating the same task every day. In other words, the worker is interpellated by the system (Garite 2003). The Algerian philosopher Louis Althuser (1918-1990) introduces the term interpellation: the act where the subject is at once formed and recognizes its status as a subject. However, this forming of the subject happens before we are born: “there is never a time, when an individual can exist outside of ideology” (Garite 2003). This impossibility can be explained with an ‘always already’: the worker (or the player) is always already a subject in capitalist society – the system that created gaming in the first place. The game takes this to its advantage. There is no introduction to the game besides the information that the player navigates with arrows and spacebar; the game is solely relying on the player’s intuition. However, the games offers small hints (the old lady telling you about five steps) of how to complete the game. The game is actually interpellating the player: it gives the player the freedom to move around expecting the player to subject itself to the logic of the game. “The avatar’s actions are determined by the player to the same extent that the player’s actions are themselves determined by the program” (Garite 2003). The old lady interpellates the player, recognizing him/her as a subject, but also promising a change if they complete the five tasks. This way the game has adopted the system which it criticizes. By not explicitly telling the player what is expected by him/her but only nudging them toward the goal the game imitates the interpellation of capitalism.
The game “Every Day the Same Dream” is a small game that offers a story which criticizes the capitalist system. However, as this short essay has indicated, the game itself uses the strategy of interpellation to let the player voluntarily follow the designed path to complete the game.
Garite, Matt. “The Ideology of Interactivity (or Video Games and Taylorization of Leisure).” Level Up Conference Proceedings, Utrecht: University of Utrecht, November, 2003.
Molleindustria Every Day the Same Dream. 2009