NOSTALGIA AND THE BACKLOG: /R/PATIENTGAMERS AND THE TRANSACTIONAL NATURE OF LEISURE
AbstractThis paper uses the findings of an investigation into the /r/patientgamers subreddit to account for the ways that our leisure time and our play have been assimilated by the logics of neoliberal, late capitalism. I do this by tracing classed experiences of slowness as experienced by video game players. The figure of the patientgamer was selected not just because of their protracted approach to video game consumption, but because the grows out of a frustration with the financial and temporal costs to access leisure. Through Foucauldian discourse analysis, two major themes were detected across a number of posts which traced how many players tried, and often failed, to slow down their lives in restful ways through their play and the conversations that emerged from the impulse to treat their leisure time as work. Specifically, users’ nostalgia for their childhoods and their anxieties around possessing a video game backlog are both emblematic of the way that video game play has been made legible to capitalist logics such that any distinction between labour and leisure becomes moot and attempt to lift from the patientgamer ethos some potential ways that the work of play may be reframed to undercut logics of efficiency and productivity. The case study of /r/patientgamers holds relevance not just for the study of games and/as culture, but of how technocapitalism instrumentalizes all leisure and the consequences felt by those who try to slow their rhythms of consumption but do so without proper attention to issues of class and power.
How to Cite
Scully-Blaker, R. (2021). NOSTALGIA AND THE BACKLOG: /R/PATIENTGAMERS AND THE TRANSACTIONAL NATURE OF LEISURE. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12042