Playtest as an Allegory for Liquid Modernity
This chapter analyses the episode »Playtest«, one self-evidently concerned with video games; aside from the overt use of games to drive the narrative arc of the story, the episode contains numerous references to games, both subtle and explicit. Central to our interpretation of this episode is the gamification of society and the wider cultural logic of Liquid Modernity. We first provide a brief summary of Playtest before demonstrating that the episode functions as an allegory of liquid modernity, one which can be further contextualised through the consideration of life in an increasingly gamified world. Furthermore, given the obvious significance of games in Playtest, this work will examine the evolving role of video games in facilitating and promoting contemporary practices related to the economic, social, and cultural value systems of liquid modernity. Playtest is not simply a body horror tale, it is a means of understanding contemporary socio-economic realities and a possible future which awaits a compliant and unquestioning population. More significantly, however, the episode highlights the socio-cultural and economic importance of digital games in the condition of liquid modernity. As a consequence, we can see that contemporary practices surrounding the consumption of digital games offer an avenue through which we can confront, and overcome, manufactured narratives.