Game of Watchcraft

Game of Watchcraft (GoW) is satirical, defined by Northrop Frye as “militant irony: its moral norms are relatively clear, and it assumes standards against which the grotesque and absurd are measured” (1957, p.223). The game parodies timeless, addictive ludic practices, with a redesign of a modern MMORPG game in the form of a 1980’s LCD ‘Game and Watch’ handheld (the latter a product known for its short gameplay and simplified design). This highlights how these two types of games, developed 25 years apart, both limit the player to mindless, repetitive ‘grinding’ of content in order to achieve goals and gather rewards, regardless of the meticulous design-skin that may house the game to disguise this intent. The commentary is clear: this mechanic can dehumanise its players, treating them as rats in their own Skinner Box.

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