A Metagaming manifesto by Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux

Inspired by What Should We Do With Our Brain? by Catherine Malabou



1.

The greatest trick the videogame industry ever pulled was convincing the world that videogames were games in the first place.

2.

But videogames aren’t games—they’re tools, toys, instruments, equipment, mechanisms, and media for making metagames!

3.

And metagames are the games we make in, on, around, through, before, during, after, and between videogames.

4.

From the simple decision to press start or purchase a game in the first place to the most complex house rules and competitive tournament trends, metagames are the only kinds of games we play.

5.

But because the rules of the metagame are often conflated with the mechanics of the videogame, we make our own games but we do not know we make them.

6.

A standard metagame—the metagame we’re playing when we don’t think we’re playing a metagame—has become the ideological avatar of play.

7.

Playing against this avatar we must become conscious of the fact that that
all videogames can be played,
all videogames can be gamed,
all videogames can be bugged,
all videogames can be glitched,
all videogames can be crashed,
all videogames can be hacked,
all videogames can be modded,
all videogames can be mapped,
all videogames can be remade,
all videogames can be demade,
all videogames can be fan gamed,
all videogames can be let's played,
all videogames can be routed,
all videogames can be raced,
all videogames can be marathoned,
all videogames can be segmented,
all videogames can be speedran,
all videogames can be tool-assisted,
all videogames can be researched,
all videogames can be reverse engineered,
all videogames can be code injected,
all videogames can be bootstrapped,
all videogames can be dualboxed,
all videogames can be multiboxed,
all videogames can be multiplayer,
all videogames can be competitive,
all videgoames can be esports,
all videogames can be sports,
all videogames can be streamed,
all videogames can be spectated,
all videogames can be commentated,
all videogames can be contaminated,
all videogames can be farmed,
all videogames can be gambled,
all videogames can be financialized,
all videogames can be speculated,
all videogames can be speculative,
all videogames can be fictitious,
all videogames can be narrative,
all videogames can be narrated,
all videogames can be rhetorical,
all videogames can be representational,
all videogames can be fanfic'd,
all videogames can be cosplayed,
all videogames can be queered,
all videogames can be self care,
all videogames can be biographical,
all videogames can be psychological,
all videogames can be enabling,
all videogames can be disabling,
all videogames can be customized,
all videogames can be alt ctrl'd,
all videogames can be abstract,
all videogames can be difficult,
all videogames can be formal,
all videogames can be frustrating,
all videogames can be expressive,
all videogames can be effortless,
all videogames can be aesthetic,
all videogames can be poetic,
all videogames can be art,
all videogames can be trash,
all videogames can be boring,
all videogmaes can be banal,
all videogames can be forgotten,
all videogames can be unplayed,
all videogames can be scrapped,
all videogmaes can be patched,
all videogames can be broken,
all videogmaes can be repaired,
all videogames can be recovered,
all videogmaes can be archived,
all videogames can be curated,
all videogmaes can be emulated,
all videogames can be historical,
all videogames can be material,
all videogames can be physical,
all videogames can be metaphysical,
all videogames can be critical,
all videogames can be political,
all videogames can be escapist,
all videogames can be precarious,
all videogames can be work,
all videogames can be play,
all videogames can be frustrating,
all videogames can be fun,
all videogames can be games.

8.

Knowing this, what should we do so that the radical plasticity of play does not simply align with the spirit of capitalism?

9.

What should we do with our games?