1. Virtual Pet Manifesto

A videogame is a virtual pet. You take care of something and make sure it doesn't die, you monitor their happiness so they don't become bruised and sluggish like a beat-up doomguy. Non-personified videogames like Sim City are lichen cultures, jellyfish. Do you complete the levels? Yes, some kind of praxis is also a need in life, like eating and urination. Sky Kid must drop bombs on all the buildings - this is a capability manifested in his body, like original sin, not so much a drive towards evil as an inescapable affordance for it. We view him in a spirit of sympathy and gentleness, we suppress our tears and smile bravely and encouragingly as he floats chirping through the sky. Rather than loving or hating commercial culture we view it with the compassion reserved for those without the self-sufficiency of making even bad decisions. A spirit-strengthening ethic of charity. And the cruelty that comes with charity, or with the power to withhold it, that faint half-second of exasperation. What? Jump through the blocks? Well... If you must. Well... Just this one level. And then pulling out the power cord before it's through. Poor things!! Well we can try again tomorrow, if I have the time. A videogame is a virtual pet with the same ominous prospects that those incur. Everyone I knew buried their tamagotchis in sock drawers, hid them in a closet til they stopped beeping, "accidentally" put them in the washing machine. To "love" commercial culture can be to maim yourself by internalising its limitations, to "hate" it can mean severing yourself from your own history of experience in ways that can leave you reeling, obsessively circling the wound. Our goal is to care for it, treat it gently, and with kindness, the dim prospect of a bathtub drowning, as we move on to the next thing, suddenly laughing, nails flashing, unspeakable, Animal Crossing villages overcome by weeds. - Neopet Emancipation League