Stephanie Rothenberg
School of Perpetual Training
online game

School of Perpetual Training is an ironic instructional training program that exposes the underbelly and not so glamorous side of the computer video game industry. Most people associate jobs in the computer video game industry with information-based labor such as 3D graphics and coding game programs. Yet the majority of the industry relies on the sweat and stamina of migrant and low-income laborers working for electronics contract manufacturers in developing countries. By following a series of training exercises, participants learn about the precarious employment and unjust labor conditions of workers in the areas of overseas digital game manufacturing and distribution. A virtual personal trainer created in Second Life leads participants through a series of training exercises that use motion detection and require full range of body motion to play. Rather than using a mouse or joystick, the motion detection demands the participants labor to complete the training exercises, emphasizing the extreme physical nature and motion economics of these jobs. The individual training exercises recontextualize popular classic arcade games – Dig Dug, Tapper, Space Invaders and Tetris – in order to train participants for jobs in mineral mining, printed circuit board assembly, box build and global shipping. At the end of the training program, participants can gauge their global market value to find out how much they are worth in contrast to white-collar workers in the industry and game company profits.

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