DoD [2009-2012]

I played an online World War II-themed game (Day of Defeat: Source) not as a combatant, but as a journalist, capturing photographs of the conflict instead of participating in the battles.

The gameplay, for me, became a matter of documenting the action without putting my avatar at risk, hiding inside destroyed buildings and ducking behind piles of rubble as I took my photos.

To become a journalist, I edited the game files to remove all stats, ammo counters, and other indicators from the screen, and made my weapon invisible. I also changed the control scheme so that I could not attack; pressing the “fire” button on the mouse would simply save a screenshot.

The grainy, blurred aesthetics of each photo pay homage to the work of the photojournalist Robert Capa, whose most famous photos of the D-Day invasion were blurred due to a lab technician’s error but became iconic.

Serious Games: How Art Museum, Shanghai

August 2019