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The Race CardFrom Gaming Technologies to Model Minorities$
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Tara Fickle

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479868551

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479868551.001.0001

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Game Over?

Game Over?

Internet Addiction, Gold Farming, and the Race Card in a Post-Racial Age

(p.177) 6 Game Over?
The Race Card

Tara Fickle

NYU Press

This chapter examines recent controversies over internet addiction and Chinese gold farmers, players of World of Warcraft who make a living acquiring in-game virtual currency and selling it for real money to (mostly Western) players looking to accelerate the tedious “grind” of the leveling-up process. The chapter shows how “cheap play” has been revived as a tool for condemning Chinese “cheap labor,” powerfully informing how internet game addiction is itself culturally and spatially represented in popular and psychiatric discourse. Using Cory Doctorow’s story “Anda’s Game” as a case study, it considers how twenty-first-century American anxieties about ludic immersion, compounded by the nation’s own destabilized position in the global economy, have led American game developers as well as medical professionals to pathologize gold farming as exclusionists had Chinese gambling: as symptomatic of an “Asian” psychosis that fails to respect normative boundaries between play and work, virtual and real world.

Keywords:   gold farming, Andas game, Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang, internet addiction, game addiction, DSM, Chinese labor, globalization

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