My article “Tracing the Social. Lessons from Firewatch and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture” which was originally published in Presura (issue 23), is now available online in Presura’s website. Here is an excerpt from the text:
Traces – what is left after an action – are fundamental to understand the reality we inhabit. Video games such as Gone Home (Fullbright, 2013), Bloodborne (FromSoftware, 2015), Sunless Sea (Failbetter Games, 2015), The Last of Us (Naughty Dog, 2013), Portal (Valve, 2007), Half-Life 2 (Valve, 2004), and Bioshock (Irrational Games, 2007) have used the notion with great skill. They intelligently introduced the idea of ‘trace’ as part of their mechanic and narrative universes. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (The Chinese Room, 2015) and Firewatch (Campo Santo, 2016) join this distinguished list of titles, where traces are handled according to their significance. Drawing on Bruno Latour’s work on the social as the articulation of heterogeneous elements and Michel Maffesoli’s reflections on the eternal instant, I examine the way in which both Firewatch and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture help us understand how the social bond is forged (and torn) in the banal, the superficial, and the mundane, which is, in the end, what we all have in common.