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      Who Made Your Phone? Compassion and the Voice of the Oppressed in Phone Story and Burn the Boards

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          Abstract

          Burn the Boards ( Causa Creations, 2015) portrays the life of an Indian worker who recycles electronic waste in a precarious environment. Phone Story ( Molleindustria, 2011) simulates the journey and process of production and consumption of mobile phones, from Congo and China to Pakistan. Whereas Phone Story is described as ‘an educational game’ that addresses the player directly as a consumer, Burn the Boards is a resource management puzzle that creates compassion through role playing. These games bring to the fore a hidden reality of the everyday that is ingrained in historical relationships and power dynamics, drawing attention to what Michael Rothberg has recognized as ‘exploitation in an age of globalized neo-liberal capitalism’ (2014: iv).

          This article explores how these games denounce the smartphone industry by using that same technology. For this purpose, we refer to Game Studies theory on procedural rhetoric; values and ethics; and the role of the player, combined with questions of (neo)colonization, globalization, and neoliberalism drawn from Postcolonial Studies. Our analysis shows the complicity of users and their confrontation with the extreme vulnerability of others, emphasizing how the coloniality of power works in our global consumer society. Thus we study the power relationships described and established by these games, the affective reactions which they seek to trigger, and their potential to transform players from passive observers into ethical players and consumers.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Affective Economies

           S. Ahmed (2004)
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            Game Studies’ Material Turn

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              This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                19 February 2018
                2018
                : 4
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Communication, CESAG-Comillas Pontifical University, ES
                [2 ]Department of English Studies, University of the Balearic Islands, ES
                Article
                10.16995/olh.209
                Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Product
                Self URI (journal-page): https://olh.openlibhums.org/
                Categories
                Postcolonial perspectives in game studies

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