The Plug-In Studio logocollaborations in art and technology
plug-in graphic
The Street Arcade, Sept 2, 2015, outside Hyde Park Art Center. Photo courtesy Robert Banke.
A teen artist helps her young sister try the games. Photo courtesy the Plug-In Studio.
Visitors play videogames at the Street Arcade. Photo courtesy Robert Banke.
A young visitor tries out a game.
A young visitor tries out a game. Photo courtesy Robert Banke.
A crowd gathers as the Street Arcade kicks off. Photo courtesy Robert Banke.
Exploring Squishy Circuits at an ArtMakerSpace event.
Visitors played the games on custom-made arcade-style consoles.
As the sun set, the games were visible on the side of the building and on the 2nd floor video projections.
Visitors play videogames at the Street Arcade. Photo courtesy Robert Banke.
A teen artist discusses his game with his father.
Visitors play videogames at the Street Arcade. Photo courtesy Robert Banke.
Visitors play videogames at the Street Arcade. Photo courtesy Robert Banke.
Visitors play videogames at the Street Arcade. Photo courtesy Robert Banke.

The WarGames Tactical Media Collective

A work in progress

The WarGames Tactical Media Collective is a large-scale, multiyear project that uses art games as a platform for social change; in this case, the target is the "military-entertainment complex."

From the popular game America's Army to the expanded use of remote warfare via drones, videogames have become a cornerstone of the US military's recruiting, training and operations. The project critiques the hyper-militarized aesthetics of contemporary videogames and challenges the ideologies embedded in their gameplay. The WarGames Collective is an ad hoc group of artists who are military veterans and artists who make socially engaged new media. We are collaborating on a game about the experiences of a vet returning home and re-acclimating to civilian life. The WarGames project also includes a community component in which we will create additional mini-games with Chicago teens who are themselves the targets of US Military recruiters.

WarGames will be released (for free) to the Steam platform and app stores on Veteran's Day 2018. This game will be accompanied by the body of research that we have compiled while producing the project, from a taxonomy of military-themed videogames to accounts of personal experiences from recent vets.

The WarGames Tactical Media Project is generously supported by Propeller Fund/ThreeWalls Gallery, the Shapiro Center for Collaboration and Research at SAIC, and Northern Illinois University.