Sarah Juliet Lauro: Kill the Overseer! The Gamification of Slave Resistance
University of Minnesota, 2020, Softcover, 102 pages, 18 × 12.5 cm
Kill the Overseer! profiles and problematizes digital games that depict Atlantic slavery and “gamify” slave resistance. In videogames emphasizing plantation labour, the player may choose to commit small acts of resistance like tool-breaking or working slowly. Others dramatically stage the slave’s choice to flee enslavement and journey northward, and some depict outright violent revolt against the master and his apparatus. In this work, Sarah Juliet Lauro questions whether the reduction of a historical enslaved person to a digital commodity in games such as Mission US, Assassin’s Creed, and Freedom Cry ought to trouble us as a further commodification of slavery’s victims, or whether these interactive experiences offer an empowering commemoration of the history of slave resistance.