Attention, videogames and the retentional economies of affective amplification

James Ash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the industrial art of videogame design and production as an exemplar of what could be termed affective design. In doing so, the article theorizes the relationship between affect and attention as part of what Bernard Stiegler calls a ‘retentional economy’ of human and technical memory. Through the examination of a range of different videogames, the article argues that videogame designers utilize techniques of what I term ‘affective amplification’ that seek to modulate affect, which is central to the commercial success of these games. The article considers how the concepts of amplification, modulation and bandwidth, developed through this example, inform and expand understandings of this retentional economy by analysing the ways in which affective design attempts to transmit and translate the potential for affect through a range of technical systems and environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-26
JournalTheory, Culture & Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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