New Cyborg Philosophy: Techno-Religious Hybridization in Marathon and Halo


The cyborg is a prevalent figure in modern fiction and science fiction as authors explore the implications of the continued development and integration of technology into the human experience. The concept of the cyborg itself presents a hybrid of organic and machine, two familiar elements that are fused into new, variable constructs. These cyborg constructs are ultimately alien in a nature, as the familiarity of the opposing components comes into conflict with their inherent differences, forcing the individual observer to re-evaluate their perception not only the cyborg, but the individual components as well. Essentially, the cyborg figure makes its familiar components--that of flesh and machine--each othered through the cyborg's hybrid form.

For video games, which rely on traditional narrative devices within their interactive, visual format, the cyborg is commonly used in the game narratives as well as in descriptions of the player-game relationship. Particular games have capitalized on this troubling double relationship of game avatar to game narrative and player to game as with the Marathon and Halo series. Cyborgs and cyborg identity are common themes in the Marathon and Halo series produced by Bungie Studios. Keeping with a central concept of Donna Haraway's "The Cyborg Manifesto," that the cyborg is representative of our collective ontology, Bungie's cyborgs fuse not only the organic and the technological but also seek to create new philosophical hybrids of religion and science for those with cyborg identities. This paper will explore the implications of Bungie's techno-religious cyborgs in relation to the game narrative and the game design. I examine these in terms of the player-avatar relationship and the player-avatar experience within game worlds that depict cyborg creatures and cyborg philosophies.

Great presentation, really

Great presentation, really enjoyed it. I wish the text was available at the website as well. The author really managed to highlight the lack of boundaries between the concepts mentioned by Haraway. However I didn't get the main point about religion, it seemed to me that it was the weakest of all parts. There is a certain analogy, I agree, but it does not go to an extent of an integral part of cyborg (or human-machine hybrid).