In Phillips’ article, she delves into the role of mechropolitics in shaping the way our society praises the technical skill demonstrated in the act of killing via shooting a target in the head. As she defines the term, mechropolitics are the ways in which the virtual representations usually simulating death in the name of entertainment and play affect real world cultural perceptions around death. The concept of mechopolitics is pervasive throughout Phillips’ article, ranging from how popular media romanticizes the headshot as one of the highest indicators of shooter skill even though professional marksmen are trained against the impracticalities of shooting at the head, to the twitch responses that make people aim straight for the head when shooting built in as automatic reactions because of the headshot’s elevated status in video games.
The concept of “settler common sense” is introduced in Stauffer’s article as the imposition of the dominant non-Native settlers’ norms, traditions, and ways of thinking on Native people and lands. Stauffer further expands on this idea in her exploration of how the settler citizens’ ideologies are made to be institutionalized so that the logic that they are bound by is pervasive throughout the governed nation, and that the settler citizens do not question the dominant ideals of “common sense,” taking for granted the system which allows them to continue their way of living while eliminating those of the people being settled on. Stauffer discusses “settler common sense” in relation to the U.S. take on drone warfare, noting how the average U.S. citizen is mostly unconcerned and unaware of the negative impact of drones on the deterioration of the people who inhabit drone monitoring areas and the psychological trauma dealt to those people, largely because the U.S. government does not explicitly report on these negative effects visually, whether in news or other media.
Both mechropolitics and settler common sense address the influence of the visual on dominant cultural realities; mechropolitics in its specific virtual role around cultural ideas of death and settler common sense being perpetuated through media. In terms of video games, mechropolitics are constantly seen in those that train players to look at a target and respond automatically by shooting the head because of game mechanics rewarding number of kills and difficulty of kills. Settler common sense is perpetuated in video games that represent dominant cultural ideologies surrounding race, gender, and class, influencing players’ visual perception of these ideologies and reinforcing them as the player continues to play within the game’s rules. These two concepts allow us as players and members of society to be aware that video games do have an affect on our way of thinking and acting in real life, and perhaps we can mitigate this influence by questioning and analyzing the rules and ideologies presented in the game that we play.