Conspiracy Games and Counter-Games

A research & intervention project about conspiracy fantasies in a gamified capitalist world


CONSPIRACY GAMES AND COUNTER GAMES is an interview-driven podcast launched in June of 2021.

We explore the rise of conspiracies, conspiracy theories and conspiratorial thinking in a gamified capitalist world.

Conspiracy Games and Countergames is the second season of The Order of Unmanageable Risks.

You can listen to the first season, which focused on capitalism and anxiety, here.

June 2021

Episode 05

Neoliberal Feelings Don't Care about Your Facts

An interview with Marcus Gilroy-Ware

Writer an activist Marcus Gilroy-Ware explores how conspiratorial thinking thrives in a digital neoliberal world where truth is sold to the highest bidder and where alienation is rampant.

Marcus Gilroy-Ware is a writer and scholar-activist who is focused on understanding how people learn about the world they live in through media. His work draws connections between a variety of fields, from political economy, to psychology, to journalism studies, to theorise the status of information in the late-capitalist public sphere. He is senior lecturer in digital media at UWE Bristol and author of Filling the Void: Emotion, Capitalism and Social Media (2017) and After the Fact: The Truth about Fake News (2020)

June 2021

Episode 04

The Muslims are (Still) Coming! & Other Fantasies

Writer and activist Arun Kundnani helps us unpack over two decades of Islamophobic conspiracy fantasies of the War on Terror and think about radical responses to a world of neoliberal warlordism.

Arun Kundnani writes about racial capitalism and Islamophobia, surveillance and political violence, and Black radical movements. He is the author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror (Verso, 2014) and The End of Tolerance: racism in 21st century Britain (Pluto, 2007), which was selected as a New Statesman book of the year. He has written for the Nation, the Guardian, the Washington PostVice, and The Intercept.

June 2021

Episode 03

Vulnerable Games and Queer Controllers

Game designer, writer and researcher Jess Rowan Marcotte joins us to discuss the importance of community, connection and queerness in game design.

Jess Rowan Marcotte (they/them) is a queer mixed white-passing Mi’kmaw game designer, writer, maker and Doctor of Philosophy (Critical Interaction Design, Individualized Program). Their work focuses on interactive experiences of all sorts. They are the lead co-organizer of the Queerness and Games Conference (QGCon) and one-third of Soft Chaos, a worker’s co-op that designs intimate, vulnerable interactive experiences. Their most recent solo work includes TRACES, a hybrid game about trans experiences and time travel, and UNLOCK. UNPACK., exploring carry-on suitcases, puzzles, and written messages as tools for creating intimacy between strangers who may never meet face to face.

June 2021

Episodes 01 and 02

The Q in Qonspiracy

Narrative, Games and Other Conspiracies

In the first of our two-part interview, Wu Ming collective member 1 discusses his new book La Q di Qomplotto (The Q in Qonspiracy: How Conspiracy Fantasies Defend the System).

In the conclusion of our two-part interview, Wu Ming 1 discusses the power of narrative and games in driving conspiracy fantasies and the forms of activism that have risen to confront a system that gives rise to them.

Wu Ming 1 is an original and ongoing member of the Wu Ming collective, which was founded in Bologna in 2000 and has, since that time, published several collaboratively written novels including 54, Manituana, Altai, The Army of Sleepwalkers, and The Invisible Everywhere, which have been translated into many languages.

Wu Ming evolved out of the experimental collective project Luther Blisset whose famous 1999 novel Q focused on conspiracies of liberation and of repression during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.

More recently, that novel and the Wu Ming Collective have been the subject of a great deal of speculation around the rise of the QAnon conspiracy fantasy. Regarding that, Wu Ming 1 has just published a book in Italian, La Q di Qomplotto (The Q in Qonspiracy: How Conspiracy Fantasies Defend the System), which presents a highly original and important analysis of the genesis and dangers of this strange hallucination.

coming soon...

Episode 03

Vulnerable games and queer controllers

An Interview with
Jess Rowan Marcotte

Episode 04

The Muslims are (still) coming! and other fantasies

An Interview with
Arun Kundnani


This is a research and intervention project about the role of conspiratorial thinking in a gamified era of digital capitalism.

Led by Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou, A. T. Kingsmith and Max Haiven, its activities include producing a podcast, organizing events (seminars, talks, conferences), sustaining a network of researchers, journalists, activists and game designers, developing and studying (counter)games and acts as a platform for text and media publishing.


Conspiracy fantasies plague our world, yet our responses to themn are woefully inadequait to their complexity and appeal.


How are today's forms of conspiratorial thinking connected to broader systems of financialized capitalism?


Beyond stereotypes of lonely paranoia, how is conspiratorialism a means by which people find and create communities?


In a gamified era, where life feels like a game only the rich can win, does conspiratorialism represent a form of dangerous play?


Max Haiven

Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice

A. T. Kingsmith

Political economist, emotion-AI and mental health researcher

Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou

Political sociologist at University College London


Ongoing and upcoming

July 19- August 5 2021
Conspiracies and Countergames Summer Institute
Online - Mondays and Thursdays 1pm Eastern
Learn more & register



We are in the process of developing a global network of scholars, journalists, artists, game designer and other interested people wishing to discuss the connection between conspiratorialism, gamification and capitalism. If you are interested, please get in touch at inquiries [at]


The project team is working on an interactive board game tentatively titled DEEP STATE to help players explore the lure of conspiracy fantasy. If you are interested in the game, or want to help us playtest it, please contact us at deepstate [at]


We will soon be posting links to writing from the project team and our co-conspirators.


RiVAL: The ReImagining Value Action Lab

This project is supported by RiVAL: The ReImagining Value Action Lab, a workshop for the radical imagination, social justice and decolonization.